Wednesday, 28 September 2016 03:07

Splunk .conf 2016 kicks off – new product announcements, $100m non-profit fund


Splunk's 7th annual worldwide conference has kicked off with announcements by chief executive Doug Merritt and loud applause by the Splunk faithful.

Splunk's .conf 2016 is running at the Disney Swan and Dolphin resort, Orlando, Florida, from September 27 to 29.

Merritt launched the conference, referring to an internal saying inside Splunk, "If you ever want to be inspired, just go out and talk to a customer", adding, "It's your confidence in our products that makes that statement come to life."

Sure enough, the assembled 5000 faithful attendees demonstrated their passion for all things Splunk as they cheered along with Merritt, and continually so, while Merritt and other speakers delivered their keynotes. Merritt encouraged four specific individuals to stand, people who he had learned had refused contracts at new employers unless they adopted Splunk. The crowd cheered them.

Merritt used the keynote to speak on the future of Splunk and where the company was taking its users next. "In just five short years the world around us has changed," he said. "I took an Uber to the airport. I used mobile payments for coffee and snacks. I used mobile boarding to get on the plane. I used WiFi on the plane as I flew across the country.

"There is a fundamental shift in the way we interact with and use technology in this always on, always listening world," he stated. "The world is spewing gargantuan data all around us. We are walking through data.

"Machine data is the building block of any digital transformation any of us want to achieve," Merritt stated, and noted the theme of the conference was DNA - that machine data is in Splunk's DNA, and it's in the DNA of its users. "You need machine data as your enterprise fabric," he stated, again to cheer from the audience.

To this end, Merritt announced new Splunk products:

Splunk Enterprise 6.5, both on-premises and in the cloud.
Core themes of this release are:
1. Easier data analysis, without SPL, making it more accessible to less technical folk;
2.. Advanced analytics, including a free machine learning toolkit from SplunkBase and Hadoop DataRoll, which can roll data from your Splunk index to Hadoop, and provides a single unified search across both Splunk and Hadoop; and
3. Lower total cost of ownership.

IT Service Intelligence 2.4 (ITSI)
To combat too many alerts with too little context, this version of ITSI leverages the new machine learning facilities to provide:
1. Anomaly detection using machine learning;
2. Intelligent events which wrap context allowing users to focus and prioritise the events; and
3. End-to-end visibility.

Enterprise Security 4.5 and User Behaviour Analytics 3.0
Merritt said Splunk first appeared in the Gartner magic quadrant in 2012 as a security information and event management (SIEM) tool. Its use as a de-facto security solution has increased since, while the threat landscape rapidly evolves. Now, in 2016, Splunk is the visionary leader in Gartner's quadrant for this important market.

New features in Splunk's security products include:
1. Adaptive response;
2. Glass table views; and
3. Threat detection content.

Merritt quoted customer Gary Hayslip, chief information security officer for the City of San Diego, "When vendors approach you about their product always ask: Can you Splunk it? Do you have a Splunk app? If the answer is 'no', don't buy it."

Merritt concluded his keynote announcing Splunk's commitment to education and non-profits, stating there are now five million university students with access to advanced Splunk certifications, and that Splunk was today making $100m available over 10 years for research, education and non-profit organisations.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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