TechWeekEurope speaks to Splunk SVP Marc Olesen to find out how the data analysis firm’s ramping up its cloud efforts
Splunk, the US data analytics software giant, has spent much of this week at its annual .Conf user show talking about hybrid cloud. The vendor, continually moving away from its Software-as-a-Service roots, is naturally touting its Splunk Cloud platform as the best way of dealing with data in a cloud environment.
Splunk Cloud allows users to search, analyse, and take apart a wealth of data trawled from various pools such as IoT, websites, and apps all in the cloud.
TechWeekEurope took some time with Splunk senior vice president, Marc Olesen, to discuss why the firm thinks hybrid is king, and how it’s going to achieve success for both Splunk and its customers.
“Around the design principles of Splunk Cloud, there’s a huge focus on hybrid,” Olesen says. “Really, to deliver that true hybrid experience, we had to leverage the same engine, and architect with the same engine, or else we wouldn’t really pull it off.”
What Olesen is referring to is hooking up Splunk Enterprise, the core data analytics platform, with Splunk Cloud, to make them work hand in hand to deliver results easily.
“Splunk Enterprise is really synonymous with Splunk Cloud. What we did with Splunk Cloud was really automated all of the provisioning and updates and fabric around Splunk Enterprise – things you’re going to look for in any elastic environment in the cloud. But the engine is the same, so that’s where all the feature functionality is common,” says Olesen.
“And this way, also, when you have Splunk Enterprise on-premise, you can very seamlessly speak to Splunk Cloud, and be able to search for data that’s been indexed in both spots.”
One of the crucial reasons for Splunk’s hybrid game plan is to obviously increase its customer base, scooping up customers that are cloud-savvy and hybrid-ready. With a true hybrid platform, it seems Splunk is better prepared for today’s lean, fast, new customer.
“We’re really looking for, and getting, customers of all shapes and sizes, which is exciting,” says Olesen. “We say there are three paths to Splunk Cloud. The first is very small deployments, but not necessarily small customers, but small deployments. It’s all self-service. They go the web, sign up for a trial, and pay with a credit card.”
“Then we’ve got net new customers, such as partners. Then we’ve got customers that are existing Splunk customers who are expanding into the cloud. Gatwick Airport actually fits that example – they’ve got some Splunk on-premise, and have either moved that to the cloud and expanded it or left it on-premise for the hybrid experience,” says Olesen.
Splunk claims it’s witnessing a surge in small customers from a wide horizontal arc of industries.
“It’s very horizontal. It really is. When we dissect our install base, we see it spanning a lot of industries. From financial services, who are very security focused and want sensitivity around the data all the way to online services, manufacturing, and retail, such as Tesco in EMEA,” says Olesen.
“Customers can have the option of Splunk Light or Splunk Enterprise in the cloud. We made Splunk Light available for on-premise deployments last March, and just recently we made it available in the cloud as well,” says Olesen.
“So now when a potential customer comes in to look at the cloud experience, they have a choice between Splunk Light, which is for 1-20GB per day, or Splunk Cloud/Enterprise, which starts at 5GB per day.
The whole model around Splunk Light is really expanding the customer base. We found that there was a lower end of the market for smaller deployments that didn’t want all of the feature functionality of Splunk Enterprise, so we skinnied it down. It’s less expensive.”
Specifically priced for small IT environments, Splunk Light in the cloud seems like a simple revenue source for Splunk, wafting the chance of upgrading to the full package once the user’s hooked.
And when it comes to competitors, Olesen says there really is no competition when it comes to Splunk’s range.
“We definitely see other players in that price point, but what we don’t see is players who can go all the way down as low as we can go but also fully scale up to a true hybrid experience,” says Olesen.
Wrapping up Splunk’s efforts in the hybrid experience is the claim that it can deliver large reductions in total cost ownership by using cloud, all thanks to the company’s own “seamless integration”.
“We have the ability to very efficiently run Splunk. We’ve got a lot of expertise and scale, and then also all of the automation fabric for hybrid. Our cost to operate and run Splunk is pretty efficient,” says Olesen. This efficiency in its software that keeps the hardware costs down for hybrid results in lower costs for customers, says the company.