Turning Data Into Actionable Insights with Splunk

To compete in today’s digitally driven world, organizations need to derive actionable insights from the ever-growing amount of machine data generated across physical, virtual and cloud environments. That’s the idea behind Splunk software.

Splunk technology enables IT shops to monitor, investigate, analyze and act on data at any scale. The Splunk platform is designed to remove the barriers between data and action, to help organizations thrive in the data age. To that end, Splunk empowers IT, DevOps and security teams to transform their organizations using data from any source and on any timescale.

The Splunk portfolio

The Splunk portfolio includes a wide range of products and solutions that come together in a data platform built for expansive data access, powerful analytics and automation.

Among the portfolio:

    • Splunk Enterprise automates the collection, indexing and alerting of machine data that’s critical to IT operations
    • Splunk Cloud provides a flexible, secure and cost-effective data platform service that meets FedRAMP security standards
    • Splunk Machine Learning Toolkit helps organizations accelerate time to value with step-by-step guided workflows to build and deploy models for common business challenges
    • Splunk Data Stream Processor collects, processes and distributes data to Splunk and other destinations in milliseconds with real-time stream processing
    • Splunk Cloud Transformation solutions help organizations secure, operate and innovate faster across multicloud and hybrid environments

On the job with Splunk

Splunk is used by companies around the world, including 91 of the Fortune 100 companies. Dell Technologies is among the world-class enterprises that use Splunk throughout their IT operations.

Dell Technologies uses Splunk primarily as a log aggregator, according to Darryl Smith, chief data platform architect and distinguished engineer at Dell Technologies. In this role, Splunk software automatically indexes structured, unstructured and complex multi-line application log data.

This indexing function enables IT operators to search on all of the data without need for custom connectors and without the scalability limitations inherent in traditional solutions. Once the data is in Splunk, IT professionals can quickly search, report and diagnose operations and security issues in a fast, repeatable and affordable way. These capabilities make log management the key to insight — and not a chore to be avoided.

“With Splunk, if you’ve got 50 different web tiers all doing the same thing, all of the log files go to a central place where you can search them in an aggregated form,” Smith says. “You can filter them, and you can notify users if certain errors happen.”

Splunk makes managing all of those diverse application tiers much easier. “Imagine going to 50 different web servers to review their logs individually,” Smith says. “That would take hours, versus looking at them in one spot. With Splunk, you can run through them in 15 minutes or less. It’s extremely helpful in diagnosing problems.”

Splunk also makes life a lot easier for IT operations teams by consolidating all log data into one spot, where they can run analytics on it, he notes.

Whether analytics is just query-based or algorithm-based machine learning, Splunk allows you to look for things that you don’t necessarily know exist.” – Darryl Smith, Chief Data Platform Architect, Dell Technologies

“Trying to collect all that data when you want to run an algorithm like that would be a daunting task. Splunk allows you to treat all of your applications tiers as a single diagnostic unit,” Smith continued.

Saving time and effort

Ultimately, the biggest benefits of Splunk may be measured in terms of time and effort. For example, the process of ferreting out errors among dozens of servers and databases controlled by a different group might have taken several days before Splunk was on the job. Now, with the time-synchronized logs in Splunk, IT operators can get on the path to resolution much faster.

“Some issues used to take us a week to figure out; we might now get an answer in hours with Splunk,” Smith says. “There are many examples of cases where Splunk has saved us hours and hours of effort.”

For the full story, including tips on getting started with Splunk, see the Dell Technologies case study “Saving time and effort with Splunk.”

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