10 Best Splunk Books For Learning Big Data

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Real-time data processing is the norm in our advancing tech world. Splunk is just one of many tools that can help developers and IT professionals maintain big data servers and structure that data accordingly.

If you’re just getting started you might not be sure where to go. Thankfully there are tons of books out there you can use as study guides and desk references.

I’ve cataloged the 10 best Splunk books covering the software and big data principles along with pros & cons for each book. To learn more about Splunk and how it works check out this Quora post.

The Best Splunk Book

For absolute beginners who need a quality book I suggest Implementing Splunk. It’s a massive book with 400+ pages, but it also covers everything you could possibly need to know.

As a runner up I also recommend Splunk Essentials since it’s a newer publication and somewhat less intimidating.


Splunk Essentials

If you’re brand new to Splunk and need a soft intro guide then Splunk Essentials fits the bill. It’s just over 230 pages long and currently in its 2nd edition.

Splunk as a product has dozens of things to offer so there’s no way to cover everything. But Splunk Essentials gets you up to speed on the most common tasks and commands you’ll need to know.

You’ll learn how to pull data from any dataset, how to search and filter that data, and how to produce finalized reports all with Splunk. You’ll even learn a bit about D3 for data visualization which makes this a true Splunk development handbook.

Anyone with no prior experience using Splunk should have a great time reading this book.


Splunk Introduction

If you want a real quick push into Splunk then check out Splunk Introduction. This book is pretty damn short totaling about 88 pages.

It’s just dense enough to get you going with Splunk. But it’s certainly not long enough to be a cover-all guide for beginners.

I think this works best for people who may already have some familiarity with big data. You don’t need any technical knowledge but it certainly helps.

And if you do get this book you should consider grabbing another intermediate-level guide as a follow up.


Exploring Splunk

With Exploring Splunk you’ll learn absolutely everything from logging to filtering results and monitoring big data stacks. This book does take some patience to read through and it helps a lot to have some prior experience.

The author David Carasso has a history with the software being the 3rd employee ever hired at Splunk.

This book covers absolutely everything you need to know about Splunk and the foundational commands for managing, sorting, and publishing big data results.

It feels like this book moves quickly but the information is concise and easy to follow.


Big Data Analytics Using Splunk

If you’re looking for a practical book with large exercises and case studies then Big Data Analytics Using Splunk is the perfect choice.

The book totals 376 pages full of practical tutorials and real-world examples from companies like Twitter and Foursquare.

You’ll learn how to pull data and sort it using the quickest workflows. You’ll also learn how to analyze big datasets to check for patterns or inconsistencies.

I recommend this book for anyone at the intermediate phase or for anyone who knows the basics of Splunk and wants to delve deeper.


Splunk Developer’s Guide

Developers love to add features and customize their workflow whenever possible. And the Splunk Developer’s Guide takes Splunk to the next level with actionable steps to learn Splunk development.

To get anything from this book you already need to feel comfortable using Splunk. You should already know the basics of Splunk as a platform, and you should feel comfortable writing code with some OOP experience.

This guide delves into more complex features like tags and eventtypes, both of which are unique to the Splunk ecosystem. You’ll learn how to build a custom search dashboard and you’ll learn how to code on top of D3.js.

By the end of this book you should feel confident building your own Splunk console. It won’t be an easy book to finish. But I do think the writing style makes it easier to follow.


Implementing Splunk

Here’s a beginner-friendly book that offers both theory and practice in one title. Implementing Splunk by Vincent Bumgarner is a noteworthy title because it goes far into the Splunk ecosystem while still treating the reader like a beginner.

You’ll start by learning to install Splunk and configuring it with a machine(or many machines). From there you’ll follow practical examples to break up datasets and organize them based on different criteria.

The exercises are very simple to follow, although the later chapters get more complex quickly.

It helps if you already have some experience working with big data before you pick up this book. However you can make it through as a complete beginner with some patience.

Implementing Splunk totals 448 pages so it’s definitely a complete guide to the software from start to finish.


Learning Splunk Web Framework

Splunk does have a web framework for developers who want to create webapps and RIAs with the Splunk software.

Granted not every user wants to build their own web interfaces. But anyone that does will surely want a copy of Learning Splunk Web Framework.

The book totals 260 pages and it starts with a beginner’s introduction to developing over the framework.

You’ll learn how to create your own dashboard, analyze traffic, build your own XML extensions, and how to work with the Splunk REST API. This book is the ultimate guide to Splunk as a framework and it’s packed with valuable exercises.

If you need a refresher on REST APIs then check out our post covering the best books on RESTful API development.


Building Splunk Solutions

This is an unusual book that reads more like a documentary mixed with a case study. Building Splunk Solutions totals 340 pages following a dev team in their day-to-day tasks.

In this book you get to see plenty of real-world examples along with sample codes and best practices for using Splunk in daily operations.

You may not think that a case study would make much sense. But all these examples really guide the reader to understand more about Splunk’s basic nature.

I think this book complements a beginner’s book like Exploring Splunk. Once you have the fundamentals down then a book like Building Splunk Solutions has a lot to offer.


Splunk Operational Intelligence Cookbook

Most cookbooks are made for professional developers but this one is surprisingly different.

With the Splunk Operational Intelligence Cookbook you don’t need much prior experience using Splunk. These recipes cover the basics along with intermediate-level scenarios to help you learn & grow as a Splunk user.

Over the course of 436 pages you’ll learn the basics of data sorting along with the complexities of building your own Splunk application.

I would also recommend this book as a complement to the “Exploring Splunk” title mentioned earlier. It fits well as a quasi-beginner’s guide while also teaching more detailed Splunk workflows.


Advanced Splunk

This is undeniably the best book for any serious Splunk user. Advanced Splunk has a lot to share whether you’re an intermediate IT pro or an advanced developer.

The book is a hefty 350 pages and each chapter is crammed with information about big data architecture, data processing, and presentation management.

There’s also a lot of great content about customizing Splunk and tweaking the basic settings using the API along with the web framework. This includes different applications focusing on different datasets like server logs or server behaviors.

If you’re serious about Splunk as a tool then you need this book. It’ll take you to that next level and this is one of the few advanced books out there offering tips for Splunk development with related libraries like D3.js.


Splunk Best Practices

When you start using Splunk in the real world you’ll constantly encounter new challenges. With Splunk Best Practices you’ll learn how to approach these obstacles and how to overcome them.

Enterprise developers, admins, and devops teams all have good reason to work with Splunk. And this guide is the cornerstone to mastering a workflow that fits with modern big data.

You’ll learn tricks and workflows for pulling data, analyzing big datasets, and packaging data to be shared with anyone. You’ll also learn the ins & outs of logging and reporting right inside Splunk.

Later chapters get into more detail on live deployment and unit testing within a Splunk environment.

This is a must-have book for any serious Splunk user. It works just like a reference guide and a study aid so it’ll be a handy resource on your bookshelf.

Splunk is growing rapidly and it’s one of the more popular big data tools out there. It’s always great when tech publishers get behind new programs, but with so many books it’s tough knowing where to start.

For complete beginners I would highly recommend Implementing Splunk, or for a smaller intro you might like Exploring Splunk written by Splunk employee David Carasso.

More intermediate-to-advanced users will certainly benefit from Advanced Splunk along with the amazing reference guide Splunk Best Practices.

Don’t worry too much about mastering the Splunk system. This is almost impossible since there’s so much to learn.

Instead just pick up the basics and start practicing. As you run into problems you can research, solve them, and learn along the way.

Author: Jaime Morrison

Jaime is a jr. designer interested in mobile UI/UX research and frontend web development with JavaScript frameworks. He covers general news and useful resources in the web design space.