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Q&A - Splunk's Marc Olesen: 'Splunking Splunk'

Q&A - Splunk's Marc Olesen: 'Splunking Splunk'

New Cloud boss discusses the Australian rollout so far, and what exactly splunking Splunk means.

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Marc Olesen, SVP and GM Splunk Cloud Solutions

Marc Olesen, SVP and GM Splunk Cloud Solutions

Mark Olesen, Splunk’s SVP and GM of its newly launched Cloud service, stopped to chat with ARN about how the Big Data and business analytics company has made the transition. Although Splunk Cloud launched in the US/Canada October 2013, it only recently launched in Australia in April.

Allan Swann: What has been the local response in the market to the launch of Splunk Cloud?

Mark Olesen: We’ve been thrilled with the progress and the growth of the business – really excited about the demand we’re seeing in the marketplace. Our customers in APAC, and specifically ANZ, have really pulled us in and taken it on board. We’re excited about where its going.

We are seeing specific verticals in Australia that are far ahead of the US and Canada – such as financial services.

AS: With a plethora of Cloud platforms, apps and services, available in the market, why should the Australian channel choose Splunk?

MO: We focus on four main areas with Spunk Cloud – it’s instant, it’s secure, it’s reliable and it’s hybrid.

It’s live now, so if you’re an existing Splunk Enterprise customer, you can talk to your partners about Splunk Cloud. It doesn’t require any new hardware installs. It’s the world’s first pure hybrid solution.

In terms of security – no customer’s data can ever be comingled with another customers data. We are also SOC Type 2 certified. Our customers in Australia have been really excited about that part of it especially.

Finally – we have 100 per cent uptime guarantee in our solutions – we are the only company that has that guarantee.

AS: That’s quite a claim – how can you guarantee 100 per cent uptime?

MO: Firstly, no one customer’s activity could ever compromise the performance or reliability of another customer’s data.

We run across multiple availability zones within AWS – and within zones for redundancy. Customers can decide which of the nine regions they want to run from and we guarantee that data will never leave that region.

We drink our own champagne, as they say – we’re 'splunking' Splunk. Splunk is providing that visibility to the operations of our customers systems, we have all the monitoring and alerting set up for the workflow.

So between the availability zones, between using Splunk on Splunk, and the dedicated environment, we’re delivering our 100 per cent uptime.

AS: So AWS remains the focus for Splunk Cloud? Why did you choose them?

MO: We are standardised on AWS, they’re certainly the strongest player in the Cloud market. Gartner says that AWS is five times the size of its next 14 competitors combined. So a powerful player, and we have a very strategic partnership with them. They are a cookie cutter – so it's very easy for us to scale out across the regions.

AS: You mentioned that you consider Splunk Cloud to be the first true hybrid solution – please explain that further… Plenty of other vendors claim the same.

MO: It’s important to remember that Splunk Cloud is Splunk Enterprise, so what customers are running on premises is the same as in the Cloud. So we can deliver a true hybrid solution - the only one in the marketplace.

The user doesn’t need to know where the data is being stored or indexed. It creates that seamless experience. You just get that additional capacity if you need it, no new hardware needed. For some customers, they just can't get any scale out of their own datacentre, or their internal infrastructure is too slow.

AS: Once customers have moved their data to your Cloud, what are the advantages in your traditional lines of business – Big Data analytics?

MO: Look at log data in the Cloud, say with Salesforce.com. They are now making it available to their customers - but customers have no way to utilise that data. We now have Cloud-based apps that can do that. They automate the ingestion, and then automatically produce the auditing and reporting. Splunk now has over 600 apps in our ecosystem.

These produce real economic benefits – we’re already seeing a seminal shift around this. Customers want to analyse data, research data, visualise data, detect anomalies etc. The actual obtaining, running and maintaining of the software itself is less of a priority. It’s a service.

AS: So you’re targeting the smaller end of the market?

MO: Look, every single customer today has a Cloud strategy. You need to be able to prove to your customers that it will perform as well as it does on premise, and that it will be as secure as on premise. Splunk is the enabler and the confidence builder to do that – it doesn’t matter what size your business is.

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