Tableau is a Business Intelligence tool that is popularly used by data analysts and scientists alike. It is primarily used to draw up elegant data visualizations and extract actionable insights from them. Splunk is a data platform that drives outcomes across IT, Security, and DevOps. This is a platform that lets you analyze, monitor, investigate and act on any source, structure, insight, etc.
In this article, you will look at the setup process of a Tableau Splunk Integration. You will also get a glimpse of the basics of both these two tools, and the benefits you can reap by setting up a connection between Tableau and Splunk.
Table of Contents
What is Tableau?
Tableau is a BI Tool, that helps simplify data in an understandable format. With Tableau, any user can try their hand at creating customized dashboards due to its intuitive and easy-to-understand user interface. Tableau has been widely sought after by people from various sectors since it doesn’t require any programming skills or technical knowledge to operate.
The data analytics in Tableau can be classified into the following two types:
- Sharing Tools: The purpose of these products is to share the visualizations, dashboards, and reports created using the developer tools. Tableau Online, Tableau Server, and Tableau Reader are the sharing tools that are a part of the Tableau suite.
- Developer Tools: These tools are used for development. This refers to the process of creating Charts, Reports, Dashboards, and Visualizations. Tableau Desktop and Tableau Public fall under this category.
Once the data has been pulled from a Data Warehouse, it can be extracted to Tableau’s data engine, Tableau Desktop, or connected live. This is where the Data Analysts and Data Engineers come in to develop visualizations. Dashboards that are created can be shared with the users in a status file. To view these dashboards, users can leverage Tableau Reader.
You can use Tableau Server to publish the data from Tableau Desktop. Tableau Server supports governance, distribution, security model, collaboration, and automation features. It enables the users to have a better experience through easy access to the files from any location.
Here are a few applications of Tableau:
- Data Visualization
- Real-time Data Analysis
- Data Blending
- Data Collaboration
- Query Translation to Visualization
- Large-Scale Data Importing
- Creation of No-code Data Queries
- Management of Large Size Metadata
What is Splunk?
Splunk is software meant for processing and extraction of insights from Big Data. Splunk has the capability of reading Structured, Semi-Structured, or Unstructured data. It allows you to tag, search, and create dashboards and reports on the machine data after reading it.
With the advent of Big Data, Splunk has made the transition from being a simple tool for Log Analysis to a general tool for Unstructured Machine Data and Big Data. Splunk is available across three different categories:
- Splunk Cloud: The Cloud-Hosted platform that provides the same features as the Enterprise version is Splunk Cloud. You can avail of it through the AWS Cloud platform or from Splunk itself.
- Splunk Enterprise: It is mainly used by companies with an IT-driven business and a large IT infrastructure. Splunk Enterprise is instrumental in analyzing and gathering the data from websites, devices, sensors, applications, etc.
- Splunk Light: With Splunk Light, you can report, search and alert on all of the Log data in real-time from a single location. Compared to the other product categories, Splunk Light is limited in its features and functionalities.
Here are a few features of Splunk:
- Data Indexing: The data ingested by Splunk can be indexed for faster querying and searching on several conditions.
- Data Searching: You can search in Splunk using the indexed data to create specific metrics that help you track performance, identify patterns, and predict future trends.
- Data Ingestion: Splunk can ingest data in various formats like Unstructured Machine Data namely application and weblogs, XML, and JSON to name a few. The Unstructured Data ingested can then be modeled into a data structure catering to your needs.
- Data Alerts: You can use Splunk alerts to trigger RSS feeds and emails on discovering crucial information about the data being analyzed.
- Data Model: Once you index the data, you can model it into one or more datasets based on specialized domain knowledge. This simplifies the navigation for the end-users who might try analyzing the business cases without having an idea about the search processing language leveraged by Splunk.
- Data Dashboards: You can use Splunk Dashboards to display the search results through pivots, charts, and reports to name a few.
- Focused Business Resilience: Splunk gives you the tools to identify, predict, and solve problems in real-time. With intuitive visualizations, seamless collaboration, and top-notch investigative capabilities Splunk lets you answer questions across IT, DevOps, Security, and Business functions.
- Enterprise-Grade Support and Expertise: Splunk has an engaged community of passionate experts to answer any questions you may have. It also provides expert guidance with targeted response times, access to support portals, and phone contact to help you on your digitization journey.
Here are a few benefits of Splunk that make it an indispensable tool for companies looking to boost business growth:
- Forward-Looking: The flexible platform of Splunk and purpose-built solutions scale with your organization. With a conducive environment for top-notch services and partners, Splunk invests in long-term relationships with them to provide data-driven outcomes to steer your business growth.
- Accelerated Digitization: Splunk provides you with everything you need to kickstart your digital initiatives. Irrespective of where you are on your digitization journey, Splunk lets you innovate with purpose-built solutions driven by Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.
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Steps to Set up the Tableau Splunk Integration
The Tableau Splunk Integration offers a connector to the Splunk Enterprise, to expand the use of Machine Data throughout the organization. This integration allows Tableau users to tap into the Machine Data ingested in Splunk, and build interactive visualizations in Tableau’s trademark style. This Machine Data can now be blended with other Structured Data in your organization, like databases and spreadsheets, to provide answers to the questions that were previously unanswered.
This connector utilizes the ODBC driver built by Splunk. It provides access to Splunk Saved Searches, which can be transferred to Tableau for further exploration.
Before you begin with the Tableau Splunk integration process, these are a few prerequisites that you should take care of:
- User Name and Password to your account.
- Server URL, with the name of the database, in the case of multiple databases.
- Initial SQL statement to run every time the connection is established.
- Download a driver to establish the connection. If your workstation, doesn’t have it installed already, Tableau will display a message in the connection dialog box providing a link to the Driver Download page to guide you through the process.
Follow the steps given below to make the Tableau Splunk connection:
- Tableau Splunk Integration: Selecting the Splunk Connector in Tableau
- Tableau Splunk Integration: Configuring the Splunk Data Source in Tableau
- Tableau Splunk Integration: Configuring Splunk Table Joins in Tableau
1. Tableau Splunk Integration: Selecting the Splunk Connector in Tableau
Start Tableau and under Connect, choose Splunk. If you want to look at the complete list of data connections, under More select To a Server. Then carry out the following steps:
- Enter Server URL, and use HTTPS to establish a connection with Splunk data. If your server has multiple databases, give the name of the specific database on the server.
- Enter the Username and Password for your account.
- Choose an SQL statement from the Initial SQL option, which will run at the beginning of every connection, such as when you refresh an extract, open a workbook, sign in or publish to the Tableau server.
- Click the Sign In option. If the connection isn’t established, verify that your credentials are provided correctly. If this doesn’t work either, your computer is having some trouble locating the server. To resolve this, you can contact your database administrator or network administrator. This should establish the Tableau Splunk Integration.
2. Tableau Splunk Integration: Configuring the Splunk Data Source in Tableau
Go to the Data page, and carry out the following steps:
- Choose the default data source name at the top of the page, then provide a different data source name that can be used in Tableau. For instance, you can use a data source naming convention that helps others decide the data source they wish to connect with.
- Under the Saved Search section, enter the name of the Saved Search you are looking for in the text box, or you can choose a Saved Search from the list, then drag it to the top of the data source page.
- Choose a Sheet Tab to start the analysis process as a part of the Tableau Splunk Integration.
3. Tableau Splunk Integration: Configuring Splunk Table Joins in Tableau (Optional)
If you are unable to create a Join between Splunk tables, you can try combining Splunk data from multiple tables using one of the following methods:
- You can create an extract of each Splunk table first and then join these extracts together through a Cross-Database Join.
- You can also use Data Blending to combine the data once you set up a data source for each Splunk table you need.
- Splunk lets you set up a Saved Search to return all the tables you need, in a single search result. You can then connect to the saved search through Tableau Desktop.
Here is a short video that gives you a deeper insight into Tableau Splunk Integration.
This article explored how you can set up the Tableau Splunk integration. It also covered the basics of Splunk and Tableau before touching upon the concepts and steps of establishing the Tableau Splunk Integration.
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