Friends more than frenemies? Splunk and New Relic team up

While there has been an on and off sense of tension between these two vendors, they may have buried the hatchet

Friends more than frenemies? Splunk and New Relic team up
David Mark

Things were so simple in the old days when it was easy to place vendors. New Relic was firmly and squarely focused on performance monitoring. It helps organizations gain visibility into how their applications and infrastructure are working so that they can make decisions or take actions based on performance.

Splunk was in an entirely different space and was all about allowing organizations to ingest a huge amount of their data in order to run analytics over that data. In doing so, Splunk promised to give organizations more visibility about what was going on.

+ Also on Network World: New Relic aims to be your dashboard of the future +

But it doesn’t take a genius to see there is some potential intersect between those two products. That's especially so given both are now publicly listed companies and hence need to keep showing growth to their shareholders who, as shareholders do, bay for blood at any sign of a slow down.

So, over the past year or two, we’ve seen Splunk talk more of a monitoring story and New Relic talk more of an analytics one. We were all set, it would seem, for a bit of a battle between the two.

Introducing Splunk App for New Relic

But if today’s announcement is anything to go by, these two have decided it's better they work together and make the pie bigger for both rather than squabble over relative serving sizes today. The companies are announcing a new strategic alliance alongside a new integration. The Splunk App for New Relic, available today as a preview release, gives developers and IT operations teams a consistent view into both application performance and infrastructure health with data being shared across both Splunk and New Relic platforms.

The companies articulated where they differ and where a combined offering adds value to customers:

“The Splunk Platform collects, analyzes and visualizes machine data from all levels of the IT stack, including applications, infrastructure and wire data on the network, so organizations can make business-critical decisions tied to troubleshooting, reliability and planning. New Relic’s Digital Intelligence platform collects and traces data from agents inside application code and infrastructure so organizations can make decisions on customer experience, application dependencies and code performance. Both solutions support cloud, hybrid and on-premises data center architectures.”

Of course, combining application tracing and performance with data analytics makes total sense. It allows organizations to infer things from the raw data that may otherwise be invisible. And it allows IT professionals to gain a level of intuition from current information and hence predict what will occur later. The utility of a joint approach is not in question.

But it’s also important to note that New Relic has been talking up its own analytics prowess for a couple of years now, assuring organizations that this combined approach was something that it was offering as a matter of course. And Splunk was banging on about how it was essentially a monitoring vendor, as well. So, what gives? 

A marriage of convenience

It is, as is often he case, a bit of a marriage of convenience. Sure, New Relic offered a degree of analysis, but this really is Splunk’s specialty. And sure Splunk could kind of fulfill the monitoring stuff, but not really. This positions two best-of-breed solutions in a “better together” kind of a way.

And from the horse's mouth, it would seem to be answering a real need. Says Dan Systma from Melillo Consulting, an organization that works with both Splunk and NewRelic customers:

“One of the most frequent requests we receive from our customers stems from the desire to seamlessly integrate data across both Splunk and New Relic platforms. The Splunk App for New Relic gives our customers detailed application performance insight to complement machine data analytics insight across the technology stack, without the manual integrations previously required.”

So, maybe this is a simple story of added benefit for joint customers. Time will tell how this slow dance progresses.

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