Splunk is announcing the Splunk 4.3 point release. Before discussing it, let’s recall a few things about Splunk, starting with:
- Splunk is first and foremost an analytic DBMS …
- … used to manage logs and similar multistructured data.
- Splunk’s DML (Data Manipulation Language) is based on text search, not on SQL.
- Splunk has extended its DML in natural ways (e.g., you can use it to do calculations and even some statistics).
- Splunk bundles some (very) basic, Splunk-specific business intelligence capabilities.
- The paradigmatic use of Splunk is to monitor IT operations in real time. However:
- There also are plenty of non-real-time uses for Splunk.
- Splunk is proudest of its growth in non-IT quasi-real-time uses, such as the marketing side of web operations.
As in any release, a lot of Splunk 4.3 is about “Oh, you didn’t have that before?” features and Bottleneck Whack-A-Mole performance speed-up. One performance enhancement is Bloom filters, which are a very hot topic these days. More important is a switch from Flash to HTML5, so as to accommodate mobile devices with less server-side rendering. Splunk reports that its users — especially the non-IT ones — really want to get Splunk information on the tablet devices. While this somewhat contradicts what I wrote a few days ago pooh-poohing mobile BI, let me hasten to point out:
- Splunk is used for a lot of (quasi) real-time monitoring.
- Splunk’s desktop user interfaces are, by BI standards, quite primitive.
That’s pretty much the ideal scenario for mobile BI: Timeliness matters and prettiness doesn’t.
Hmm. Maybe StreamBase LiveView needs a mobile option as well …
Splunk’s basic use is to take the text string that is a log and make sense of it. But Splunk now also supports JSON structures. It does this via something called spath, which as you might guess from the name has XPath similarities. That probably bore more discussion than we found the time to have.
By the way: If you’re interested in BI over XML, that’s what my former clients at Skytide were founded to do, before they pivoted a bit. I don’t think those capabilities have disappeared from the product.
Splunk has graciously allowed me to post a slide deck. More stuff in there, including quotes from a customer — Expedia — that has 2700 Splunk users.