Splunk Expands Machine-Learning Capabilities Of Its Operational Intelligence Software

Operational intelligence software developer Splunk is expanding the machine-learning capabilities of its products, debuting new releases of its flagship Splunk Enterprise platform and several applications that leverage machine data for business intelligence, security and other tasks.

Splunk, holding its .conf2016 conference for customers and partners in Orlando,F la. this week, also announced new recruits for its Adaptive Response Initiative through which security technology vendors support the vendor's Splunk Enterprise Security system.

"Machine data is absolutely key to digital transformation," said President and CEO Doug Merritt in a keynote speech Tuesday that kicked off the .conf2016 event. "Machine learning enables organizations to get deeper insights from their machine data and ultimately increases the opportunity our customers can gain from digital transformation."

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He went on to say that the "machine data fabric" is the most effective way for businesses to "collect, store, analyze, interpret and share" data throughout an enterprise.

Splunk's software is used to collect and analyze operational data, including machine data generated by IT systems and networks, security systems and Internet of Things devices, to generate actionable insights.

Splunk Enterprise and Splunk Cloud 6.5, both generally available now, includes a number of new and enhanced capabilities that the company said improves their advanced analytics by making it easier to create machine- learning models for IT, security and business use cases. The new releases also simplify data preparation and expand data analysis to a broader range of users.

"We're doubling down on advanced analytics," Merritt said.

That resonates with Laura Vetter, vice president of analytics at Kinney Group, a Splunk partner and reseller based in Indianapolis. She said that the product's new table data views for both analytical specialists and occasional users "is going to be a game-changer" in helping analysts process and analyze data more quickly.

Kinney Group President and CEO Jim Kinney added that Splunk's software, and especially the new release, helps business get more value out of machine data more quickly.

"Machine learning, deep learning, can provide a lot of value to the customers," said John Ansett, director of operational intelligence at Trace3, a Splunk reseller and consulting partner based in Irvine, Calif.

Ansett said the "open nature" of the Splunk platform makes it possible to develop machine-learning algorithms and "very advanced capabilities" on a large scale.

Splunk also said the new releases lower the total cost of ownership for on-premise systems through tighter integration with Hadoop.

Splunk also introduced new versions of several applications that run on the Splunk Enterprise and Cloud platform.

Splunk IT Service Intelligence 2.4, available now, applies machine learning to system event data to improve productivity across both IT systems and business processes.

On the security analytics side Splunk unveiled Splunk Enterprise Security 4.5 with a common interface for automating event data retrieval, sharing and response in multivendor environments. Splunk User Behavior Analytics 3.0 offers new machine-learning models, additional data sources and content updates of use cases that improve threat detection. Both will be available Oct. 31.

Splunk said at .conf2016 that a number of security vendors had joined its Adaptive Response Initiative including Acalvio, Anomali, Cisco Security, CrowdStrike, DomainTools, ForeScout, Okta, Proofpoint, Qualys, Recorded Future and Symantec.

San Francisco-based Splunk is also investing undisclosed amounts in Acalvio and in Insight Engines, the latter a developer of software that helps users search for and analyze machine data within Splunk systems using natural language techniques.

And Splunk announced a new licensing program that, starting Nov. 1, will provide free licenses for test and development purposes. Splunk CTO Snehal Antani said in a press conference the move would make it easier for partners to help customers expand their use of Splunk by giving them more opportunities to experiment with the vendor's software.