Tableau and Splunk partner up

The darling of data discovery and the master of machine data offer tight integration.

Analytics on streaming, sensor- and machine-generated data is a hot flavor in 2014, and two front-runners in that combined space are teaming up in response.

Splunk is now one of Tableau's many officially supported data sources (click image for magnified view).

Tableau, the popular BI/analytics/data discovery platform, and Splunk, a Big Data player that specializes in machine data, announced this morning a technical partnership to make their products work together.

There's no tech magic here: essentially, Tableau will now connect through to the semi- and unstructured data managed by Splunk using an ODBC driver that Splunk had previously made available. But rather than making users build a generic ODBC connection, Splunk will now appear as an explicit data source option inside Tableau (see figure at right). 

Beyond that special dispensation, the two companies have worked together to test the combination and make sure the experience is a smooth one for users. Meanwhile, Splunk offers very good data discovery and visualization capabilities of its own, so the combination yields some overlap.

Tapan Bhatt, VP of Business Analytics at Splunk, and Ted Wasserman, Product Manager at Tableau, explained to me that Tableau has so many enthusiastic customers who love working on their platform, that bringing Splunk's machine data right to the Tableau environment is a win for both companies. The companies also say they have many common customers who will find this to be a win as well.

Seeing Splunk appear alongside the usual RDBMS, MPP and OLAP suspects — not to mention Salesforce, DataStax, Google BigQuery, SAP HANA and three different Hadoop distributions — drives home a point. At the end of the day, it's all just data, and it all needs to be analyzed.