Cisco Blogs

Tales of a Fourth-Grade Something: Big Data with Cisco & Splunk at .conf & Strata

- September 15, 2015 - 1 Comment

Someone at a meeting recently told me how cool it was that big data was finally moving out of the early adopter phase. He’s lucky I wasn’t drinking a beverage at the time, or he might have ended up wearing it.

I’m accused of being sort of a unicorn when it comes to the Big Data ecosystem, having worked with engineered Big Data environments since 2004 or so and Hadoop proper since 2009. And while some individual companies may be emerging from early adopter, it’s hard to say that Big Data itself is that new. You just have to look at the conference world to see how big this ecosystem has become, and how it’s shifted from theory and skunkworks projects and resume fodder, to technology solutions for new and metamorphic problems in business.

Some people will say “But surely there’s only been a competitive landscape for Hadoop distributions since 2012, right?” That’s true, but as I’ve said in 20 or more presentations in the past year, Big Data is more than Hadoop. And don’t call me Shirley.

One of the oldest companies driving Big Data software predates commercial Hadoop by a couple of years. In fact, they’re just about old enough to go into fourth grade (with apologies to Judy Blume for my title on this post). And you still have time to join Splunk (and Cisco) for their seventh annual worldwide user conference the week of September 21, 2015.

Buttercup at the .conf Search Party courtesy Lily Wai (@lgwai)

Buttercup at .conf Search Party via Lily Wai (@lgwai)


.conf is Splunk’s annual worldwide user conference, attended by thousands of customers and partners and users of Splunk’s suite of products.

Cisco has been attending, and presenting, for a while now, and 2015 is no exception. We will have a booth in the expo at .conf 2015, and you can join members of the Cisco team at two IT Operations breakout sessions.

  • Thursday, September 24, 11:15am: Cisco and Splunk: Under the Hood of Cisco IT (with Robert Novak and Cisco IT’s George Lancaster)

Learn how Cisco IT uses Splunk software to gain deep operational visibility into applications, accelerate problem resolution, and drive better business outcomes.

  • Thursday, September 24, 1:15pm: Event-Driven SDN with Splunk and Cisco’s Open SDN Controller (with Steven Carter and Friea Berg)

This session presents and demonstrates a system using Splunk and the Cisco Open SDN Controller for steering large data flows around firewalls and other devices that could disturb their performance while actively blocking threats.

And while they’re not Cisco-focused per se, I highly recommend checking out:

  • Tuesday, September 22, 11:00am: Architecting and Sizing Your Splunk Deployment (with Simeon Yep and Karandeep Bains of Splunk)

Learn how to build out your Splunk deployment. Learn about specific Splunk roles and how they are applied in practice, as well as the process for building/expanding a Splunk installation.

  • Tuesday, September 22, 4:15pm: Harnessing Performance and Scalability in the Next Version of Splunk (with Sourav Pal and Abhinav Nekkanti of Splunk)
In customer sites, we often see more than 24 cores on indexer machines. How can we ensure that the Splunk indexer is making the most of the resources available on these servers?

(I’m hoping for a good seat on the 4:15 session in particular.)

There will be the usual new product and release announcements; last year they announced clustered search heads, and this year promises to have even more impressive advancements in Splunk software. There’s also the annual Search Party celebration, complete with absurdly cool CEO Godfrey Sullivan and absurdly large Buttercup (Splunk’s mascot) in attendance.

grow the value

If you’re in the Big Data world, there’s no surprise to the spectacle that is Strata+Hadoop World. You should still be able to register at this link, and use the code Cisco20 for a 20% discount. Getting a hotel room within 10 miles of the venue, well, you may need a nice Spark cluster to track that down. Preferably running on Cisco UCS of course.

Cisco will be out in force at this event, with a theatre in our booth featuring Cisco and partner presentations throughout the event.

Some highlights to keep an eye out for:

  • Wednesday, September 30, 9:40am: Unleashing the Power of Big Data Today (lightning keynote with Jim McHugh)

IoE, IoT, and big data – Let’s quickly look at these market and technology dynamics, and see how they are each in their own way ’democratizing’ data access and analysis, resulting in new businesses, technologies, and improved community solutions throughout the world.

  • Wednesday, September 30, 11:20am: Where do we go from here? Lessons and Landmarks from Real-World Cisco UCS Big Data Deployments (with Robert Novak)

Big Data deployments are not a cookie-cutter one-size-fits-all effort. Cisco’s Robert Novak will present real-world deployment stories and use cases for Big Data on Cisco UCS.

The power of unification across the software and hardware layers, and how this is completely upending the price-to-performance ratio of enterprise big data computing.

  • Wednesday, September 30, 3:30pm: Real World Big Data Architecture: Splunk and Hadoop on UCS (with Raanan Dagan of Splunk, in the Cisco Theatre, Booth 425)

The technical elements and architecture that is required to combine real-time data with historical data and transactional data, featuring Splunk, Hunk, and Splunk apps on Cisco UCS.


Someone once said that if a blog post doesn’t require at least three apologies, it’s pretty bland. You read it here first. So with apologies to Ellen Conford, another voice from my youth, I look forward to meeting many of you over the next couple of weeks in Las Vegas and New York City.

What are you most looking forward to at these events? Chime in on the comments section below, and safe travels everyone!

Special bonus: At Splunk’s .conf, our booth will be featuring the Cisco Security Suite story and an attack chain demo. Dennis Bourg’s recording from last year should give you a taste for what we’ll be talking about.


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  1. I very well enjoyed this article; it was very informative it taught me a lot about cisco and it was so ungodly boring it made me bash my head against the wall several thousands of times i had to kill 54 people to get it out of my head please never do this again or i will kill my self