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Why Splunk Deployment Architecture Matters


Written by: Kinney Group | Last Updated:

July 8, 2022

Originally Published:

June 1, 2020

Most large Splunk implementations have a very similar start. Splunk deployments tend to start small — as a skunk-works project, for example — staying within one team and growing from there. Unless the growth is well-planned and architected to perform as expected, user experience can be less than desirable. A poorly designed deployment can result in hundreds of thousands in hardware costs. Moreover, a bad Splunk deployment can result in intangible harms.

The Consequences of a Bad Splunk Deployment

1. Lack of adoption

This is the most significant risk. Users stop using the platform if it does not perform to their satisfaction. Searches take long to execute or return incomplete results (or the quality of data does not meet expectations) or saved searches are not run, resulting in inaccurate reports. These are just a few negative implications of poorly performing Splunk instance. As a result, users and teams find it difficult to see value in this substantial investment and either stop relying on it, or question the data.

2. Team burnout

The platform is capable of performing at an enormous scale — that’s a given. When users experience slowness, it is very likely because of inefficient deployment or user error. Troubleshooting data quality issues or reduced search response time is exhausting, not only for the Splunk admin but also for the user experiencing it. The effects can be drastic and should be an essential consideration for team morale.

3. Decisions based on incorrect or incomplete results

Poor user experience and slow response time make it difficult to write efficient searches or ingest the right data to achieve business outcomes. Improper searches or searches that do not retrieve the correct results takes time and effort without the desired effect. Decisions based on these improper searches could have an unpredictable impact on the overall business.

4. Total cost of ownership

It has the potential to increase hardware needs, and with that comes the need a larger team to support it.

5. Time to value

Everything takes longer than it needs to. Attempts to search through logs to identify the root cause or investigation of a security incident, to undertake remediation steps or writing reports to summarize business performance or identify the origin of an error in the application logs. The bottom line? Customer experience — internal or external — is adversely impacted, and time to value from the platform is not optimal.

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How to Get it Right

Fortunately, all is not lost. Splunk deployments are can be fixed following these tips to get it right:

1. Splunk Validated Architectures (SVA). Splunk has published robust guidelines for designing your environment to avoid the common pitfalls of any deployment. Whether you are getting Splunk for the first time or expanding your license, start with the SVA.

2. Pick appropriate hardware types, mainly CPU and storage. There are options, but you want to pick the fastest, even if it is not the lowest. In the long run, it will pay dividends.

3. Get expert help: Whether it is a new environment or an existing Splunk instance, get specialist help to design, install, and configure following Splunk’s recommended best practices. For a current environment, contact experts to assess not only the deployment but also your operational best practices.

To summarize, deploying Splunk using SVA on the right hardware with a specialist’s help provides an excellent return on your investment. If you’re looking for help in the Splunk deployment world, we have years of experience supporting all environments. If you’d like to learn more about our services, fill out the form below.

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