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Implementing Splunk can deliver step operational changes as well as bottom-line benefits to organizations that are dependent on timely access to accurate business intelligence.

Data is a performance issue

When large organizations have operations distributed across continents, it’s likely that they’re also running complex enterprise-class applications over a number of servers.

Often, information from different data sources needs to be correlated to provide essential and timely intelligence to business managers; but if incoming data is unstructured, it can be a challenge to build an accurate overview or to enable deep-dive data interrogation.

This is where Splunk’s ability to extract unstructured data from multiple sources – before correlating information into reports that provide a comprehensive picture of performance – really comes into its own.

Operations impacted by lack of usable data

A major multinational petroleum corporation recently implemented Splunk to resolve just such an issue. The company needed to gain insights into the networking and compute performance of the systems used by its engineers and geologists to determine where to drill for oil.

In petroleum exploration, compute clusters are used to visualize the geology of the ground during offsite drilling operations. It’s a time-critical process; no-one wants to pause or interrupt drilling operations because of something as fundamental as a lack of data. But because data transmission is reliant on network performance between offshore and onshore sites, it’s often prone to unforeseen delays.

Analysts for the corporation had spent almost two years trying to resolve the issues but were unable to find and effective way of turning the unstructured data from multiple sources (Windows and network performance data) into structured, interrogatable information using traditional ETL tools.

Transforming unstructured data into business intelligence with Splunk

Splunk was the perfect fit. Splunk is designed to analyze unstructured data from a diverse range of sources. It doesn’t matter whether data is pulled from an in-house IT infrastructure or from a cloud platform, it can search and visualize data on a vast scale to provide operational intelligence that delivers tangible value to the business, quickly and cost-effectively.

Splunk indexes unstructured log files, enabling super-fast search capabilities and giving users the ability to extract fields and values – without the need to define fields before data is stored – as well as to correlate and interleave data from a range of sources, based on the time stamp. Splunk’s Search Processing Language (SPL) and GU interface allow data and metrics to be displayed on screen in a customizable and easy-to-read dashboard.

Achieving long-term operational goals in days

In this case, working with a professional services partner, the petroleum corporation was able to successfully correlate networking and computer performance information to identify bottlenecks, pinpoint under-performing systems and highlight areas for improvement. A series of dashboards were created that not only enabled users to see a high-level performance overview but also to drill down into the details of performance problems to identify the root cause. The solution was implemented – and actionable data delivered – in just four days.

Following the Splunk professional services install, the company had the tools it needed to identify and resolve performance issues, as well as to determine the root cause of network slowdowns. In one example, the cost of adding extra network capacity via a satellite link was saved when a Splunk interrogation showed that 50% of data usage could be attributed to employees’ off-duty YouTube viewing!

By pinpointing and addressing problems before they impacted field activity, this organization was able to accomplish its goals in a matter of days, improving productivity, reducing costs and maintaining operational momentum.

If you’d like to learn more about how Splunk could benefit your business, contact professional services partner Conducive for a consultation.