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SplunkBase Brings IT Troubleshooting Wiki to the Masses 128

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the room-full-of-support-techs-is-usually-a-bad-thing dept.
OSS_ilation writes "IT troubleshooting firm Splunk is using LinuxWorld Boston as a platform to formally launch Splunk Base, a global wiki that will offer IT pros a free-of-charge venue to exchange troubleshooting information, tools and fixes. Splunk is promising that the wiki is completely vendor neutral, and can be compared to Wikipedia, the online open encyclopedia that is regulated and updated by the community-at-large. Users don't even have to have a copy of Splunk Professional to use it. From the article: 'If you believe the research from firms like Framingham, Mass.-based IDC, then Splunk Base has arrived at a key moment. According to IDC, companies will spend more than $100 billion this year on managing the world's data centers. And with virtualization quickly becoming an IT buzzword in 2006, the complexity and costs could increase.'"
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SplunkBase Brings IT Troubleshooting Wiki to the Masses

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  • splunk base (Score:4, Funny)

    by Mantorp (142371) * <mantorp 'funny A' gmail.com> on Monday April 03, 2006 @12:03PM (#15051398) Homepage Journal
    quite possibly the worst name ever
  • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by invisik (227250) on Monday April 03, 2006 @12:07PM (#15051433) Homepage
    All your splunk base belong to us!

    Eww....

    -m
  • how long until (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Monday April 03, 2006 @12:07PM (#15051437)
    How long until the solution to all of the problems is "Reboot the computer"?
    • I wish they were all that simple.
    • How long until the solution to all of the problems is "Reboot the computer"?

      Only if you use Microsoft Windows ;-) However, a planned rebooting is a good thing to do after you've made configuration changes, just to make sure that the machine will boot after a power outage. Shit happens.

    • I ALWAYS reboot (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ylikone (589264)
      Whenever I've done tech support for someone, even after fixing the problem and if it nothing to do with rebooting, I will reboot the system. Just so I don't get a call the next day "i turned the computer on this morning and it wasn't working again". Before I leave, I show the client/customer that the machine does in fact work even after a reboot.
    • How long until the solution to all of the problems is "Reboot the computer"?

      RTFA - it says it's vendor neutral, not MS only. :)
    • Re:how long until (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ZSpade (812879)
      I'm assuming never, as it seems that as things progress we're seeing less of a need to reboot. In windows 9x/me you pretty much had to restart after making *ANY* changes. If you installed a porogram, reboot. If you changed a minor network setting, reboot. If things started getting slow, reboot! The network doesn't work? REBOOT!!!

      Now in XP however if the network stops working a reboot seldom fixes it. When you install programs, with the exception of Windows updates and anti-viruses, you need not reboot. Th
  • by StevenMaurer (115071) on Monday April 03, 2006 @12:09PM (#15051453) Homepage
    I'm glad these people have suddenly gotten the idea that there is a lot of knowledge in the global community that can be shared, but seriously, how is this better than Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], Expert's Exchange [experts-exchange.com], or plain old Google [google.com]?
    What does this tool offer that's better in any way?
    Move along. There's nothing to see.
    • Expert's Exchange? Give me a break. Most of their solutions require a login and the page is so filled with ads that it's not worth your time.

      Google, as great as it is with other shit, usually returns Expert Exchange as the first couple of hits on any search for help. Boo.

      I welcome any open and free wiki competitor to EE.
      • Expert's Exchange? Give me a break. Most of their solutions require a login and the page is so filled with ads that it's not worth your time.

        I guess you weren't of the ones who simply scrolled down to see the answer.

        See:

        [Question]

        [lame subscription button]

        [ads]

        [more ads]

        [answers here, doh :P ]
        • I've tried to use ExEx about two dozen times, and never has my answer been available without a subscription.
        • I did a simple and quick test based on your incorrect statement:

          Simple Google Search [google.com] for "access VB experts exchange"

          I got this [experts-exchange.com] result first from Google.

          I then clicked the first link on the result (under Experts Exchange) and was given this [experts-exchange.com] gem.

          Right there, see that BIG orange circle with, "View Solution" in the middle? What does it link to? Yeah, register [experts-exchange.com].

          Nice troll though!
          • by Matje (183300) on Monday April 03, 2006 @02:04PM (#15052492)
            Right there, see that BIG orange circle with, "View Solution" in the middle? What does it link to? Yeah, register.

            Nice troll though!


            "View Solution" would be what the OP called [lame subscription button].
            If you had bothered to read the OP you would have scrolled down past the lame View Solution button. There you will find all answers to the question. I've just checked it for the link you gave and they are there.

            Nice troll though!
            • Or not:

              one [geostud.org]
              two [geostud.org]
              three [geostud.org]

              Looks like you are either registered or have some funky access that I do not. Either way, EE still sucks. Even if I *could* see it, e-mailing some guy for the answers isn't what I consider acceptable.
          • Yeah, and wouldn't you know it, when you scroll down on the page, you come across a posting about half way down that says: Accepted Answer from JDettman Date: 12/29/2005 07:50AM PST Grade: A Accepted Answer I have a search written in Access for MDB's. Finds all and gives you some stats on each. Drop me an e-mail at "jimdettman@earthlink.net" and I'll send it along. Should be a pretty good start for what your looking to do and easily modifiable to do the spreadsheets. You also could pull it into
          • and had you scrolled down, you would have seen the answers.

            No really! No clicking involved! :)
        • Experts exchange is a scam. Scrolling down has never worked for me. If I have to register I just look elsewhere.

          /Bitter 'cause I'm at work.
      • by Kozz (7764)
        On the contrary, I've found many of the EE pages to be useful. The catch is that EE sends cookies which tally your number of views on a particular day (my best guess), and if you've viewed too many, it tells you to subscribe.

        If I find a question that I want the answer to, I'll make note of the submittor name, keywords, and then do a google search on those to bring up the most helpful page on EE. I clear all my EE cookies (now I've not been to their site yet today) and voila, I can view the proposed soluti
        • I'd love a Firefox extension that lets you quickly bring up a list of cookies applicable only to the domain of the currently-viewed page, so I can edit/delete them.

          There's a facility for doing this in Chris Pederick's excellent Web Developer extension. [chrispederick.com] It lets you view cookies for where you currently are by both domain and path, clear them, add them, disable cookies from third-party domains like advertisers, etc.

          If you don't want the whole Web Developer toolbar (which may have a lot of stuff you

        • Or you could block cookies for that domain.

          Or you -could- just view the google cache.

          Brilliant! :)
           
      • I agree. experts-exchange.com is pretty much useless. They would probably be more useful if their site didn't have the '-' in it,... ;-)

      • by MrNougat (927651) <ckratsch@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Monday April 03, 2006 @02:50PM (#15052802)
        Note that when you open an Experts Exchange page without logging in, a popup ad window appears. If you leave that window open behind your question page, you can scroll down to the answers. If you close that window, the question page excludes the answers from your view.

        I will say that the unregistered EE is heavy on the advertising, and they make it fairly difficult to register for a free account [experts-exchange.com]. This signs you up as an "expert," although any registered user, paid or not, can answer questions.

        You get a limited number of points per month to ask questions with, and need to earn 10,000 expert points (answer a question for 500 points with an 'A' grade, and you get 2000 expert points) to get free premium membership, then 3000 pts/mo to maintain that membership. If you are knowledgeable about anything tech, you can do it easy.

        The tech forums are extremely well moderated, and the caliber of people who answer questions is fairly high.
      • I can see a huge benefit to having a large searchable database of IT issues with solutions. The Wiki style works well if you can keep the detractors to a minimum. Probably this is going to be the one hurdle to making the site a success (well, besides the name, of course)

        I second the opinion that Expert's Exchange is a real pain. Giving the hint of a solution to what might be your problem but requiring registration to find out if it is right or even applies. I can see no reason to register for results vi
    • by Nimey (114278) on Monday April 03, 2006 @12:18PM (#15051550) Homepage Journal
      This covers an area inappropriate for Wikipedia, and Experts Exchange has a yearly fee. Google is nice, but there are some things that are difficult to find on it.

      Move along. There's nothing to see.


      Hardly. This looks promising.
    • how is this better than... Expert's Exchange

      For the noob, Expert's Exchange isn't free. You have to either answer questions to get awarded points, or buy them outright. It started off free, but then progressed to its current model.
    • Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, so asking/posting a bunch of technical questions and fixes will get you blocked quickly.

      Expert's Exchange requires you to scroll three screens past advertisements from the actual question to the answers (when they're actually available without registering, that is). Not to mention the disgusting IntelliTXT ads they insert into the actual text...

      Google can be frustrating, especaially if your search terms center around things like "C++".

      Thus, I'm open to better ways of doing things, and I'll be looking at this to see if it is one.
    • Well...

      Wikipedia: is an encyclopedia, not a help forum for computer problems.
      Expert's Exchange: just plain sucks.
      Google: is a good resource, but does not allow collaboration and two-way communication.
    • What does this tool offer that's better in any way?

      Google, for one, has some issues that make it a very poor resource for looking up materials relating to coding.

      One of Google's biggest weaknesses is that the Web is littered with sites that have tons of old information mixed in with new info. The longer they've been around, and the more content they have, the higher their Page Rank. So a site that has buckets of info from seven years ago can show up at the top of a search. Some of this can be cured b

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 03, 2006 @12:12PM (#15051474)
    Not only a bad name, they are a very frequent advertiser here on Slashdot which should have been mentioned.
    Have a look at their demo - I was not impressed. Plenty of tools do the same thing. Both Open Source and proprietary.
    A troubleshooting Wiki would be nice, though. Give ExpertsExchange some competition when it comes to IT peer questions and answers.
    • Not only a bad name,

      It's not that bad, probably a play on the word 'spelunk', cave exploring. Not an inappropriate reference...

      they are a very frequent advertiser here on Slashdot which should have been mentioned.

      Why? Unless you've been browsing /. with a text reader for the past 6 months, it's obvious.

      Plenty of tools do the same thing. Both Open Source and proprietary.

      Care to list a few of the better ones? I'm in dire need of just such a tool right now.

      Give ExpertsExchange some competi
      • they are a very frequent advertiser here on Slashdot which should have been mentioned.

        Why? Unless you've been browsing /. with a text reader for the past 6 months, it's obvious.


        Huh? I've been reading /. with mozilla, and I've never noticed their name.

        Of course, it may have something to do with the fact that I told mozilla to ignore all images from slashdot.org. I do occasionally try other browsers, but I keep coming back to the ones that can turn off images on a per-site basis.

        So much for the effectivene
  • by ylikone (589264)
  • Great Concept (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wiz31337 (154231) * on Monday April 03, 2006 @12:13PM (#15051499)
    This is a great concept.

    Being an IT professional, it is hard to track down solutions to difficult problems using Google alone. If you Google a problem, odds are you are going to wind up finding a message board where someone has the same issue, but no solution has been posted.
    • What is the license on the contributed material going to be?

      How does a person know, when they're contributing, that Splunk isn't going to take the site's content at some point down the road, and turn it into some steaming pile of ads and subscription fees like Experts Exchange?

      If it's a wiki, it's difficult to separate individual contributions, so a Slashdot-style "Comments are owned by the Poster" probably wouldn't work. The actual work has to be owned by somebody, and frankly I don't know Splunk from Adam and I'd certainly question whether I wanted to spend a lot of time writing an article if at some point it might just become part of their "Premium Membership" service, or if they won't let other people mirror it as a backup in case they decide that being 'community oriented' isn't paying the bills in the way they thought it would.
    • So... nothing will get approved for posting unless it has a solution?
  • Wow, finally a place on the Internet where someone can go and find technical information. Almost makes you want to slap yourself for not thinking of it first eh?
  • traffic LEAK... (Score:3, Informative)

    by sjg (957424) on Monday April 03, 2006 @12:15PM (#15051515) Homepage
    If I buy an advertisement on here will that also entitle me to stories that will directly contribute to my bottom line? I'm not sure the Slashdot readership appreciates these tactics.
    • Yes. Slashdot is becoming more and more like the traditional media every day (if you don't think this kind of stuff goes on with traditional media you are naive.) Most papers/news agencies have set pricing for press releases, which is why they're called press releases.

      What's the point of a press release if none of the press do anything with it? This product is marketed at the kind of people who read slashdot, and Splunk looks like it might be useful. Since when did everything useful have to be free?
  • by trazom28 (134909) on Monday April 03, 2006 @12:15PM (#15051516)
    In my field (desktop support) there's good and bad techs..and some are REALLY bad. They know a script of things to ask, but anything outside that and they are totally lost.. they can't work "out of the box" to coin the phrase.

    I've also worked with some excellent techs that I've tried to learn from as much as possible, and I try to emulate as I work with customers. These are the ones that see a problem and dig in and try and solve it. Yeah, it takes time but the knowledge base built up can be helpful.

    So.. on a database like this.. who's to watch the submissions to select if it's a real tested and found solution, versus something else that doesn't really work? And who's to say the solution provided is from an actual PC tech and not an armchair one? If I had a dime for every time a "friend that knows lots about computers" screws one up..

    • I don't think it will be much of an issue. If I were to read something on there that had a chance to harm a system, I wouldn't use that particular advice. It's much like using Google to find an answer to a problem; there is always a chance someone who doesn't know anything about the topic gives an answer that they once heard from a "friend that knows lots about computers." It's always a crap shoot, as a technician you just need to be able to distinguish the good from the bad.
  • by algae (2196) on Monday April 03, 2006 @12:15PM (#15051519)
    ...is the actual address of the IT wiki in question. How do I get to this Splunk Base? (Splunk base is IMO the worst name of any Web2.0 company ever. Sounds like a euphemism for... well anyway...)

    So come on editors, it's the announcement for the release of a new wiki, which despite the $DIETY-awful name, might be a useful resource. How about, you know, linking to it? I hear the web is good for that.
  • by tinkertim (918832) * on Monday April 03, 2006 @12:19PM (#15051551) Homepage
    Or the biggest publically edit-able clusterfuck ever launched. I would hope that it is used as intended and doesn't become an ego whirlpool, or a 'clique' club where only the edits of the elite favorites seem to be left in place.

    I would love (and avidly use) such a beast with the capabilities they are talking about. If I am not mistaken, I could search for something like

    VT Enabled Xen Windows 2003 Server

    And get what I need out of it quickly. I've also got a laundry list of very odd cryptic errors in openSSI I'd love to find the causes of .. which nobody else seems to have ever happend upon.

    Looks like experts exchange is about to be selling cheap ad space :) I just really, *really* hope it stays as community focused as they say it will.

  • How long... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by squidguy (846256)
    ...before some non-open source software vendor comes along and gets a court order to shut this down or other such injunction / legal action claiming release of proprietary information?
  • Already exists (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Intron (870560) on Monday April 03, 2006 @12:27PM (#15051629)
    Its called "usenet"
    • by ylikone (589264)
      When looking for solutions to an IT problem, usenet is the last option for me. I go to manufacturers public web forums (almost everybody has their own web forums now). I find usenet to be almost useless for anything except porn, warez and political flame wars.
      • In my experience, it all depends on the particular tech you're working with. I've found a lot of useful information for various *nix flavors and Cisco kit. A lot less useful information for Microsoft and other more proprietary solutions.

        I suspect it has something to do with the cultures involved.
        • Personally I find Usenet great for MS solutions. I'm a programmer by trade and Usenet has been a great help over the years (decades...) for VB, MS SQL, C, FoxPro and loads of MS based stuff. And thanks to Google (and Deja before that) we have an enormous library of IT troubleshooting tips.
    • For many of the same reasons the sibling post outlines, it should be renamed "usednet".
  • by anomaly (15035) <tom.cooper3@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday April 03, 2006 @12:31PM (#15051656)
    I have looked at splunk. I've got a copy of their eval of professional installed, and it's interesting. There are a lot of things that they do well. Marketing isn't one of them, but the underlying technology is pretty cool.

    Here's where they shine: finding data lost in a log file. Picture if you will a log file with free-form text in parts and XML in other parts. With no training about what the log looked like, their tool could do a great job of identifying patterns in the free-form text - essentially blocks or "records" of data there, and pulling out the XML sections.

    You can search for patterns in the data, and splunk will help identify them for you. The data import and pattern-matching parts of their code are platform agnostic. There are no adapters to buy, and no "training" to find useful data patterns. I think that they are doing a good job on the technologyside of things, and it's definitely worth the time to look at this tool.

    Please note: I have no affiliation with Splunk. I'm not even one of their customers. I have no reason to promote their product. I've looked at it and they do a good job of finding obscure data.

    Respectfully,
    Anomaly
  • by moochfish (822730) on Monday April 03, 2006 @12:35PM (#15051692)
    Well, I will admit I didn't install it, but I did browse around and take a tour.

    This is nothing like wikipedia. It is a log file aggregator. It's a program that transmits and indexes log files on your UNIX/LINUX machine(s). How is that like wikipedia in the slightest? Granted, users can comment on log entries and create a knowledge base, but that doesn't make it wikipedia at all.

    I think they've made a cool tool here. I can see it being useful. But the fact that they are targeting businesses and yet it trasmits all log data to a remote location will make most businesses uneasy. If the application could be setup to keep all data internal, this could be a neat tool for system administrators. But in its current form, it's only really good for hobbyists and other people who don't mind having the guts of their servers on the web ready to be searched by strangers.
    • I'll second this. By their description I was expecting an encyclopedia of IT knowledge, where you could look up any tool, for instance, to find out its parameters and clever uses. Somewhere that people can post all the cool stuff that you normally have to buy a Tips and Traps book to get to, or be on the development team. Somewhere that I can type in an executable name from my Windows Services window and find out what it does, if it's necessary, and most importantly how to get rid of it. Something with

      • By their description I was expecting an encyclopedia of IT knowledge, where you could look up any tool, for instance, to find out its parameters and clever uses. Somewhere that people can post all the cool stuff that you normally have to buy a Tips and Traps book to get to, or be on the development team. Somewhere that I can type in an executable name from my Windows Services window and find out what it does, if it's necessary, and most importantly how to get rid of it. Something with concrete tuning sugge
    • Did you look at it?

      It's more like the Google search appliance. It simply indexes your log files locally allowing you to search through them locally. The log files are never sent to splunk. When you need to look up what a possible logged error means, and how to solve it, it looks it up using fingerprints, with machine name and times stripped out. No different than searching for the same error using Google or Usenet. I can see this as being extremely useful since you don't have to sift through endless garbage
    • I think you are confusing plain old "Splunk" with "Splunk Base" - they are two different things. Both offered by the same people, but different none the less.

      http://www.splunk.com/ [splunk.com]
    • by fbg111 (529550) on Monday April 03, 2006 @06:42PM (#15054311)
      Splunk != Splunk Base

      Splunk = the log file aggregator you looked at, that you have to pay for, and is not a wiki.
      Splunk Base = the free wiki that the /. article is about, that happens to be the brainchild of Splunk.

      PS - Splunk is not intended for displaying your logfiles to the world, it is only intended to provide a nicer, Ajax-based website interface for grepping your log files. Ideally it will be used only on the corporate intranet, not the public internet. If SysAdmins or Developers need access to it from outside the internet, they can VPN into the intranet and access it that way. There's no reason to make this available publicly through the firewall.
  • spunk base? (Score:2, Funny)

    by keyrat rafa (856668)
    sounds like it needs a .xxx domain.
  • homepage title (Score:1, Informative)

    by know1 (854868)
    Have You Tried Turning It Off And Then Back On Again
  • Google groups (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday April 03, 2006 @12:46PM (#15051813) Homepage
    I currently use google groups when I want to find out the answer to a technical problem. Kind of hard to beat every usenet post ever written. I don't know how i'd get by without it.
  • Splunk is promising that the wiki is completely vendor neutral, and can be compared to Wikipedia,
    And from my POV, this isn't a point in it's favor.

    Information that is at best incorrect or misleading, and at worst outright wrong lingers for months in the 'pedia, as do articles that are incomplete. Hardly what I want in a tech resource.

  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Monday April 03, 2006 @01:01PM (#15051947)
    As long as it is as easy to use, ad-free and has the clean look of wikipedia, I am all for it.

    Possible suggestions for new SplunkBase names:

    DeadPCBase
    FixItYerself
    FindOutWTFHappened
    YouCanDoIT
    WherestheNEkey
    IsThisThingOn
    MyPuterBroke
    DamnYouBillGates
  • It was only a few weeks ago that Nagios announced that they'd be working with the Splunk project. Details are here [nagios.org].
  • by dinomite (177112)
    I think this needs to be summarized because I was thoroughly confused by reading the Slashdot blurb and the linked article didn't help much.

    Splunk is a log aggregation server that classifies and tags events found in your logs making it easy to grep through them.
    SplunkBase is an extension of Splunk, a web based service that you can lookup events (linked from the Splunk application) and (perhaps) get more information about them.
  • Often times, you need other information about a log error to be able to correctly troubleshoot. Simply "MYSQL could not establish a socket connection... etc" is not enough to troubleshoot. You need to know the *context* of how it happened, system specs, history, or even the OS. Granted their logs could include SOME of this, but a log parser can't find context. How can users expect to find answers to some of the more complex questions this software is promising to answer if the best it does is allow users to
  • Splunk? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Stavr0 (35032)
    That's the sound a spammer makes when he hits the spamassassin filter.
  • the banner ad flashing at me on the top of the Slashdot homepage is... Splunk. {sigh}

  • Poor name (Score:1, Redundant)

    by cptgrudge (177113)
    Kinda reminds me of "spelunking". Going into a cave? A dark, imposing, unknown world?

    Your average person would probably not be doing that willingly, even with a guide.

  • I keep forgetting to check that first....
  • that with all the idiots out there, Splunk will be slashdotted 24/7.

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