The need for IT professionals to be more responsive to their processes and systems or address underlying issues in their systems is no easy task for many organizations. In fact, most IT organizations have dozens of applications and systems that generate notifications into log files that generally go unused. These files traditionally have been a challenge to determine severity of information in them and provide them easily to a range of individuals in IT who need to be proactive in management of their systems and not reactive. In the last several years, a technology vendor named Splunk has come to market with a solution to index these volumes of log files and provide search and display capabilities along with now a new generation of interactivity and application capabilities. I wrote about the advancement of search for IT earlier this year (See: “Search Technology Innovates Business and IT This Time“).

This year Splunk released version 4 that brought improvements to the performance and scalability of their indexing, which is now two times faster than previous release, and information retrieval, resulting in 10 times faster than their previous release. This along with the ability to handle concurrent and background searches provides the ability to multitask requests for IT information. They have made improvements to performance along with massive advancements in the scaling into terabytes of data across systems and sources. Splunk also brought forward a search assistant to make simplicity of semantics in the IT search for information much easier. Splunk  made it easier to manage the IT information assets from data sources to the processing of indexing the data along with archiving. Splunk can access a variety of platforms and sources, and database and applications like IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP to the network and security systems from Cisco, F5 and CA. In addition, the Splunk server technology can be distributed across servers maximizing the processing of IT data where it is being created along with where the users will access the information via search and applications.

In addition, Splunk has made it easier to assemble reports of IT information through an interactive process to pick data and display methods to present IT information along with the ability to save and share them too. This information can be used in the assembly of dashboards that integrate the search and display of the IT information into custom built dashboards. Even further, the dashboards can be made into interactive information applications (See: “Information Applications: New Focus on Information Availability“) that is a new type of application that has recently entered into the industry to speed up the process of having focus built applications on specific types of information. Splunk has released an application framework and launcher to make it easier for customers and partners to create applications. Splunk is also using it to bring their own prebuilt applications for technologies like Cisco, F5 and Blue Coat. Splunk provides solutions to address key areas like application management, operations management, security and compliance. Our benchmark research in IT performance management found lack of resource and limited budget as issues to improving IT operations and Splunk has addressed these issues quite nicely with their packaging and pricing along with bringing the functionality needed for IT analysts to IT management.
Splunk has made it quite simple to try the software with a download version available for free in 60 day trial and maximum data access version. Splunk has continued to grow over the last couple of years with number of customers and systems it can integrate with along with supporting Japanese and Chinese versions of the software. Splunk has gone beyond just providing business intelligence into IT data with their search-based approach along with providing the ability to assemble applications for specific needs. The importance of IT providing the best service to their own portfolio of assets, resources and systems is critical as they support the business processes and infrastructure of organizations. Splunk provides a simple and non-intrusive manner for integrating into the information systems of IT and has an opportunity to change how IT manages and leverages their own information assets.

Mark Smith also blogs at