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Splunk .conf 2018 Showcases What’s Next for Splunkers from Mobile to the Cloud

Splunk’s annual .conf event returned to Orlando last week and this time, like every other time, it was bigger and better. Hosted at the same Disney location used in 2016, attendance had grown to nearly 10,000 (plus 125,000 online viewers!); sponsors had increased in number; and extra venues were needed to accommodate everything that was taking place.

Ahead of the conference, the big question in my mind was what else can they do? They have buttoned-up security, IT Ops, general analytics and lots more besides. Several acquisitions have also boosted their solutions. Where else can Splunk go? The answer: Splunk Next

A Closer Look at Splunk Next

Like Syncsort, Splunk is a fast-moving organization that seems to be able to tap into and ride current technology waves. And Splunk certainly have been doubling-down on pushing to the next level.

Over the course of two morning keynotes and across 350+ technical sessions, Splunk announced and showcased several updates, new products and add-ons which they rolled out under the Splunk Next banner:

Splunk Developer Cloud Learn to write Splunk applications natively in the cloud
Splunk Business Flow Analytics-driven approach into customer/user’s interactions and identify ways to optimize those interactions and processes
Splunk Data Fabric Search Seamlessly expand search, monitoring and alerting
Splunk Data Stream Processor Refine, modify and adjust data mid-stream within milliseconds before the data reaches its destination
Splunk Cloud Gateway Gain secure cloud service with end-to-end encryption for easy mobile engagement through simple to install Splunk Enterprise app for Mobile (SPLAP)
Splunk Augmented Reality By simply scanning a QR code or NFC tag, enjoy direct access to the Splunk dashboard and live augmented reality Splunk-powered gauges on top of real-world objects
Splunk Mobile See actionable alerts and mobile-friendly dashboards on mobile devices through our Splunk Mobile App
Splunk Natural Language Splunk Natural Language allows users to query a system and ask question of Splunk without knowing Search Processing Language (SPL)
Splunk Insights for Web
and Mobile Apps
Address the needs of app developers and app operators who struggle to improve the quality of experience delivered by their apps
Splunk TV View Splunk on any peripheral device instead of having to purchase a dedicated PC


Oh, and of course key product updates such as:

Splunk Enterprise 7.2 The latest iteration of their core product
Splunk Machine Learning Toolkit 4.0 Enhanced ML toolkit
IT Service Intelligence 4.0 Updated ITSI with improved Machine Learning


…and probably a whole bunch of others I have missed. There were so many.

Phew! The Splunk Teams have been very busy. Some great innovations announced.

It was certainly impressive to see new infrastructure pieces, user interfaces, and even a live demonstration of charts and metrics overlaid on real pieces of equipment with a very cool implementation of mobile augmented reality. Plus, new facilities like Business Flow, Data Fabric Search and Stream Processor will go a long way to improving both performance and data operations.

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However, all these shiny new things are currently part of the Splunk Beta Program so perhaps they have been a little too busy over the last 12 months? Regardless, some very neat technologies were revealed and should be available soon.

Additional Highlights from Splunk .conf 2018

Another notable this year was the energized hum felt by many attendees. Syncsort certainly saw an impressive footfall at our booth in the “source=*Pavilion” sponsor area. Our team held in-depth discussion about our Splunk solutions, carried out many interactive Ironstream demos (for z/OS and IBM i), and captured great quality leads. People just seemed to “get it” this year.

Overall there was a positive buzz that was picked up by many. Our own David Normandeau (VP, North America Sales and show veteran) commented that this – his first .conf – was the best show he had ever been to.

A couple of user session highlights of the week were:

“Splunking the Mainframe for Real-time Insights at the Erie Insurance”
Syncsort’s John Reda, VP Data Infrastructure Optimization R&D, hosted an open discussion with Susan Fassette of Erie on how they have created over 220 dashboards with real-time data supplied via Ironstream. This is helping them replace incumbent monitoring tools, save money, and broaden access to valuable data.

“Discover Your Hidden Million Dollar Mainframe Treasure”
Another impressive presentation was given by David McPherson from ANZ Bank. He outlined how they have managed to save big $$$ in annual mainframe costs by leveraging data supplied by Ironstream!”

Splunk added some special extras to the event too – beyond the usual Splunking your golf swing, F1 driving performance and interactive mobile Buttercup games.

On day three the breakfast keynote hosted Silicon Valley icon and philanthropist Steve Wozniak for a fireside technology chat with Splunk’s own Susan St. Ledger. The “Woz” gave his spin on tech trends such as Artificial Intelligence…which, according to him, can recognize a real dog, but struggles when the same dog is painted on a wall. He also meandered through the ebbs and flows of his varied career from giving his own money and time away for education, to offering advice on how to lead your life…often having to return with “What was the question?” before deliberating further. Altogether a fascinating insight into how technology has grown, where it is going and the impact it can have.

Also, as part of the Splunk4Good initiative, a special breakout was organized for volunteer Splunkers to help package 100,000 meals for the worthy Rise Against Hunger campaign supporting international hunger relief. The Splunk community was all-in!

Plus, it was noted that there was a greater diversity of attendees this year. Specifically, the number of women appeared to have increased significantly, perhaps helped by Splunk promoting select events with the “Women in Tech” momentum.

But, for some, to top it all, was the infamous “Search Party” on the Wednesday evening. This year Splunk hired Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ theme park where most attendees and fez-wearing Splunk Trust members (evangelists of everything Splunk) let their inner child out and had some fun. …although one member of the Syncsort team nearly had a buffer overflow condition after riding The Incredible Hulk Coaster® followed by The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man™.  Us Syncsort’ers like to live life to the full, plus a little…

For me, as a techie, it was a great .conf. Having sat in back-to-back sessions for three days, I now have a head full of ideas of what “Ironstream Next” may be. Watch this space…

But, what’s next for Splunk? Let’s wait and see. Splunk .conf 2019 is a whole year away and, like Syncsort, they can do a lot in that time frame! October next year could bring “Splunk Next, Next” perhaps.


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