In our series on log monitoring platforms, we’ll zoom in somewhat deeper on Splunk Enterprise. In a nutshell, the tool is used for collecting, indexing, monitoring, and visualizing machine generated data. It can gather data from a wide range of sources including logs, metrics, sensors, and events from various systems and applications. Splunk Enterprise indexes the collected data stream and parses it into individual events that can be viewed and searched.

Splunk Enterprise provides a web-based interface for users to search and visualize their data to identify trends, anomalies, and other insights.
Splunk is used by a wide range of organizations in industries such as IT, security, data. It also provides the flexibility to create their own custom dashboards and reports. The platform includes powerful search and analytics capabilities, allowing users to drill down into finance, and healthcare, to gain visibility into their systems and applications, troubleshoot issues and detect security threats, to name a few.

The Splunk Architecture

The Splunk platform actually consists of different tools that work together to provide the desired result. The tools are grouped into two different categories: processing components and management components.

Processing components: This component helps to handle the data. It consists of forwardersindexers and search heads.

Forwarders are lightweight agents that collect and forward data from the data sources to the indexers.

Indexers are responsible for indexing and storing the data in Splunk. Indexers perform the indexing, search, and storage operations on the data.

Search heads are user interfaces that provide a search and reporting interface for Splunk. They allow users to search, analyze and visualize the data stored in Splunk.

Management components: These components support the activities of the processing components. It consists of following sub-components:

Deployment server is responsible for managing the configuration and deployment of forwarders. For example: adding/removing a forwarder or indexer, push the changes in existing configuration.

Indexer Cluster Master Node is responsible for managing the configuration and deployment of indexers.

Search head cluster deployer is responsible for managing the configuration and deployment of search heads. Such as push in any new configurations, add/remove search heads.

License master manages different types of licensing strategies provided by Splunk. Users pay based on how much data is being indexed.

Monitoring console helps to monitor every aspect of Splunk deployment from forwarder to license master.

The Splunk architecture is shown in the below figure which has integrated all the components that were explained above. The components are grouped in different tiers. These are:

Collection Tier:  It consists of multiple forwarders that are attached to multiple data sources. The data from the forwarder is sent to an indexer via a load balancer. A load balancer is used to optimize the resources. The collection tier is managed by the deployment server.

Indexing Tier: It is a collection of all the indexers which indexes and stores the data from the forwarders. It is managed by the Indexer cluster master node.

Management Tier: It contains all the management components from deployment server to search the head cluster deployer. It is managed by an administrator.

Search Tier: This tier is used by the users to search, analyze and visualize data. There can be multiple users that use multiple search heads. It is managed by the search head cluster deployer.

The is a basic diagram of the architecture, which might differ somewhat upon the requirements of the company concerned.

Use Cases

Splunk Enterprise is such a versatile software platform that can be used for a wide range of use cases across multiple industries. Some of the most common use cases for Splunk Enterprise include:

IT operations

Splunk can be used to monitor and troubleshoot IT infrastructure and applications, detect performance and availability issues, and optimize system and application performance.

Security and compliance

Splunk can be used to detect and investigate security threats, monitor compliance with regulatory requirements, and analyze security incidents and breaches.

Business analytics

Splunk can be used to analyze business metrics, customer behavior, and other data sources to gain insights into business operations, market trends, and customer needs.

Development and Operations

Splunk can be used to improve collaboration between development and operations teams, automate deployment and monitoring processes, and increase the speed and efficiency of software delivery.

IoT and industrial operations

Splunk can be used to monitor and analyze data from sensors, devices, and other industrial systems, detect anomalies and predict maintenance needs, and optimize industrial processes and workflows.