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The Comprehensive Intro to Splunk Knowledge Objects

Conceptual Illustration of Knowledge Objects

What is a knowledge object in Splunk?

Splunk knowledge objects are a set of user-defined searches, fields, and reports that enrich your data and give it structure. Basically, if you’re using Splunk, you’re using one very large knowledge object. With those knowledge objects, you can share them with other Splunk users, and include tags, events, reports, and alerts to organize and maintain your data.

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There are several types of knowledge objects. Together these knowledge objects make up apps, and knowledge objects that service apps are called add-ons.

What are all of the Splunk Knowledge Objects?

  • Saved Searches:
  • Event Types:
  • Tags:
  • Field Extractions:
  • Lookups:
  • Reports:
  • Alerts:
  • Data Models:
  • Workflow Actions:
  • Fields:

The Basics of Splunk Knowledge Objects 

A knowledge object could be a piece of a search or a piece of data being ingesting. It could also just be a group of data. When defining your knowledge objects, ask yourself, “What do I want Splunk to show me?”

To better identify your data, utilize your field extraction to pull from the data coming in. Let’s use the example of the identifier, “transaction ID.” You want to see all information relevant to the transaction ID extracted. To start, you create a field extraction around the knowledge object, transaction ID, and now you can search for that specific set of information.

Knowledge objects exist in the deployment, indexers, search heads, saved searches, and any other user-defined data with your Splunk instance. You can reference a knowledge object any time you’re trying to isolate down your data to a refinement point.

What are Knowledge Object tags?

Tags can help you centralize the naming conventions behind your data and knowledge objects. Below is an example of how this works.

How Splunk Knowledge Objects Work

For this example, we’ll use transaction ID. I’ve. In this scenario, you have multiple streams of data coming in. 

Step 1: The transaction ID comes in through the firewall, hits the web server, goes into the database, and then transfers back through. 

Step 2: If you have a transaction ID throughout that stream, you can tag each knowledge object at each index point. 

Because your firewall is the one sending data in, you’ll want to tag your transaction ID within that point. 

On your web server, you can tag that knowledge object with the same transaction ID. 

The same goes for your database. 

Step 3: Now, when you search on that transaction ID, Splunk will pull up that transaction ID for all of those data inputs.

Note: To maintain a common naming convention, tag your data early on.

Sample tagging in Splunk

Figure 1 – Sample tagging in Splunk

Technical Add-ons

Finally, let’s throw in technical add-ons and how they work in tagging to knowledge objects. When you have a known data type coming in, you can implement a technical add-on. This add-on will take the data, ingest it, and apply known rules to it.

We can look at firewalls as an example. If you have a known firewall bender, you can apply the technical add-on for the known firewall bender. By adding a technical add-on, your data is now CIM compliant. The technical add-ons take the data coming in from the firewall, tag it, and perform a field alias.

The technical add-ons use event data and group the data sets by common terms instead of the vendor term. How is this helpful? The ability to search by common terms allows for easier communication flow across teams. Common terminology, via the Common Information Model (CIM), helps with communication across vendors and teams.

If you found this helpful…

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