Splunk likes to call itself "the Google of IT." Its product crawls network in search of log data -- stuff typically ignored until something goes wrong -- indexes it, and presents it in a graphical BI (business intelligence) format that IT decision makers can use to optimize performance, availability, and security.
In keeping with its trend of releasing free software versions, Splunk has just made a free version of its Splunk 4 search application available for download. Splunk 4 searches 10 times as fast and indexes twice as fast as the company's previous offering, and it allows users to search, visualize and report on practically any machine-generated data.
[ Splunk is one of several companies seeking to make use of IT's so-called dark matter, log files that are generated by servers, routers, switches, and other devices. ]
The free version of Splunk 4 also includes a two-month trial version of the enterprise-level version with the option to upgrade during or after the trial period. Splunk 4 Enterprise adds enterprise dashboards, monitoring and alerting, distributed deployments, enterprise support, the ability to work with premium apps, and a greater per-day indexing limit (Splunk4 Free caps indexing at 500MB per day; the enterprise limits vary based on which license is purchased).
Splunk calls its offering an "IT utility knife" due to its wide-ranging usefulness across IT tasks and jobs. System admins, for example, can use Splunk to troubleshoot all infrastructure levels, from servers to apps to networks, while security officers can use it to sniff out and investigate attacks. Even developers can utilize it to analyze application logs.
Pricing for Splunk 4 Enterprise starts at $5,000. Splunk 4 Free can be downloaded at Splunk's Web site.