Even though cloud makes provisioning of IT resources just a click away, it is only the beginning of the game. Cloud infrastructure is not a miracle pill that completely eliminates any need for IT. The typical IT management problems of the traditional computing world is carried forward to the cloud based world too. The biggest advantage from the cloud comes in the rapid provisioning and deprovisioning of resources without any need to build capacity in advance. Traditional Infrastructure management vendors are jumping in to lend a hand to manage cloud based infrastructure. One such vendor is Splunk and, recently, the poster boy of PaaS, Heroku (Previous Cloud Ave coverage of Heroku here), selected them to monitor their infrastructure.

The Problem:
IT management is a tough problem and there are many tools to handle different aspects of IT from management to monitoring to security. However, it gets messy in large organizations even with some of the advanced tools available in the industry. It becomes really difficult to identify the root cause of the problem and, at times, makes even compliance difficult. The biggest reason for the trouble is that different tools used by the IT creates silos and there is no easy way to integrate these tools. IT data living in silos makes IT management cumbersome causing headaches to the managers.
Splunk Solution:
Splunk took a very interesting approach to solving the IT problem. They borrowed Google’s playbook in the consumer web space. Google indexes webpages from all over the web and index these pages to offer a simple unified interface to search and consume information. In the absence of search engines like Google, the information in these webpages will be in silos making access cumbersome and, in some cases, even inaccessible. By indexing the whole web and with some intelligent algorithms to offer relevant information to the users, Google had made the consumption totally painless. Splunk too similar approach to IT data and by indexing the data generated by any application, server or network device running across technical, functional and geographic IT silos and letting IT instantly search, alert and report on it. Splunk can index any data generated by the machines be it physical, virtual or cloud. 
With Splunk technology, it is easy for system admins, network engineers or compliance analysts to find the relevant information needed for their job. For example, system admins can easily find an outage and rectify it. It can happen in minutes rather than hours, saving considerable time and money for the companies. System admins can search through many different parameters (like for eg: IP address) to gain valuable insight into the dynamics of their infrastructure. Splunk can scale across datacenters making the IT management of the entire organization seamless.
Bottom Line:
The religious zeal of cloud enthusiasts have lead to an impression among the users that cloud infrastructure will be available 100% of the time. This is technically not feasible but the cloud providers can use smart management and monitoring techniques to maximize the uptime. Especially, the platform services like Heroku face high expectations from their customers because their customers are real businesses and any downtime will lead to loss of revenue. Solutions like Splunk neatly fits the need for such cloud providers with high expectations from their customers.
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Krishnan Subramanian

Krish dons several avatars including entrepreneur in exile, analyst cum researcher, technology evangelist, blogger, ex-physicist, social/political commentator, etc.. My main focus is research and analysis on various high impact topics in the fields of Open Source, Cloud Computing and the interface between them. I also evangelize Open Source and Cloud Computing in various media outlets, blogs and other public forums. I offer strategic advise to both Cloud Computing and Open Source providers and, also, help other companies take advantage of Open Source and Cloud Computing. In my opinion, Open Source commoditized software and Cloud Computing commoditized computing resources. A combination of these two developments offers a strong competitive advantage to companies of all sizes and shapes. Due to various factors, including fear, the adoption of both Open Source and Cloud Computing are relatively slow in the business sector. So, I take it upon myself to clear any confusion in this regard and educate, enrich and advise users/customers to take advantage of the benefits offered by these technologies. I am also a managing partner in two consulting companies based in India. I blog about Open Source topics at http://open.krishworld.com and Cloud Computing related topics at http://www.cloudave.com.