I dropped by log analysis software vendor Splunk a few weeks ago for a chat with Marketing VP Steve Sommer (who some you may know from Cognos and/or Informix), Product Management VP Christina Noren, and above all co-founder/CTO Erik Swan. Splunk turns out to be a pretty interesting company, from both business and technical standpoints. For one thing, Splunk seems highly regarded by most people I mention it to.
Splunk’s technical stories include:
- Text search over log files.
- Business intelligence over text search. (That part sounds a lot like Attivio.)
- MapReduce with schema flexibility and smart multi-stage execution plans. (That part sounds a lot like Aster Data.)
More on those in a separate post.
Less technical Splunk highlights include:
- Splunk has ~1200 paying customers, and is adding a couple hundred more per quarter.
- Splunk has ~160 people.
- ~80% of Splunk sales are in North America.
- Typical Splunk sales prices are in the $10-50K range, with an average around $25K, or maybe that average is a bit over $30K. Some Splunk deals are six- or even seven-figure.
- Splunk is “quite profitable.”
- Splunk’s eponymous product is priced according to how much data is indexed per day. If you index half a gigabyte of logs per day or less, Splunk is completely free. So, while Splunk is closed-source, there’s something of an open-source-like Splunk adoption model.
- Splunk has been selling product for a couple of years. I gather Splunk 4 was recently released.
- Splunk’s biggest industry segments are, not too surprisingly,
- Financial services
- Splunk’s paying customers seem to use it mainly for:
- Web logs and associated network event logs (this seems to be the biggest area)
- Security and perhaps other general IT log analysis
- Physical security logs (mainly in the government)
- Anti-fraud (I’m not sure how that works)
- One would think Splunk would be used to manage a lot of intelligence telemetry, but that wasn’t particularly hinted at.
- In general, the core problem Splunk is used for is log analysis for trouble-shooting purposes.
- Splunk’s nonpaying users are more diverse; examples mentioned included windmill operations and protein research.
- Splunk’s customers include Aster Data flagship accounts MySpace and LinkedIn. I bet many other top web companies are Splunk customers as well.