Splunk's newest version offers easy access to machine data

Many government organizations want to get analytics into the hands of more people so they can unlock real value from the troves of data generated by applications, information systems, sensors and websites.

Splunk Enterprise 6, the latest version of the company’s software platform, offers users an easier way to interact with and visualize machine-generated business data so they can share consistent views of the data. The new platform also makes it easier to build dynamic dashboards and more fluid visualizations, company officials said.

Security analysts with the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory participated in the Splunk Enterprise 6 beta test program, using the software to analyze large volumes of diverse machine data streaming in real time, said Jesse Trucks, a cybersecurity engineer at ORNL.

“It is vital these analysts be able to directly manipulate and interact with the data to quickly obtain operational security intelligence,” Trucks said. “Splunk Enterprise 6 will enable many more analysts to discover patterns and generate information from our data with the new visualization capabilities.” 

Splunk Enterprise 6 introduces three innovations that make analytics dramatically faster and easier for existing users, company officials said. 

  • Pivot, a new interface, opens up analytics to non-technical business users and analysts with a simple drag-and-drop interface to explore, manipulate and visualize data. Users can click and drag pre-built visualizations to quickly build complex queries and reports without learning a query language.
  • Data Models provide for a more meaningful representation of underlying machine data and a deeper understanding of relationships in the data, making this data more useful to a broader base of users.
  • High Performance Analytics Store is a transparent acceleration technology that delivers analytics performance up to 1,000 times faster than any previous version of Splunk Enterprise.

Additionally, Splunk Enterprise 6 is easier to set up, configure, use and manage.  The platform offers:

  • Enhanced search capabilities brings search and reporting together so users can generate dynamic reports and build visualizations, tables and custom searches faster than with previous releases of the software. 
  • Simplified Cluster Management monitors high availability and automates search workloads, making it easier to deploy apps. Everything the Splunk admin needs to know can be monitored on a centralized dashboard.
  • Forwarder Management supports big data with easy configuration and visual management of thousands of forwarder configurations across multiple geographies.
  • Enhanced Dashboard Editing lets users build interactive dashboards and user workflows without writing advanced code and enables one-click access to develop in the Splunk Web framework.
  • Integrated Web Framework lets developers build custom Splunk apps, customize dashboards or add advanced functionality using standard Web technologies such as JavaScript and Django.

Splunk Enterprise 6 provides more machine data analytics to a new set of users, said Eric Hanselman, chief analyst, 451 Research. “Business users want and need software that makes it easier to dig deeper into analytic tasks without the help of IT or knowledge of coding and query languages,” he said.

Splunk recently forged an alliance with data analytics company Pentaho to help government agencies and businesses glean more insight from machine data. The combined platform, the Pentaho Business Analytics and Splunk Enterprise, will let users analyze and visualize machine data to extract actionable information.

Splunk Enterprise ingests large volumes of machine data and provides the analytics to make sense of the data in order to pinpoint problems. Meanwhile, Pentaho provides a full big data analytics solution that covers the entire analytic process including data integration, interactive data visualization, exploration and predictive analytics, company officials said. Government agencies now have a unified platform for both data integration and business analytics.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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