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March 10, 2015

Splunk Goes ‘Light’ with Big Machine Data Analytics

Splunk yesterday unveiled a scaled-down version of its eponymous machine data analysis tool for use by smaller companies. Called Splunk Light, the solution starts at $75 per month, making it available to a much broader range of customers than the full Splunk version.

Splunk has quietly become one of the most successful companies in the big data space. While we’ve yet to see a Hadoop distributor break the $100 million barrier, Splunk brought in more than $450 million last year with its very proprietary–yet still very popular–machine data analytics tool.

With the introduction of Splunk Light, the San Francisco company is casting a much wider net to bring in a wider array of customers, says Marc Itzkowitz, Splunk’s product marketing director.

“The notion of gathering log file from disparate locations and not have to use Excel or Grep to search the files is compelling for everyone, especially the mid-market IT departments who don’t have the dedicated security teams,” Itzkowitz tells Datanami. “We wanted to make Splunk available as a package for those environments, hence Splunk Light.”

The core functionality available in Splunk Light is identical to Splunk Enterprise, with a few caveats. For starters, the software can only run on a single server, and is limited to ingesting 20GB per day. Splunk Light also is limited to teams of five users, and comes pre-configured for log file analytic use cases out of the box, so there are fewer configuration screens than the full version. It’s also available for download over the website with a credit card, versus the purchase order (PO) process used with the full version, which also has some add-ons available to it that are not available with the light version.

“In our research the biggest thing for these people was ingesting [all the logs files] together and having a single automated view of all your data, to be able to search it, report and analyze it, and monitor it,” Itzkowitz says. “They want a simple configuration out of the box, and have a simple way for getting data into the system.”

Customers can start small with Splunk Light, and upgrade to Splunk Enterprise when they begin to push the limits of the 20-GB-per-day ingest limit. Itzkowitz notes that some Splunk Enterprise customers are ingesting upwards of 300 TB per day on distributed Splunk Enterprise clusters, so there is a lot of room for growth.

“There are three fundamental laws of data: Nobody throws data out. They keep making more of it. And they keep making more uses of it,” Itzkowitz says. “Splunk now provides a path from smaller data to big data, seamlessly, from Splunk Light to Splunk Enterpirse, through an enterprise adoption agreement for your ginormous data.”

Splunk Light is billed annually, and starts at $75 per month, or $900 per year, for a system capable of ingesting 1GB per data per day. Customers can pay more to ingest bigger data sets. By comparison, Splunk Enterprise costs $1,800 per year for a system capable of ingesting 1GB per day.

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