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What are Splunk Apps and Add-ons and its benefits?

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Splunk is a wonderful tool for individual 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 a different style of reports or analysis back to the entire IT infrastructure team in real time.

What is the use of Splunk:

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.

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In this article we will discuss Splunk Apps and add-ons that are available and their benefits in detail: 

In general, Splunk Apps and Add-ons are two different entities but both have a same extension, i.e. SPL files. When these files are downloaded and then installed on the Splunk instance. With this process, one cannot understand the main difference. But in general, the following table will provide you the difference between an App vs Add on.

App Add on

These are used for visualization

They are used for data optimization and collection process. To increase the efficiency.


Apps are considered to be more wide range and offer a navigable GUI for the user interface. The interface includes a lot of options for the users or Splunk Knowledge objects (i.e. lookups, tags, event types and saved searches etc).

An App can be built on a combination of different Add ons together. This is possible where they can be reused again to build something completely different.

Unlike an Add-on, App caters towards only single perspective. It is used only for one common goal and it can be used for a specific thing.

For example:

Splunk Enterprise Security App. Using this app the security policies and the aspects are covered and utilized.

Apps have a functionality where the user can be restricted or limited with a certain type of information. The access levels can be controlled so that it is more secure and only the information that is necessary for the user is only available and he doesn’t have access to rest of the information or data.

Apps can be opened from Splunk Enterprise Home page or from App menu or from App section in the Settings page.

Benefits of Apps in Splunk Platform:

These are used for visualization, Analysis, and Reporting.
They build simple GUI for the users so that it is feasible for individuals who are non-programmers.
They provide simplified access to the user tasks and also allow access to the data and the functions of the Splunk platform.
With the apps, Pre-built dashboards, reports, and workflows are available.
Using these apps, in depth analysis can be possible for the users.
Real time data is possible for representation when the user is in need.
User based roles can be created where the access can be restricted and limited.


Add-on is something like a single component that is developed and it is reused a number of times in different suitable use cases.  It is usually used as a standard framework where the team can leverage the functionality to a certain extent and build something completely new on top of it.  

Generally, they don’t have any known navigable user interface. An Add-on cannot be opened from Splunk Enterprise homepage or the app menu. It will be in SPL format.

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Few examples of Add-ons are:

A custom search command
A modular input
A data model definition
Custom field extractions
Reusable Javascript/ CSS etc

Benefits of Add-on in Splunk Platform:

They are used for data optimization and collection process. To increase the efficiency.
Add-ons typically enhance the data from any source and create a rich data set.
Add on are something that helps the Splunk platform in an extended format. These tasks can be worked out with the help of add on available in the Splunk platform
They can consume data from 100s of different sources.
They can automatically select, identify and tag fields.
Helpful in terms of enriching the data from different information sources.


So in this article we have gone through the definition of App and Add on and their individual benefits. One of the most common misconception that the users have in the market is that they got an impression that both Apps and Add on are the same and achieve the same purpose but to be honest they are not. They have different functionalities and responsibilities associated with it. 

If you think that there are any vital points or topics that need to be included in this article, please comment in the Comments section below.

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Madhuri Yerukala
About The Author

Madhuri is a Senior Content Creator at MindMajix. She has written about a range of different topics on various technologies, which include, Splunk, Tensorflow, Selenium, and CEH. She most of her time researching on technology, and startups. Connect with her via LinkedIn and Twitter . Protection Status