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Splunk Talks Digital DNA, New Products, Services

Conference

Lorna GareySPLUNK WORLDWIDE USERS’ CONFERENCE — Doug Merritt, president and CEO of Splunk, kicked off the company’s .conf 2016 event to a packed room, with more than 4,000 customers, practitioners, partners and press. The conference theme, “Machine Data: The DNA of Digital Transformation,” supports the company’s announcement of new versions of its Splunk Enterprise, Splunk IT Service Intelligence (ITSI), Splunk Enterprise Security and Splunk User Behavior Analytics products.

All are available on-premises or in the cloud and are aimed at making it faster and easier to turn machine data into useful business and operational intelligence, accessible by nontechnical users.

Splunk's Doug Merritt on stage Tuesday at .conf 2016.Merritt said the DNA theme is about big data as the digital building blocks of business.

“Businesses spew data in gargantuan amounts,” he said. Making use of it is another matter.

One example, from Harvard University Medical School professor Paul Avillach, centered on a HIPAA-compliant research infrastructure, built with Splunk and running on AWS, that integrates clinical and genetic data to discover new drug treatments. Not all end-customer uses are so life or death, however; Matt Kraft, director of consumer technology and mobile for Dunkin’ Brands, highlighted the company’s use of Splunk to get the doughnuts made and delivered.

Amazon In the House

AWS is a Peta sponsor of the conference – along with Palo Alto and Accenture – and Dell and Verizon at Tera level. Mike Clayville, VP of North American sales at AWS, asserts that we’re in the midst of a “once in a generation” shift.{ad}

“I think we’ll look back and see that 2016 was a transformational time as we move to the cloud,” said Clayville. “Now is the time to get started. Now is the time to begin that journey.”

Clayville cited GE, Samsung and Major League Baseball as examples of orgs that moved most of their infrastructures to the cloud and are now able to do deep and broad data analysis. AWS itself makes a code change on its site every quarter-second.

“Most customers have decided that they don’t want to own data centers,” says Clayville, adding that GE is saving 52 percent of the cost of traditional infrastructure.

More Announcements

Merritt made three announcements to join today’s product news.

  • Education and training: Splunk has 1,200 trained and 600 certified individuals within partner and customer sites. Merritt announced that the company will award a $5,000 education credit to every .conf attendee, transferable within the organization, representing a $20 million investment.
  • Licensing & Metering: Generally, customers pay for Splunk per ingest and can then run unlimited queries; however, as data volumes grow, that model gets expensive for customers — a common complaint. Merrill announced availability of …

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  • … unlimited licenses; the option has been there but hasn’t seen much uptake. He also unveiled a 50 GB test/dev license, free for six months. AWS upped the ante with a free AWS instance for six months as well.

Both are available beginning Nov. 1.

“The journey to digital transformation begins with an experiment,” said Merrill.

  • Finally, he announced that there will no longer be a “meter shutoff” for Splunk queries.

In a Q&A, Merrill said he sees massive growth opportunity with partners.

“The channel is going to be incredibly important for us,” he said, citing the new licensing terms as well as specialized bundles, so partners can focus on one area. “The channel should be at least half of our sales,” said Merrill. But he’s more interested in unleashing the power of the channel though automation and better enablement.

What’s holding Splunk back from a larger channel emphasis? Skills, or the lack thereof.

“Rolling education out is critical,” he said. “Top partners get educated for free.”

As for product announcements:

  • Splunk Cloud and Splunk Enterprise 6.5: Available now, Splunk Cloud and Splunk Enterprise now provide for customers or partners to access more pre-constructed commands and workflows to create custom machine learning models for IT, security and business use cases. The company showed off a simplified user interface and table data views designed for both specialist and occasional users. Merrill promised lower on-premises TCO through tighter integration with Hadoop, now supported for hybrid search. More info on Splunk Enterprise 6.5 and Splunk Cloud are on the Splunk website.
  • Splunk ITSI 2.4: Splunk’s marquee machine-learning-powered monitoring solution is aimed at helping quickly spot the root cause of problems and lower mean-time-to-resolution by baselining normal operational patterns. It can then spot pending problems and simplify incident investigations. The product, available now, is valuable for partners moving to a managed-services model and currently using a cobbled collection of systems to manage trouble tickets. Splunk ITSI 2.4 applies machine learning to event data to reduce false-positive alerts, prioritize incidents, provide some level of early warning and provide a single view of operations. Partners can sign up now for a free online sandbox of Splunk ITSI or learn more about Splunk ITSI on the Splunk website.
  • Splunk Enterprise Security and Splunk UBA: Splunk ES 4.5 provides a common interface for automating analysis in multi-vendor environments, while Splunk UBA 3.0 delivers new machine-learning models and support for additional data sources and content updates of use cases.

Splunk security updates help MSSPs more quickly detect, investigate and remediate problems and simplify analysis. Splunk ES 4.5 and Splunk UBA will be generally available by October 31.

The common thread is analysis.

“Most data scientists waste 80 to 85 percent of their time,” said Merrill. “Splunk machine learning can give that time back.”

Follow editor in chief Lorna Garey on Twitter.


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