'Skeptical' Asians use Splunk as safeguard

Splunk co-founder says Asian IT administrators use the log analysis tool to verify if outsourcing vendors uphold the quality of their service level agreements.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor

"Skeptical" Asian companies have been using Splunk as a tool to "check up" on how closely outsourcing vendors honor their SLAs (service level agreements), according to Splunk co-founder Michael Baum.

Baum, speaking to ZDNet Asia in an interview, said Splunk's Asian customers have been using the log indexing tool to perform "deeper" analysis into their network logs, to find out if there are discrepancies between vendor performance reports and actual network uptime.

Asian and European IT administrators are similar in that respect, where they are more "skeptical" of the quality of IT services offered, he said. American customers, on the other hand, "want to trust in IT" and seem to be more likely to believe in outsourcing partners, he added.

There is also a greater uptake by Asian and European customers of security applications on Splunk's platform, according to Baum, which he also attributed to a lack of trust in security products installed in enterprises. Customers use Splunk to analyze and churn out lists of hostile IP addresses from network logs.

However, he is expecting Splunk to see more "creative", specialized uses in future, such as data mining. Using Research in Motion (RIM) as an example, he said the Canadian phone maker employs Splunk for a "simple yet effective" function: digging through "piles of customer logs" and finding out what are the top 10 Web sites BlackBerry users most frequently visit.

RIM then caches these sites based on the list, to enable more customers to enjoy a faster surfing experience, said Baum.

The task, which now takes minutes, "used to take [RIM] three weeks to produce the list--by the time RIM had it, it was out of date," he said.

The four-year old company hopes to seed such "creative" uses with app development. Next week, it is launching a lab in Taiwan employing some 200 engineers to create apps based on Splunk. The company has also opened an API (application programming interface) for third party development.

Baum said the lab was founded with the intention of fostering "faster development on business-focused apps".

The Internet as a main distribution channel
Baum said the company has been spreading quickly into other countries because of Splunk's availability for download online. This has opened inroads for the company into other geographies--Splunk launched its first European office in the United Kingdom last week.

The download model is also expected to propel sales in Asia--which is expected to make up 30 percent of Splunk's business in two years, said Baum.

The "cloud" is also going to be an additional distribution channel for the product, he added. Splunk will be made available as a SaaS (software-as-a-service) tool, allowing companies to analyze their on-premise servers from the cloud, said Baum.

He also expects Splunk to be integrated into other cloud vendors' offerings. "Someday, you'll see Splunk in the cloud provided by other vendors."

Splunk is available for download online, and charges a license for analyzing logs over 500MB in size.

Editorial standards