Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Startup Launches Wiki For IT

Splunk Inc., which sells software for searching log files created by computer systems, launched on Monday a wiki for IT professionals who want to share information on problems recorded during data-center activity.

The new Splunk Base is meant to provide system administrators with an online database for solving troubles recorded while managing application servers, databases, Web servers, operating systems and other components of a data center.

Much like the popular Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia built through the contributions of anyone wishing to add or change an item, Splunk Base is expected to become a valuable resource through the involvement of people.

"The power is in the IT community," Michael Baum, chief executive and co-founder of Splunk, a San Francisco startup, said.

The way Splunk sees it, that power is built when IT professionals paste the text from a troubling log file onto a Splunk Base form and submit it. The online system indexes the text so it becomes searchable within the database. The submitter can also set up an alert to be notified if anyone comments or makes changes to the submission.

The idea is that people who have experienced similar events in their computer systems will eventually add valuable information to help solve the problem.

Splunk Base is open to anyone, not just Splunk customers. The latter, however, can access the database through the company's software, providing they're using the latest version, 1.2.4, Baum said.

The software, which includes a free and professional version, indexes log files, which can amount to hundreds of gigabytes a day, so they can be searched by time, keyword or type of event. The newest version of the software is linked to Splunk Base, so events can be packaged and submitted.

Since Splunk's launch in December, more than 35,000 copies of its software have been downloaded, Baum said. The professional edition is licensed through an annual subscription that varies according to the amount of data indexed everyday by the search engine.

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