The Essentials of Every Splunk Deployment (Part One)

In many organizations, Splunk users and admins spend their time in Splunk onboarding new data, writing new searches (trying to find a needle in a haystack), or creating reports and dashboards for others to consume. The more friction that can be removed for users, the more value they recognize from the investment. Let’s walk through some Splunk implementation best practices that can help you in your deployment.

What we see as the Splunk implementation grows — in terms of data ingest volume and active users — the overall experience starts to deteriorate for everyone. The issues follow very similar patterns, and you want to mitigate some of them before too late. (You don’t want your Splunk Admins to want to write letters like this, do you?)

Splunk has published a success framework handbook to help you get started. This handbook provides reference materials, templates, and expert guidance for every aspect of a Splunk implementation, from data onboarding and platform management to suggestions for user education.

The two main components of this framework are:

1.) The Operational Framework of a Splunk Implementation

2.) Best Practices for the Four Functional Areas of Splunk Implementation

We’ll cover the first part here today (stayed tuned for the second part, coming soon).

The Operational Framework

Often, the Splunk implementation starts as a small “skunk-works” project within a team. Soon after the project kicks off, however, it grows into a large, poorly managed enterprise platform, not providing the desired value or outcome. Lack of a practical operational framework is one of the most common causes of poor user experience and adoption in a Splunk deployment. Like any enterprise platform, it is imperative to start with strong fundamentals. Establishing the purpose, goals, and ownership of the Splunk platform will increase the likelihood of success and wide-spread adoption.

1. Start with the Why

Ask yourself and your team important questions before diving into implementation. Here are a few to start with:

  • Why is Splunk a critical tool in the success of the organization’s mission?
  • Why does leveraging this platform to analyze data to assist with strategic and tactical decisions help increase the probability of attaining the organization’s financial targets?
  • Why does uniform and wide-spread adoption help colleagues and teammates better achieve work-life balance and maintain a healthy lifestyle?

2. Find a Champion

Find a leader who is most passionate about the “why.” Enable them to provide the resources and support the success of the implementation. To help the leader, find a champion within the team who will share with all the groups the “art of the possible.”

3. Define Success

What does the implementation look like in an ideal state? Establish success criteria early, define success metrics, and hold everyone accountable for achieving these measurements.

4. Operations Framework

Choose a centralized, federated, or hybrid model for operational success and empower the teams to deliver using the framework. Make sure you review the advantages and challenges of each type of framework before defining your framework.

What’s Next?

Now that you’ve defined your operational framework, let’s take this “base coat” and apply it to your Splunk implementation. Kinney Group has years of Splunk experience and experience backing Splunk implementations from start to end. You’ll read about the best practices we’ve learned about the implementation process in the second part of this series. If this strikes a chord with an upcoming Splunk project your team may be developing, let’s chat. Fill out the form below to talk with one of our expert team members.

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