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Cisco Splunk Explained: Uses, Products, and Certifications

Cisco Splunk Explained - Uses, Products, and Certifications

Cisco Splunk is well-known for its powerful ability to process and analyze large datasets. This is an invaluable tool for businesses that want actionable insights from their data. This platform helps improve operations and security with advanced data analytics. Professionals and organizations can improve their data management practices by exploring Splunk’s uses, products, and certification paths.

Further, understanding what Cisco Splunk offers is essential for those interested in using technology to gain a competitive edge. This article provides a comprehensive look at how Splunk works, including its key products and the certification process. Whether you are a data specialist looking to upgrade your skills or a business that wants to optimize your data solutions, this guide will cover Cisco Splunk’s capabilities and show how its applications can transform data-handling processes in various industries.

What is Splunk?

What is Splunk

Splunk helps us analyze a large amount of data in one central location. It is software or a powerful platform for monitoring and analyzing machine-generated data. Splunk converts machine-generated data into meaningful and human-readable logs in real-time.

Cisco Splunk is also an SIEM tool and an analytics tool for investigating and accessing potential threats by injecting event logs from multiple sources. Users can also refer to the Splunk tool as a database with a specific language called SPL (Search Processing Language).

What is the Use of Cisco Splunk?

Suppose an organization has thousands of servers, and multiple applications are running on those servers. Cisco Splunk monitors all these applications and servers. It analyzes whether those applications are running perfectly or not. It checks if there is an error. If any error occurs in this application or server, then Splunk sends a notification to the administrator or the user. For example, if any server went down, an application was not running, or there was a storage error, Splunk would notify the administrator or the user.

What are the Cisco Splunk Products?

Cisco Splunk Products

Cisco Splunk has three products:

  • The first product of Cisco Splunk is the Splunk Enterprise. Splunk Enterprise is for mid and large-size organizations.
  • The second one is Splunk Cloud. Splunk Cloud has the same functionality as an enterprise version, but it is hosted on the cloud, which is AWS and Google Cloud.
  • The third Cisco Splunk product is Splunk Lite. Splunk Lite is a free version with limited functionality. It is for small organizations.

Companies may select any of them depending on the organization’s size.

Splunk Architecture

There are three main components in Splunk.

  • Forwarder
  • Indexer
  • Search head

Forwarder is small software that IT administrators install on endpoints like servers, computers, and systems. It acts as an agent, running in the background to perform specific tasks. These agents collect the logs from the endpoint and send them to the indexers.


Splunk has two types of forwarders.

  • Universal forwarder: The universal forwarder just collects the data from the endpoints and sends it directly to the indexer. It does not parse or index the data. A universal forwarder collects the raw data and sends it directly to the indexer. The indexer is then responsible for parsing, indexing, and saving the data.
  • Heavy forwarder: A heavy forwarder acts as a middleman, collecting data from endpoints, parsing it (making sense of the format), and indexing it locally. This pre-processed data is then sent to the indexer, which requires minimal work on its end.


If logs are received from the universal forwarder, the indexer transforms them into events. If it receives data from the universal forwarder, the indexer must complete the task. The universal forwarder only collects the data, collects the logs, and sends them to the indexer. After parsing the data, the indexer stores it on the disk and adds it to the index, which enables us to search.

Search Head

The search head provides a user interface that the user can use to interact with Splunk. It allows users to search and query the Splunk data with the indexer to gain access to the specific data they request. That means Splunk will provide the complete data, whatever users have written in the query. It searches from that, extracts the data from the indexer based on our query, and then shows us the data in the dashboard and reports.

Cisco Splunk Certifications

Cisco Splunk Certifications

Initially, somewhere between 2013 and 2015, around 8 to 9 years ago, Cisco Splunk had only 5 certifications:

  • Core user
  • Power user
  • Admin
  • Architect
  • Developer

Currently, the certifications have been updated, and Cisco Splunk offers 12 certifications.

Splunk Core Certified User

When you first start preparing for Splunk certification, you should focus on becoming a Splunk Core certified user. It may take an average user 1 or 2 months to pass this certification. To become a Splunk Core certified user, you must pass the Splunk Core Certified Exam (SPLK-1001).

Splunk Core Certified Power User

After becoming a core certified user, the next step is to become a Splunk Core Certified Power User. This certification requires a deeper understanding of Splunk search and reporting commands. Passing the Splunk Core Certified Power User Exam (SPLK-1002) usually requires 1-2 months of preparation.

Splunk Core Certified Advanced Power User

Splunk Core Certified Advanced Power User certification is the highest level in the Splunk Core Certified track and demonstrates mastery of advanced search and reporting functionalities within Splunk. Successfully passing the Splunk Core Certified Advanced Power User (PLK-1004) exam may take 2–3 months of focused study and practice.

Splunk Cloud Certified Admin

Splunk Cloud Certified Admin is particularly focused on Splunk Cloud customers. If you are using Splunk Enterprise or focusing on the enterprise side, it is important to expand your knowledge about the cloud. This is because you may receive projects in Splunk on premise or in Splunk Cloud. To get this certification, you must pass the Splunk Cloud Certified Admin Exam (SPLK-1005).

Splunk Enterprise Certified Admin

The Splunk Enterprise Certified Admin certification focuses on administering Splunk Enterprise, including managing users, indexes, and data inputs. A strong foundation in Splunk basics is recommended before pursuing this certification. To achieve this certification, you must pass the Splunk Enterprise Certified Administrator (SPLK-1003) exam.

Splunk Enterprise Certified Architect

If you have a deep understanding of Splunk Enterprise and can design and implement complex Splunk deployments, Splunk Enterprise Certified Architect certification is for you. However, it is recommended that you have hands-on experience with Splunk Enterprise before pursuing this certification. The Splunk Enterprise Certified Architect Exam (SPLK-2002) is required, and you must pass it to earn this certification.

Splunk Core Certified Consultant

Splunk Core Certified Consultant certification is for you if you have a strong understanding of Splunk Core and can provide expert consultation on its implementation and usage. We recommend that you have practical experience deploying Splunk Core solutions before pursuing this certification. Pass the Splunk Core Certified Consultant Exam (SPLK-3003) to get this certification.

Enterprise Security Certified Admin

People with a deep understanding of Splunk Enterprise Security and skills in administering security environments using Splunk can take the Enterprise Security Certified Admin exam (SPLK-3001). Before pursuing this certification, it’s good to have hands-on experience with security operations and tools.

IT Service Intelligence Certified Admin

If you have a solid grasp of Splunk IT Service Intelligence and are skilled in implementing and managing IT services using Splunk, the IT Service Intelligence Certified Admin certification is for you. Previous experience in IT service management and monitoring tools is beneficial if you aim for this certification. To earn the certification, you must pass the Splunk IT Service Intelligence Certified Administrator Exam (SPLK-3002).

SOAR Certified Automation Developer

If you want to specialize in security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) using Splunk, the SOAR Certified Automation Developer certification is a great choice. Here is the Splunk SOAR Certified Automation Developer Exam (SPLK-2003) that you must pass to earn this certification.

O11y Cloud Certified Metrics User

O11y Cloud Certified Metrics User certification tests your ability to effectively use metrics in a cloud environment using Splunk’s Observability Suite. Splunk O11y Cloud Certified Metrics User Exam (SPLK-4001) is the required exam to pass for this certification. It will benefit from familiarity with cloud monitoring tools and experience analyzing and interpreting metrics.

Splunk Cybersecurity Defense Analyst

The Splunk Cybersecurity Defense Analyst certification focuses on threat detection, incident response, and security analytics within the Splunk platform. You must take the Splunk Certified Cybersecurity Defense Analyst Exam (SPLK-5001) to achieve it.

Why would you take on Cisco Splunk Certification?

For cybersecurity engineers and analysts, starting with the Splunk Core Certified User is a strategic move. This certification teaches you how to use the Splunk interface effectively, providing a foundation for further Cisco Splunk skills.

Building on that foundation, the Splunk Core Certified Power User is the next step. This certification is for those who want to focus on advanced searching, reporting, and dashboard creation in Splunk. It signifies a level of proficiency that can vastly improve operational intelligence.

The path to becoming a Splunk Enterprise Certified Admin improves your skills in managing and configuring the Splunk platform. This knowledge is essential for maintaining complex security systems. It also enhances your understanding of deployment, best practices, and troubleshooting, which, in turn, solidifies your position as a reliable custodian of cybersecurity infrastructure.

The Splunk Enterprise Certified Architect is the highest level of Splunk certification. Earning this title proves you are an expert in designing, implementing, and managing Splunk deployments. A certified architect can effectively simplify processes that strengthen security and add value to an organization’s SIEM initiatives.

Last but not least, the Splunk Enterprise Security Certified Admin stands crucial for specialists in threat analysis and incident management. It demonstrates an exceptional command over Splunk’s Enterprise Security Suite, equipping you to tackle advanced cyber threats head-on.

Final thoughts on Cisco Splunk

Cisco Splunk is an essential tool for increasing data analytics capabilities. Its comprehensive products and scalable architecture simplify complex data processes, offering deep insights into operational data. Earning Cisco Splunk certifications will offer many career opportunities, give you a competitive advantage in the job market, and earn you higher pay. Employers recognize these certifications as solid proof of an individual’s commitment and skills. Earning these credentials will improve your technical understanding and distinguish you as a professional in the cybersecurity field.

If you are thinking about diving deep into Splunk, remember that the certifications you earn could define the next big step in your cybersecurity career. Think of this as an investment in your future, a chance to stand out and shape your professional path.

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