Splunk is a software that enables one to monitor, search, visualize and also to analyze machine generated data (best example are application logs, data from websites, database logs for a start) to big-data using a web styled interface. It is an advanced software that indexes and searches log files stored on a system or the like, alongside to that, it is a scalable and potent software. Splunk bridges the gaps which a single simple log management software or a security information product or a single event management product can manage all by themselves.
Big data forms the very first way of generation of data and when we are utilizing such data, it is always important that you access it without having to move across places or locations. Considering the fact, this has and always will be important – the advent of Cloud services and AWS per se, the generated big data can be hosted On Premise or on Cloud. Splunk’s tiered architecture of data sources and indexers makes it very possible that the data be indexed closed to the source as possible but the search heads can use this data from any Splunk created index.
Related Page: Splunk Architecture
Splunk Cloud is the cloud-based service or solution that enables you to search, analyze or even store the machine generated big data (by your own corporate IT infrastructure or an external source of big data in itself). With the background on Splunk Cloud made available for us until now, we are in a good position to take a closer look at the capabilities of it:
There are various ways and means made available from Splunk to send data from innumerable data sources into your Splunk Cloud deployment. The amount of data that you can collect on your infrastructure is based on the kind of subscription that you have opted from Splunk, the higher the level of subscription from Splunk the more the data that you can gather from options provided by Splunk.
On Splunk Cloud, these are the available options to choose from to send data into your Splunk Cloud setup:
Using Splunk forwarders
Using Splunk add-ons
Having said that, the data collection processes are secured by Splunk explicitly and whitelisting of the IPs is a mandatory requirement for data collection on Splunk data sources.
Related Page: Splunk Universal Forwarder
Splunk Cloud always keeps your data prepared for any incoming search requests. Splunk acknowledgement feature can be put to use to verify if all the data that has been sent for indexing has been received successfully or not. Data is partitioned into logical indexes during the indexing process to facilitate search and also to control users’ access to the final data available.
Data storage is completely handled in such a manner that it abides to all the regulations of the Cloud architecture and setup. Data retention, one of the most important factors to be considered for any Production deployment is completely configurable in the Splunk Cloud services realm to suit the auditing and compliance requirements. You might want to take a look at the storage plans based on your usage and data growth over the years.
Users can not just only search for the required data on a Splunk Cloud setup, but they can a lot of things with the data retrieved – they can visualize the data or even generate reports on top of the search results for an example. Some of the other available options for you to leverage upon using the Splunk Search Processing Language (Splunk SPL) are as follows:
Splunk’s Cloud setup comes with a various number of options as like the pre-configured dashboards, reporting templates, data inputs and saved searches that provide domain specific solutions. Apart from these, you can also activate and purchase Splunk apps, premium solutions to be deployed in your Cloud environment for an additional cost.
To give a depiction of the points discussed until now, the following can become the one stop shop to understand how the Splunk Cloud is designed or used.
With the understanding until now, we can take a closer look at the other features that constitute the Splunk Cloud for our own understanding. These will not only clear your understanding about the Splunk Cloud setup but also clarifies most of the operational aspects of Splunk works as a software.
You can connect to a given Splunk Cloud environment based on the provided public endpoints to that specific instance. If you intend to use private connectivity over public connectivity, this can be achieved by using AWS Direct Connect (as an example) to connect to the public endpoint of the given instance.
Users are authenticated against Splunk LDAP (role-based access control), by integrating SSO (single sign-on) with third party identity providers. The control over users’ access to data can be given by Splunk administrators (with the sc_admin role provided by Splunk Administrators) in the form of roles that are assigned to each of the users. This enables the administrators to administer the Splunk Cloud deployment without compromising on the capabilities and abilities.
Splunk Cloud service is architected in such a way that the key security controls are distributed and also been taken care of completely. Most of the important features that you would want to know on this lines of study is provided as below:
As a mandate, every Splunk Cloud deployment is enabled to run on a secured environment that hosts a stable OS and under a network that abides to the industry standards. Doing so, the access is permitted to specific IP addresses and services. Alongside, your deployment will always be scanned for host or application level threats from the outside world.
This is a very logical point that the data is isolated from the remaining customer’s data so as to enable better performance and also to ensure data integrity from the users who use your Splunk Cloud service.
Data encryption is enabled by using SSL on all the data that is in transit to or from a given Splunk Cloud deployment. Data encryption can be done using AES 256-bit encryption for an additional cost.
As discussed earlier, this is achieved by roles (with defined sets of capabilities for each role) given to users to control access over data for the users created.
Application security is ensured by the Splunk engineers who regularly monitor the applications to comply the Splunk Cloud app best practices. Splunk app Certification program details out the possible best practices for app developers, more details on this are available on the Splunk developer web page.
In this article, we have tried to demystify what Splunk can do as a standalone software and where its usages can be. We have also tried to understand how the Splunk’s Cloud architecture.
Hope this article has provided all the necessary details for you to understand the concept altogether. If you are willing to look for more details on this topic, we suggest you to go through the Splunk documentation.
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