Splunk launches IT troubleshooting wiki

Splunk launched its Splunk Base community wiki Monday. Linking into Splunk's IT events search software, Splunk Base enables systems administrators to access and share information to help troubleshoot technical problems.

"It's the strength of search combined with the community process," Dana Gardner, principal analyst with Interarbor Solutions, says. "Splunk Base is quite novel and potentially powerful."

Users of Splunk's free Splunk Server and its commercial Splunk Professional search software can access the Splunk Base wiki directly, according to Michael Baum, Splunk's co-founder and self-styled chief executive splunker. Splunk Server and Splunk Professional make it easier to search the massive amounts of information generated by a data center's applications, devices and services by indexing and linking log files and other types of IT events.

Splunk Base uses the company's universal event-classification algorithms to automatically fingerprint individual IT events based on the structure and syntax of that event. "We tag problems on the Web in the same way that Flickr tags photos," Baum says. "We tag the problem with a human-friendly tag so that other people will know what it is."

When a user runs a check on an IT event on Splunk Base, the software brings up a wiki associated with that particular event. That way, IT professionals can see whether their peers have come across the same problem already and how they resolved it. They also can capture their own knowledge about IT events, which can then be accessed by the Splunk Base community. IT professionals who aren't using Splunk's search software can register at http://www.splunk.com/base to search or post event data.

One of the 3,500-plus users who has been beta testing Splunk Base is Demetri Mouratis, a systems administrator at Nuasis, a vendor of IP-based contact center software based in Mountain View, Calif.

Wading through log files contained on hundreds of servers to pin down the cause of a particular IT problem can take hours or an entire day, according to Mouratis. Typically, an administrator will have to log into each server manually to check out its log files. Using Splunk Base on a properly configured system "can greatly decrease the time," acting as a shortcut to help to resolve the issue, he says. "You don't have to cut and paste the query or go and Google it," he adds.

Splunk's software runs on Linux, Unix including Solaris, and Mac OS X. The company is working on a Windows product that it hopes to release later this year, according to Baum.

Splunk is making the announcement to coincide with the LinuxWorld conference in Boston this week. The start-up held its official company launch at last year's LinuxWorld in San Francisco in August. "The show has a very great audience, the kind of users who push us the hardest," Baum says.

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