Splunk puts itself in a category of its own

Splunk puts itself in a category of its own

Big data search specialist markets solutions as an 'operational intelligence platform'

Search specialist Splunk just finished its SplunkLive tour of New Zealand, touting early adoption by New Zealand customers, as it positions itself in a unique software category.

The company held its events in Wellington and Auckland, reaching about 100 potential potential partners with information on a solution the company is marketing as an “operational intelligence platform”.

“We think we’re doing something different than anyone else,” says Dan Miller, Splunk’s ANZ country manager. “Splunk sits in the enterprise software tool space, if we have to put it somewhere, but we are talking about it as a platform.”

Splunk aggregates information generated by all applications, servers (virtual and physical), network devices and other systems in a network, and delivers that data via a portfolio of apps tailored for different uses and functions. The upshot is a way of collecting all the data in and about a user’s network, with applications to sort through, display, and potentially act on that information.

“The really simple way to explain it is that Splunk is the Google for your datacentre,” says Miller. “Google is really just about two things, when you think about it: indexing everything on the internet, and then a search capability that does the hard work behind the scenes to find what you’re looking for.”

Similarly, Splunk combines search capability with virtualisation alerting, alarming and dashboarding, Miller says, along with APIs and SDKs to create more functionality for resellers to sell to their clients.

What resellers can do to sell Splunk is “open ended”, Miller says.

“We don’t want to change what resellers are doing because it’s flexible,” Miller says. “It can be the thing you need it to be at a point of time, and it can change how you need it to.”

Splunk formally has three reseller partners today. Globally, Miller says, the company views reseller partners as either large system integrators that can do a lot of different things across the stack of their solutions, versus specialists in areas such as network application delivery, managed services, or virtualisation.

“Our view is we’ve historically partnered more successfully with the specialists becuase when they are focused on any particular area they are always finding technology to optimise that area,” he says. “So we will talk to the specialists and say if your are a virtualisation partner doing a lot with VMware, Hyper V or Citrix, Splunk can be that added layer of visibility that can get you data about what is happening up and down the layers, from your storage, to your servers, to your hypervisors. And for the end user the application layer, we can pull together that visibility as well.”

Resellers can download applications from a portfolio of 300 or so prebuilt “dashboards that wrap around the intelligence, usually built by us but sometimes by people in our community.”

“We’re looking for people that can walk in there and say what Splunk can do off the shelf,” says Miller. “They can do the basic solution, and then upsell with the other features, and if you’re a smart partner with a sufficient skill-set you can build capability quickly.”

Miller says Splunk has 120 customers in Australia and New Zealand, and about 4000 in total globally. It is common for cloud providers to use Splunk to manage all their data, not delivered as a service to end user customers, but Miller says the company is open to suggestions about that delivery model.

The company distributes in New Zealand through Westcon. Miller says Splunk is working on ways to align the product to the distributor’s overall portfolio.

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