Magazine / Operations Management Nov 13, 2020 11:15:00 AM

Splunk: what it is, why companies need it

Splunk is a solution to enable data-driven strategies by exploiting the potential of enterprise data and generating enabling and updated insights in real time. It was born in 2003 with the aim of revolutionizing the way in which companies use data, whether structured, unstructured or semi-structured, initially to manage IT Operations, optimize the user experience of end users and to process their own commercial strategies. Thanks to advanced analysis systems, companies that exploit Splunk can obtain great benefits in terms of resources used and results obtained.

Over time, Splunk has broadened its operational horizon: its innovative data-to-everything solution has also been introduced in other areas, including Cybersecurity (positioning itself as a market leader), DevOps and Business Analytics. The great benefit of Splunk, which has led it to be chosen by thousands of companies around the world, is the ability to monitor and process data in real time. Splunk uses a Data Stream Processor system to manage the large amount of incoming data and always offer a current and constantly evolving scenario.


Why Splunk software is useful for businesses

Splunk ensures an agile, flexible and scalable approach to data monitoring, for example, to efficiently manage the Security Operation Center, the nerve center of every organization's Cybersecurity.

By taking advantage of Splunk's features, companies can better understand the behavior of any attackers, promptly detecting any anomalies that can allow them to intervene promptly, avoiding damage to reputation, or loss of business due to the failure of production systems. Splunk also allows you to understand consumer habits to customize your marketing strategies or review the interface of your mobile applications to better respond to the actual use of end users. The sectors in which Splunk offers its benefits are transversal: from healthcare to manufacturing, from application development to Cybersecurity management.

The advantages are many: a single platform allows the analysis of data from different points of view, allowing organizations to benefit from it in every field of applicability from Cybersecurity to application development up to monitoring the status of the IT or optimization of business processes. This enables companies to overcome the silo-approach that slows down workflows and collaboration within teams and between different departments.


What is Splunk

Splunk is a platform that allows you to store raw data from a multitude of systems: be they classic systems, network devices, applications, business processes, OT or IoT technologies, extracting information contextualized to the scope of use in real time allowing companies to react promptly to changes.

Splunk allows you to monitor and search from a single repository of data, coming from multiple sources, and to extract valuable insights to make, for example, your supply chain more efficient or to create alerts that are activated automatically when certain conditions take shape - this approach is often used in healthcare, for example, to warn doctors and patients of anomalous values collected by sensors, or to detect possible attacks by cyber criminals on the customer's infrastructure. Data can be easily read in various forms of dashboards.


Who needs Splunk: IT Operation

Splunk was born to respond to the modern challenges of IT Operation: working with structured and unstructured data, accelerating execution times and preventing problems that could lead to a company shutdown. For this reason, Splunk is used by companies all over the world to meet the transversal needs of the IT department and, at the same time, the necessary compromises of time and budget required by top management.

IT Operations, thanks to Splunk, can exploit the power of all the data generated in the company - from the daily operations of employees to the large amounts of data generated by IoT devices - to provide useful information in real time by analyzing, for example, application logs, viewed via a dashboard. This allows, thanks also to the integrated machine learning solutions, to get to the cause of a problem more quickly and solve the inconvenience, and to enable predictive maintenance by anticipating a potential failure, so that end consumers have a fluid and satisfying experience, and the IT department can have operational flows facilitated by innovative and modern features.

Splunk started out as a platform for IT Operations and has developed a great deal of verticality and refined its software over the years. Splunk has established itself as the benchmark data analytics platform for managing IT operations.


4 areas of monitoring with Splunk

Splunk software is a solution that enables data-driven strategies in companies and guarantees reliable results starting from the many data generated in companies. Starting from IT Operations, over time Splunk has also been extended to other business sectors, thus allowing the digital organization to further evolve and exploit the full power of data analysis software in various departments.


1) Splunk for IT: real-time monitoring of the infrastructure

A 360-degree view of the entire company, real-time information and the management of structured, unstructured or semi-structured data make Splunk a perfect Data-to-Everything platform for real-time IT monitoring. By also exploiting machine learning systems, Splunk can help reduce the time needed to solve a technical problem but, above all, act preventively, providing useful evaluations to limit the likelihood that there is actually a company downtime. A strategy that, thanks to the functions of Splunk, makes it possible to comply with the Service Level Agreements agreed with customers and the planned budget.

Splunk is a highly vertical data analytics platform on the IT world. As a log management center, Splunk software allows you to overcome the silo-approach, which does not allow departments a real exchange of information and, consequently, slows down the management of IT Operations. Splunk allows you to monitor many aspects of the infrastructure, from network traffic to storage, from messaging platforms to servers, from containers to databases. The Splunk implementation offers a significant decrease in Mean Time To Resolution (MTTR) and lowers monitoring costs, allowing enterprises to work better.


2) Splunk Security: vulnerabilities always under control

An IT incident does not only impact the company, but has a ripple effect on the entire supply chain. Furthermore, the economic damage grows exponentially. Splunk offers advanced cybersecurity tools ensuring corporate security teams the ability to easily navigate through data from any area of the company. An extensive overview that updates in real time, which therefore represents the great advantage of adopting Splunk to increase cyber security, identifying threats before they can create problems.

Splunk enables a new way of operating, working proactively rather than reacting to cybersecurity problems that can arise in the company.


3) Splunk DevOps: certain times and better communication

DevOps require smooth and effective collaboration between development, QA and IT Operations departments. Adopting a model that optimizes communication flows and allows developers to access all resources from a single dashboard is therefore essential.

This is exactly what Splunk does: it ensures fast development processes because it takes less time for employees to understand how the software will impact the company and to carry out all subsequent analyzes before arriving at the actual implementation. In fact, developers can search and view data from production environments without, however, having to access production machines directly. In addition, Splunk software allows you to access various types of data from a single platform, avoiding the need to create specific applications and facilitating the work of developers.

Splunk software improves collaboration, eliminates silos and facilitates the introduction of new software in the company with certain deadlines. Instead of weeks, identifying a problem with Splunk can take only minutes.


4) Splunk Analytics: the resource that companies need

Splunk's features make it an incredible data management software for Business Analytics, too. Since Splunk conveys data from multiple sources, it can offer top management all the information they need to make better decisions, to assess any inefficiencies in workflows and to understand how to optimize the resources available in the company, both technological and human. A truly pervasive overview on how the company works, which allows to identify and resolve any operational slowdowns.



The benefits of Splunk

The main benefit of using Splunk is clear: to make data from systems (of whatever nature) easily interpretable. But the advantages of Splunk software are much more transversal and include, for example, the ability to generate dashboards and graphs starting from the data, in order to simplify the sharing of analyzes at all levels of the company hierarchy. In addition, Splunk is a scalable and easy-to-integrate platform, as well as saving time and costs in IT operations by real-time monitoring.

Adopting Splunk offers many benefits:

  • carries out specific searches
  • converts complex data into simple information
  • contributes to the adoption of a data-driven approach in the company
  • monitors operational flows in real time
  • integrates Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence solutions into data management in a very simple way
  • uses any type of data (such as csv, json, xml, syslog etc.)
  • does research involving both virtual environments and physical devices
  • creates automatic alerts that are activated when certain conditions arise
  • collects data from multiple heterogeneous sources in a singles repository
  • clear and intuitive interface
  • helps solve problems faster
  • it is a versative and scalable platform.


Splunk Free, Splunk Enterprise and Splunk Cloud: the differences

Splunk download comes in three versions: Free, Enterprise and Cloud. The latter two offer a more extensive and complete package, which includes many features that, however, are absent in the free edition.

Splunk Free allows the collection of a data volume of 500 MB/day and can only be used by one user. Although it is free, it includes many features: reprots and dashboards, anomaly detection, Splunkbase apps, event annotation. It is, however, an entry point into the Splunk world - businesses should consider moving to Splunk Enterprise or Splunk Cloud.



The features of Splunk Enterprise

Splunk Enterprise offers, first of all, a license-dependent collection capacity that can scale up to hundreds of TB/day or even grow beyond the BP/day. In addition to Splunk Free, the Enterprise edition offers superior technical support, the ability to configure granular and customizable access control as well as disaster recovery, clustering, distributed search and performance acceleration capabilities. In addition, full access to APIs and SDKs is guaranteed.



The benefits of Splunk Cloud

Splunk Cloud, is Splunk's Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering. The great advantage is that you can enjoy all the potential of the Splunk data platform, but without the need to purchase and manage additional infrastructure compared to the existing one in the company. This allows you to have a SaaS solution with SLA equal to 100% availability. It is a smart, scalable and flexible choice that offers easily predictable costs and reduced implementation times. The backend is, therefore, managed directly by Splunk, so that companies only have to focus on the use case, how to improve commercial strategies and user experience by exploiting the insights generated by the data.



Splunk Education and certifications

Splunk also offers a number of courses, some of which are free upon registration, under the Splunk Education umbrella. These are initiatives that are organized together with Italian and international partners to help customers who want to adopt Splunk software and enable a new way of managing their business.

The goal of Splunk Education courses is to train the skills to use, manage, implement and develop Splunk at its best, providing company employees with all the information they need to fully understand how this data management software works.


Splunk certifications: from the Core Certified User to the Enterprise Certified Admin

Splunk Education training courses are valid for obtaining the certifications provided by the company. The topics are varied and constructed to provide a gradual and reliable growth path: from fundamentals to data administration, from advanced research to viewing and using Splunk dashboards.

The certifications are many. The basic one is the Splunk Core Certified User: the user, in this case, has all the basic skills to start using Splunk, create reports or set custom alerts. Splunk's advanced certifications are varied. The best companies include, among their staff, people who have achieved, for example, certifications such as Enterprise Certified Admin or Certified Advanced Power User. These are highly recommended certificates for developing a full awareness of Splunk software tools and how it enables data-driven strategies.


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