Splunk Tutorial 01: What is Splunk?

What is Splunk?

Is it just a Business Intelligence (BI) tool? No. It is more than a traditional Business Intelligence tools (BI Tools). So what is Splunk? It is also an event management and security management platform.

PlatformDataPrimary SourcesReal Time
SplunkUnstructured(included Machine Data) & Structured DaaIT SystemClose to Real Time
BI ToolsStructuredDatabaseUsually No

Traditional Business Intelligence tools (BI Tools)

Traditional BI tools summarise data from database and them produce the report reporting the fact and follow by some kind of prediction. However, in the real world, a lot of data is not stored in the database or in a structured format. For example a server log, they are usually stored in a machine data format. There are simply stored a machine data and usually, no one will have a look into those data until it goes into the archive or something happened.

Where Splunk work in?

Traditional BI tools simply stored as machine data and usually no one will have look into those data until it goes into the archive or something happened. This is where Splunk work in. It is an organisational intelligence and read machine data, visualises it, report it, investigates it, and also provide an alert.

When it says data, another difference between Splunk and traditional is Splink also analysis machine data.

What is Machine Data?

The following video illustrated what is machine data?

Basically Machine data is everywhere, from your FitBit, your mobile phone, your computer, machines around you, traffic light etc. When you them, those device actually generate request, and log and that is machine data.

So basically machine data is actually digital information that was created by – machines or objects! A machine can be your computer, mobile phone, speed camera. Indeed, something as basic as a computer keyboard is also creating machine data (keystroke).

Is machine data a good thing or a bad thing?

This answer is very close to having a knife is good or not? It is purely depends on the usage.

But let’s read real examples:

Saving life (Source: cnet.com)

Surveillance Camera

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