Splunk is a wonderful tool for individuals who are into Big data and in a role where they have to analyze a lot of machine data. It is one of the powerful software/Engine which can be used to search, investigate, troubleshoot, alert and report on the accumulated data and present the different style of reports or analysis back to the entire IT infrastructure team in real time.
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Searching within Splunk is really fantastic. Just enter the keyword and Splunk will do the magic and it will show you all the entries that are matched with the keyword. This tool will search for all the machine logs, servers and network devices from your enterprise. As simple as google does it throughout the world, Splunk does it at the enterprise level.
It feeds on the data real time and provides you insightful information that an organization is interested in and also the processes can be improved using these features.
If you are looking to monitor particular user activity patterns, all you need to do is just enter the username and that’s it. The tool will get you all the results that are associated with the username. On top of it, you don't have to log into different servers to collect all the logs.
Now that we understand and has an overview of Splunk as a tool and it’s capabilities let’s dig in deep to understand what is Splunk Universal Forwarder:
1. Splunk universal forwarder is free to the individuals to use. In this dedicated version of Splunk Enterprise, it contains all the important components that are needed to forward the data.
2. Helpnet uses the Splunk Universal Forwarder, to gather data from different sources of inputs and forward it to the machine data of Splunk Indexers. Thus a central repository is achieved and the data is available for searching.
3. The use of Splunk Universal Forwarder is designed and framed in such a way that it can run on production servers where it will have minimal CPU and memory usage. It will have the least impact possible over the system at any given point of time.
4. The universal forwarders communicate with the deployment services. Within this communication process, they send the configurations to the client forwarder. Based on these configurations will help to send the right information or data to the appropriate indexes without any ambiguity.
5. The data that is been forwarded will be encrypted to the indexers. Once the data has been send and indexed by Splunk, the searching will have instantaneously. As this process is continuous the searches are up to date.
6. Universal forwarders don't have any web or application interface provided. Once it is installed, the user has to do all the configuration changes at the common land prompt in the system. (I.e. Windows, Unix or Linux based systems)
7. The best practices of Splunk Universal Forwarder is:
1. Use the universal forwarder as a data collection method when it is possible.
2. Perfect use of start and stop of universal forwarder can be controlled from the command line interface.
8. In general, Splunk Universal Forwarder is only used or its primary purpose is to send or forward the data flow from different inputs.
The pricing part of the universal forwarder is not based on the user or not based on the period of usage. It is completely based on the amount of data, i.e. in GB of data ingested on daily basis.
Now let’s understand the benefits of Splunk Universal Forwarder:
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1. It is a perfect tool where the data can be consolidated from different types of inputs. So one has not to worry about the data coming up from different sources and how the data needs to be massaged. Everything is taken care of by the tool itself.
2. Datacenter side indexer load is reduced. ( Push vs Pull methods when utilized)
3.It has an autoload balance feature where the data can be sent to available indexers based on the need.
4. The deployment server can be managed remotely. All the administrative activities can be done remotely.
5. Universal Forwarders provide a reliable and secure data collection process from remote success when compared to others.
6. Scalability of Universal Forwarder is very flexible, they can handle tens of thousands of remote systems collecting terabytes of information or data without any problem.
So in this article, we understood Splunk as a tool that helps analyzers with their day to day data analysis activity. This can be one effective tool so that it will be helpful for the business.
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