Splunk announces Version 4 of its IT search software

Splunk lets users search applications, log, events, or any machine-generated data

Splunk, the information technology search software company, gets a lot of letters, said Erik Swan, Splunk’s chief technology officer and co-founder. “Dear Splunk,” the letters would start. “I want to index 10 terabytes a day. How do I do this?” Or “I’ve got three hours to get something up and running and I don’t have time to buy an appliance. What should I do?”

The latest release of the software, Splunk 4.0, is a reaction to those “Dear Splunk” letters, Swan said.

Before co-founding Splunk, Swan found few means of recourse when an IT infrastructure was slow or broken, or there was a security breach. “You would have to grub through the data and log into boxes you shouldn’t have access to,” Swan said. The whole process would usually involve three or four people and a lot of finger-pointing, he said.

The systems administrators and other IT staff members Swan talked with said that they hated the existing system monitoring and reporting tools available. Swan asked them what sort of products they did like. “Everybody would come back to the Google search engine,” he said. They liked the idea of using a search engine to look for problems inside the data center.

Splunk lets users search applications, log, events, any machine generated data, said Steve Sommer, Splunk’s vice president of worldwide marketing. It can be used by a single person rather than teams of people, he said.

Browser-based Splunk monitors systems for performance issues and violations, Sommer said. It’s used by 1,100 customers for application management, infrastructure and virtualization management, Web analytics and security and compliance. Federal users include NASA, the Bureau of Land Management and Defense and State departments. Government agencies use Splunk 4 to search massive databases and handle terabytes of data, Sommer said. The latest release boasts 10 times faster search speeds and twice as fast indexing speeds, the company said.

Because Splunk is software, at $7500 it’s less expensive than a lot of other IT management tools, Sommer said. And customers can develop their own apps and dashboards running on Splunk, he said.

“Splunk 4 unleashes the massive potential of IT search,” Swan said. “As more and more users came aboard we learned about the power of IT search over ‘IT dark matter’ [the world of unintelligible, unstructured IT data],” Swan said.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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