Splunk Enterprise 6 Brings Big Data to Business Users

by Darryl K. Taft
Splunk Enterprise 6 Brings Big Data to Business Users

Splunk announced Splunk Enterprise 6, a new version of its flagship machine data platform that helps bring big data analytics to business users.

LAS VEGAS--Splunk, a big data player that provides a software platform for real-time operational intelligence, announced the general availability of Splunk Enterprise 6, the latest version of the company’s platform for machine data.

Splunk Enterprise 6 delivers powerful and fast analytics, up to 1,000 times faster than previous versions, and patent-pending technology designed to quickly unlock the value of machine data to IT and business users. Splunk announced Splunk Enterprise 6 at its Splunk Worldwide Users’ Conference, Splunk .conf2013, here on Oct. 1.

Splunk has become a leading player in the big data space as it produces software for searching, monitoring and analyzing machine-generated big data, via a Web-style interface. Splunk captures, indexes and correlates real-time data in a searchable repository from which it can generate graphs, reports, alerts, dashboards and visualizations. Splunk aims to make machine data accessible across an organization and identifies data patterns, provides metrics, diagnoses problems and provides intelligence for business operation.

Sanjay Mehta, vice president of product marketing at Splunk, told eWEEK Splunk Enterprise 6 introduces three innovations that make analytics dramatically faster and easier for existing users. These breakthroughs also open up the value of gaining insights from machine data to an entirely new audience of business users.

The first of the new innovations is a new pivot interface. “We take it a step further and make it very flexible,” he said. “We also make machine data more meaningful through modeling.”

Mehta said Pivot opens up the power of analytics to non-technical business users and analysts with a simple drag-and-drop interface to explore, manipulate and visualize data. This includes the ability to click and drag prebuilt visualizations and quickly build complex queries and reports without learning a query language.

“Think of it as the Excel pivot paradigm with a lot more interactivity,” said Divanny Lamas, product manager at Splunk.

“Too many organizations are still struggling with a data divide between IT and the business,” said Splunk Chairman and CEO Godfrey Sullivan, in a statement. “At Splunk, we understand that the most successful organizations in the world give equal access to the data, regardless of skill level, to drive smart decisions that have true business impact. This is what inspired our product team to build Splunk Enterprise 6. We believe that everyone in the organization, from the system administrator to the C-level executive, should be empowered to find that ‘aha’ moment. Splunk Enterprise 6 bridges the data divide and unifies IT and business users around the tremendous value and ROI to be found in machine data.”

The second innovation that Splunk hopes will make the Splunk platform more accessible to business users is the use of data models. Data Models provide for a more meaningful representation of underlying machine data and a deeper understanding of relationships in the data, making this data more useful to a broader base of users.

Lamas said a data model can be a thin representation of the meaning and relationship in an organization’s machine data. The data model runs at search time and can have different views, such as marketing, DevOps or customer support views.

“Splunk Enterprise 6 is the platform for machine data for everyone, with powerful analytics and performance that unlocks machine data insights to an entirely new set of users,” said Guido Schroeder, senior vice president of products at Splunk, in a statement. “With an enhanced user experience, simple management of enterprise deployments and a rich developer environment, Splunk Enterprise 6 gives technical users the ability to define the meaningful relationships in the underlying data, enabling business users and analysts to easily manipulate and visualize data in a simple drag-and-drop interface. All of this, with amazing performance on low-cost commodity hardware.”

The third new innovation in Splunk is its High Performance Analytics Store, a patent-pending transparent acceleration technology that delivers analytics performance up to 1,000 times faster than any previous version of Splunk Enterprise.

“Splunk Enterprise 6 signals a major evolution to the Splunk story, one that could introduce the platform to a new set of users,” said Eric Hanselman, chief analyst at 451 Research, in a statement. “Business users want and need to use software that makes it easier to dig deeper into analytic tasks without the help of IT or knowledge of coding and query languages. Those who’ve been using the Splunk product for years will benefit from usability and management enhancements that will make their Splunk lives easier and more productive. By providing machine data analytics to a new set of users and an improved user experience, Splunk Enterprise 6 has value for both audiences.”

Mehta told eWEEK more than 350 customers, partners and developers participated in the Splunk Enterprise 6 beta program. The response to new analytics features including, among others, data models and pivot has been overwhelmingly positive, he said.

“At PostFinance, exceptional customer service has kept us in business for over 100 years,” said Roger Bigler, team leader for Splunk at PostFinance, in a statement. “Splunk Enterprise gives us insights from our data that help us deliver a great online experience. Splunk Enterprise 6 provides a more powerful yet incredibly easy-to-use way to interact with and visualize machine-generated business data so we can share consistent views of the data, increasing the speed with which we deliver service to our customers.”

Meanwhile, security analysts at Oak Ridge National Laboratory use Splunk Enterprise to analyze large volumes of diverse machine data streaming in real time, said Jesse Trucks, cyber security engineer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “It is vital these analysts be able to directly manipulate and interact with the data to quickly obtain operational security intelligence,” he said. “Splunk Enterprise 6 will enable many more analysts to discover patterns and generate information from our data with the new visualization capabilities.”

Also, CJ O Shopping, a South Korean online retail marketing company uses Splunk for analytics. “The core value of Splunk Enterprise 6 goes beyond our IT engineers. It presents a significant opportunity for business users and developers to eliminate their fear of data,” said Chulhyun Cho, e-commerce development team leader at CJ O Shopping, in a statement. “We expect a dramatic increase in the number of business users that will use the platform thanks to the new analytics features. For advanced Splunk users, pivot powered by data models makes it incredibly easy to build dynamic dashboards and fluid visualizations, which means our analysts can manipulate any data they want to analyze. Splunk Enterprise 6 is also very attractive to developers because it makes it easier to build insightful visualizations for our internal users.”

For its part, Splunk Enterprise 6 includes a host of new or enhanced productivity features for users with a completely redesigned user experience that delivers simpler, more intuitive actions. The new home experience is easy to personalize and gives users instant access to the data, apps and content they care about. An enhanced search experience brings search and reporting together so users can author rich, dynamic reports and build visualizations, tables and custom searches faster than ever before.

“We’re providing all the things users want in one interface,” Mehta said. “Existing users of Splunk will certainly benefit from this.”

Splunk Enterprise 6 is easier to deploy, configure and manage, even as customers scale out their mission-critical Splunk Enterprise deployments. It also adds a more powerful developer environment with an integrated web framework. “We’re offering a web framework where you can develop on Splunk as if it is a web app,” Mehta said.

Also, things like Simplified Cluster Management provide easier management of mission-critical Splunk software deployments by monitoring high availability, automating search workloads and making it easier to deploy apps. Everything the Splunk admin needs to know can be monitored on a centralized dashboard.

Moreover, Forwarder Management supports big data scale with easy configuration and visual management of thousands of forwarder configurations across multiple geographies. Enhanced Dashboard Editing lets users build interactive dashboards and user workflows without writing advanced code and enables one-click access to develop in the Splunk web framework.

“We make it possible for people to extend their dashboards with bubble charts, etc.,” Lamas said. “This enables a lot of customization – you can bring in your own JavaScript and your own CSS.”

In addition, the Integrated Web Framework enables developers to quickly and efficiently build custom Splunk apps, customize dashboards or add advanced functionality using standard web technologies such as JavaScript and Django.

You can download Splunk Enterprise 6 here.

“We are opening all this access to information to more potential users – to more data analysts, product managers and business users,” Mehta told eWEEK.

Originally published on eWeek.
  This article was originally published on Tuesday Oct 1st 2013
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