Is Splunk difficult?

Table of Contents

Splunk is an intense software – no doubt about it. Therefore, users should invest a lot of time reading and practicing how to use it. Currently, there are many courses out there to help you grasp this software’s functioning.
Even those who have been using Splunk for some time do not know how to use it. In fact, it is a matter of trial and error. However, by reading documents and discussing with other people using Splunk, they manage to handle a thing or two.

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It might be more challenging for users who lack a technical background.

Is Splunk difficult
Is Splunk difficult

10 Reasons Why Splunk Is Difficult

Many people are using Splunk currently. Actually, some have up to five years of experience, yet they haven’t mastered how to use Splunk fully. Like any other software, Splunk requires lots of practice with various sizes of data. Therefore, mastering Splunk will mean doing a lot of studies, training, and practice. 

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Splunk is difficult for the reasons below:

  1. Not great for decentralized models: when you open up the system for everyone within an organization to input their data, it becomes incredibly difficult to stick to best practices. 
  2. Splunk has its specific SPL, which is not easy to learn. You have to go through the numerous documentation or training to understand its details. 
  3. Splunk offers too many functionalities. Mastering such a massive range of features is problematic in itself. It will cost you a lot of time and some good cash to lay your hands on some valuable resources. 
  4. Multi-tier architecture necessitates much training to grasp its details. 
  5. The dashboard looks great but doesn’t offer much value as compared to software like Tableau. It has low reliability. Duplicating the dashboard for different areas is rather challenging. 
  6. It works slowly, and when you try to optimize for high speed, Splunk freezes or works exceptionally slow.
  7. It’s hard to use Splunk if you use another environment – already installed Splunk. Therefore, it is great to learn it right from installation in your environment and build it as you move up. 
  8. It requires technical knowledge to manage large installations on Splunk, and the process of capturing data from the cloud is not very straightforward. 
  9. Creating Splunk queries is too tedious if you lack the right knowledge, and it takes a lot of time to implement. 
  10. An on-going staff is necessary to keep the system running effectively owing to the complexity of the installation process and maintenance of the Splunk infrastructure. 

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10 Reasons Why Splunk Is Not Difficult

There are many reasons to learn Splunk. While the process may seem difficult for some people, it is not entirely complicated. The company has put in place measures to ensure that every user gets the best experience, understands what they are doing, and can achieve an outcome. 

Below are the reasons that justify why Splunk is easy:

  1. Community support: Splunk community is an engaging community of experts that is always ready to answer your questions. Beyond the passionate experts, the community comprises various user groups comprised of Splunk enthusiasts, from which you can learn tips, tricks, and best practices. Amazingly, you can request new ideas/enhancements or vote for an idea on the Splunk community.
  2. Timely technical support: Splunk has a toll-free direct line, which you can call support in case you have a technical issue.
  3. Availability of training, documentation, and certifications: Splunk has many resources to help learners and users understand its details. Such resources are handy for both technical and non-technical users. 
  4. Splunk can ingest/index almost any kind of data: precisely, all IT, historical data, machine data can be indexed by Splunk.
  5. An easy-to-use and adaptive dashboard and visualizations, which makes it easy to understand the reports generated. Besides, it manipulates a large amount of continuous data.
  6. The Splunk infrastructure allows quick and easy log queries across the various infrastructure. 
  7. Splunk allows its users to access and share information through URL links easily. 
  8. Splunk comes with immense flexibility and customization options, which allow you to develop apps based on your current needs. 
  9. There is an alarm on Splunk software, which, if you appropriately configure, alerts relevant people within the organization based on capture log data on a timely basis. 
  10. The Splunk dashboard is central for all the logins from different sources. 

What is Splunk?

Splunk is an advanced software platform with effective and scalable technology to index and search log files stored within a system. Ideally, the software has an application in analyzing machine-generated data; thus, providing operational intelligence. 

The significant advantage of using Splunk is, it doesn’t require a database to store data since it utilizes indexes for data storage. Users can easily monitor, perform searches, analyze as well as visualize machine-generated data in real-time. 

Splunk will capture, index, and correlate data in real-time in a searchable container and generates graphs, dashboards, alerts as well as visualizations. With Splunk software, users can quickly access data for easy analysis, diagnostics, and solutions.

Keep in mind; Splunk can recognize patterns of data, diagnose problems, grant intelligence, and produce metrics for businesses. Anyone in security, management, compliance, or web analytics, and business can make great use of Splunk. 

The significant selling point for Splunk is real-time data analysis. This is a new thing – never seen before in the field of data analysis and movement and system monitoring. Additionally, if you implement Splunk in your organization, you get benefits, including inputting data in any format, accurate predictions, and creating objects for operational intelligence. 

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Splunk tutorial

Splunk analyzes machine data. The source of this data can be devices, sensors, web applications, and data that users create. Since various processes generate logs, Splunk analyzes them alongside any semi-structured and structured data with appropriate data modeling. 


Users should have an understanding of querying languages such as SQL. However, it is useful to have general knowledge in computer applications, e.g., retrieving, storing data, and reading logs. 

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There are three categories:  Product Categories

  • Splunk Enterprise: suitable for companies with large IT requirements 
  • Splunk Cloud: same feature to the enterprise version, but it’s a cloud-hosted platform. You can get it either via Splunk or AWS cloud platform.
  • Splunk Light: with this category, you can search, report, and alert all log data in real-time from a single place. However, it has fewer functionalities and features than the other two versions.

Splunk Features

Below are the features:

Data Ingestion: it accepts multiple data formats, including XML, JSON, and unstructured machine data, e.g., web and app logs. 

Data Indexing: Splunk indexes data for faster searches and querying

Data Searching: all searches involve utilizing indexed data for predicting future trends, creating metrics, and identifying data patterns 

Using Alerts: alerts have applications in triggering RSS feeds or emails if it recognizes certain specific criteria. 

Dashboards: it shows the search results as charts, pivots, etc. 

Data Model: you can model the data into multiple data sets according to specialized domain knowledge. Thus, end users can easily navigate the software.


  • Linux Version: download from the official page – select the .deb package type. It uses the Ubuntu platform.
  • Windows Version: get it as an MSI installer. The installation is relatively straightforward. 

How does it work? 

Here are the important components:

Forwarder: collects data from remote machines and forwards it to the Index in real-time.

Indexer: process incoming data in real-time. Besides, it stores & Indexes the data on disk.

Search Head: users interact via Search Head. So, you can do searches, analysis, as well as visualization.

Splunk certification

If you intend to pursue a career in Splunk, it is better to get some sort of Splunk certification.

Click this affiliate link to get Splunk Power User & Admin Certification Training.

Whether you are an expert or a novice, getting Splunk certification can help build a successful career. 

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Look, there is a significant growth in machine log data generation in the past ten years. This is in response to the increasing demand for usage of IoT devices like network devices, voice activators, actuators and sensors, and machines. 

By now, you know that machines generate sophisticated data – not in a structured format, and it is incredibly challenging to analyze. But analysis offers insights into the data – uncovering hidden meaning like understanding customer behavior or requirements.  

The best way out is to get Splunk certification. Though not easy, it is necessary. 

Why Splunk certification?

Certification in Splunk is vital in training candidates in their current job or a job they want to venture into. It places them in an advantageous position as professionals to serve or better their skills. A person with Splunk certification will, without a doubt, have a competitive edge when it comes to job applications. 

However, you need to get through training – exceptional and recognizable. 

Machine learning, big data, security, and IoT are fields that require Splunk. Getting a certification in one of these fields can give you a huge leap forward. 

Splunk certification options

The specific certification options include:

  • Splunk Core User Certification 
  • Splunk Core Power User Certification 
  • Splunk Enterprise Admin certification
  • Splunk Enterprise Architect Certification 
  • Splunk Developer Certification 
  • Splunk Enterprise Security Certified Admin
  • Splunk IT Service Intelligence Certified Admin

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Requirements for certification

  • account with a valid email address
  • Create a PearsonVUE account
  • 18+ years of age. Those aged between 13 to 17 must provide a signed parental acknowledgment form
  • Registration fee of $125 per exam or $500 for five exam registrations
  • Valid ID (photo) and a 2nd identification type -it should show your legal name, e.g., military card or credit card 

Splunk career path

Splunk covers a broader area. You can choose to specialize in fields like Systems Engineer, Splunk Architect, Technical Service Manager, Splunk Administrator, Splunk Programming Analyst, Splunk Application Developers, Security Engineer, and Security Analyst. 

Still, there are certain Splunk specific roles – but they entirely depend on a company or organization. Examples include Consultants, DevOps Engineer, etc.

Splunk engineer jobs are fully balanced – not stressed nor relaxed. However, they are competitive but very Splunk administrator collaborative.

If you take any career in Splunk, you are sure of flourishing in any technology domain as well as sectors such as insurance, finance, trade, retail, manufacturing, and technical services, and information technology. 

Lots of enterprises – large, medium, and small use Splunk to manage their data. They put it into a task like fraud prevention, service performance improvement, customer understanding, cybersecurity tasks, and cost reduction. The effectiveness and popularity of Splunk have prompted organizations like HP, Facebook, Adobe. IBM, etc., to use it.

Education requirements to build a Splunk career

At Splunk, there are lots of courses to help you on your career path. You can choose a single or multiple paths to pursue. You can select from the following specialization facets:  

  • Administrators
  • Security end user 
  • App developers
  • Security administrators

Else, you can choose to maintain the Splunk user profile or master the Splunk cloud platform.  YouTube also has online courses and videos to make the entire learning process a breeze.  

Splunk Review

If you are dealing with machine data, you should know that it is incredibly complex to comprehend. It isn’t ideal for generating visuals or analysis. It comes in an unstructured format. 

So, if not careful, you may not have use for such data. However, Splunk comes in handy at this juncture. Just place your machine data into Splunk, and it will do the rest – searching, analyzing, and visualizing regardless of the data source. 

Splunk operates through a web-style interface. Ideally, it will capture, index, and correlate real-time data within searchable repositories.

Splunk categories 

  • IT Operations Analytics: combines monitoring of IT assets and resources to analyze massive data volumes from performance monitoring that monitor an IT systems’ health. Typically, it utilizes complex algorithms to extract consequential information from data. IT analytics minimizes outages, service prioritization, root cause analysis. 
  • Log Management: this is vital in the management of large volumes of computer-generated audits/log messages and even logs from serves as well as other networks. Ideally, it defines what you should log, the length of time to log in the data, and how long to keep it. 
  • Security Information & Event Management (SIEM): necessary for collating event and log data. It lets security analysts have a more in-depth look into the security events and logs. This is possible since they look at the point security of individual’s log files.

Splunk pricing 

You can get Splunk as an annual or perpetual term license. Both plans are based on the maximum amount of daily data users consume. For a 1GB daily package, Splunk charges $1,800/year. 

If you choose Splunk Cloud, then you’ll have to choose between the monthly and annual plan. On the other hand, Splunk ES covers both Splunk Cloud and Splunk Enterprise, and pricing is according to a maximum daily usage in GB/day. 

Working at Splunk

Splunk is a vast company that is continually evolving to feed customers with the right set of solutions. This poses a challenge to employees who need to keep an innovative mind. 

To make it easy for and possible for employees to keep up with the ever-evolving technology world, Splunk offers lots of professional programs and training to employees. 

With lots of online and on-site courses, every employee remains sharp. Additionally, there are professional pairing programs and management training offered via employee mentorship programs.

Splunk embraces innovativeness. That’s why the company upholds that Splunk software is not a complete solution but should be made to offer a complete solution to customers. The employee resource group offers community network and mentoring opportunities to Splunkers. 

Splunk takes care of its employees very well. Each employee is entitled to vision, dental, and medical insurance. Besides, there are investment and compensation plans for each employee. Just choose the right plan. This applies to their families too. 

While that sounds great, some employees find it a little bit hard to advance their careers despite the productive atmosphere. Perhaps, that is due to disorientation due to rapid growth and lack of personal development plans. 

Splunk Introduction

It’s true; Splunk is powerful when it comes to the analysis of machine data. Machine data is seldom utilized effectively because there are few tools to analyze it. Again, machine data is emitted in huge volumes, which makes it pretty challenging to handle. 

Splunk develops powerful tools that can search, monitor, and analyze machine data through the web-style interface.

Using Splunk can be a little challenging especially for non-technical individuals. Ideally, the system gathers all the information into a standard index, making it possible for rapid searches. While using Splunk, you get a detailed window of what’s happening to your machine data. Along with that, you get historical trends, and it can also correlate the various sources of information. 

Splunk works like no other log analysis tool, and it works in 3 phases:

  1. It identifies data responsible for answering your question. 
  2. Transforms that data into results answering your query. 
  3. Splunk then displays the results in a report format, graphs, or interactive chart, making it easy to understand to a broad audience.

Knowing how to use Splunk requires some sort of training. At Splunk, you can get lots of resources and documentation to help navigate the technical fields. The main course teaches you how to use various Splunk fields, get statistics from data, create reports, search and navigate Splunk, dashboards, alerts, and lookups. 

Most importantly, you need hands-on challenges and Scenario-based examples to create robust reports, searches, and charts. Furthermore, it introduces you to pivot interface and dataset features within Splunk. 

In summary, Splunk works by:

Mastering machine data in a data center via indexing (collecting data from diverse locations and putting together), quickly searching logs from servers to locate the problem, and finally determine the root cause and sends an alert. 

Operational intelligence enables organizations to utilize machine data to comprehend customer behavior, reveal vital analytics and patterns, time-saving, deploy solutions, and leverage live feeds. 

Splunk Software

Like other log analysis software, Splunk will collect data from multiple sources and analyze it for easy understanding. Users can create reports, generate graphs, and other visuals to make the information easier to understand. 

However, Splunk differs from other tools for its vast capabilities to deal with enormous data sets from machines. Within Splunk, various components ensure flawless performance. 

The major three components of the Splunk architecture include:

Forwarder: This component collects data from various remote machines and then channels that data in real-time to the index. 

Indexer: this is the component that processes data from the forwarder in real-time. Besides, it stores and indexes that data on disk. 

Search Head: the search head serves as the interface where users interact with Splunk. At the search head, you can do searches, analyses, and visualization.

Now, in simple terms, there is an input (data), then the data moves to the parsing stage, where it undergoes conversion into events such as the application of coupon codes. The data moves to the indexing stage, where events will be sorted. Finally, you get reports at the search head, which offers important insights to make crucial business decisions. 

Why Splunk Is Difficult vs. Why Splunk Is Not Difficult

Why Splunk Is Difficult

Why Splunk Is Not Difficult

Implanting queries is difficult in an already established environment, especially if you are a non-technical person.

If you can begin from scratch by creating your own environment right from installation (which is easy), you can quickly master Splunk’s details.

Though the dashboard is easy to use, it doesn’t offer exemplary results for data analysis.

The interface is very flexible, allowing easy customization for proper visualization of data as well as sharing of rules among users.

It takes time to understand how to perform searches due to its steep learning curves. Precisely, understanding Splunk’s SPL isn’t easy.

The whole system allows real-time monitoring of every aspect with intuitive as well as an informative search option.

When analyzing large volumes of data, Splunk gets extremely slow. Additionally, it tends to demand a lot from the CPU. Its worse cases, it searches without returning results. You just have to kill the page manually and restart again.

The Splunk architecture allows for quick and easy detecting and reporting of anomalies. Thus, you quickly get solutions. Further, you can get help from the community or experts.

Luis Gillman
Luis Gillman

Hi, I Am Luis Gillman CA (SA), ACMA
I am a Chartered Accountant (SA) and CIMA (SA) and author of Due Diligence: A strategic and Financial Approach.

The book was published by Lexis Nexis on 2001. In 2010, I wrote the second edition. Much of this website is derived from these two books.

In addition I have published an article entitled the Link Between Due Diligence and Valautions.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information published on this website is accurate, the author and owners of this website take no responsibility  for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relience upon the information contained therein.  Furthermore the bulk of the information is derived from information in 2018 and use therefore is at your on risk. In addition you should consult professional advice if required.