Splunk: Tearing down IT walls and opening data to non-IT staffers

If you work in IT, there's probably nothing scarier than the thought of giving some mid-level manager access to the network logs and files. At the same time, who hasn't wanted to tell that same mid-level manager to "Look it up yourself" when he comes trotting down to the basement to get you to drop your world for his request?

If you work in IT, there's probably nothing scarier than the thought of giving some mid-level manager access to the network logs and files. At the same time, who hasn't wanted to tell that same mid-level manager to "Look it up yourself" when he comes trotting down to the basement to get you to drop your world for his request?

Splunk, a company better known for indexing and enabling search of IT data, has a new version of its software that allows the code, scripts, logs and other data to be accessed by other people in the company, not just the IT staff.

Also see: Splunk offers IT efficiency; reports record-setting quarter

Before you get all panicked, the administrators get to determine the level of interaction that different employees are allowed with the data. Likewise, companies can customize dashboards so non-tech employees can easily run queries and view results without having to get deep into the code itself.

It's another way of increasing the efficiency in IT, a department that often takes the brunt of the cutbacks when times are tough and is quick to be tapped to take on extra duties to keep the engine running. By opening the data to other employees, it allows IT to address more critical problems while not delaying the request of some data point that could help close a sale, for example. And who knows? It might even free up some time for IT staffers to be innovative and  create a tool or app that might save the company millions.

As part of today's announcement, the company is also highlighting the ability to develop, deploy and share custom apps on the Splunk engine. In a news release, the company said:

... users now have the power to easily develop and deploy IT Apps running on the Splunk engine. In addition to customers developing their own IT apps and dashboards running on Splunk, an increasingly broad set of apps are becoming available for use from Splunk and Splunk technology partners... In addition, with Splunk 4, users can easily navigate from one installed App to another, for instance, while managing a security incident a user can move from the Enterprise Security Suite Appl to the Change Management App to see if a configuration change has impacted an investigation, saving them valuable time.

I like the idea of app sharing - a Splunk app store just like the others that seem to be popping up for smartphones. In these economic times, there's a lot of talk about doing more with less, about increasing efficiency and saving money. Why reinvent the wheel when someone else may have done it already?

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