Top Splunk Interview Questions & Answers

October 9th, 2023
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Splunk Interview Questions

With the advent of IoT devices, machine data has become a commonly talked about term in the tech world. As the number of machines found in the IT infrastructure increases and the data produced goes high, the need to use this data for insights heighten too.

This data is raw and thus needs to be stored and processed to gain valuable business-centric information. To make that happen, you need platforms to make it happen and that includes a software platform like Splunk.

Splunk is used to access, visualize, and analyze machine-generated data from various sources such as networks, IoT devices, hardware devices, servers, etc. It has a lot of features and capabilities. Hence, many companies seek Splunk experts to help.

Let us look at some of the top Splunk interview questions & answers. This blog also contains Splunk Administrator interview questions and for experienced professionals too. This blog will act as a guide once you complete your Splunk certification course.

Interview Questions on Splunk for Freshers

If you are a fresher who has recently completed their Splunk training, then here are some of the best interview questions for you.

Q1. What is Splunk used for?

Answer. Machine data is not an easy feat to understand since it is in an unstructured format. Thus, analyzing and visualizing this data is not possible. Splunk is the tool that helps in such situations. It is the perfect tool to tackle these problems because-

  • Analyze system performance
  • Monitor business metrics
  • Search and investigate a certain outcome
  • Troubleshoot any failure condition
  • Create dashboard to visualize results
  • Store and retrieve data for later use
Splunk Interview Questions

Image Source- InterviewBit

Q2. Name the key components of Splunk Architecture. 

Answer. Splunk Architecture has three main components -

  • Splunk Forwarder: This is used to collect machine logs or data. It assists in collecting and forwarding real-time data having less processing power to the indexer. Depending upon the type of the forwarder being used, it performs cleansing of data. 
  • Splunk Indexer: This component is used for transforming or indexing raw data into events. The results data from the forwarder is then stored. It processes the incoming data in real-time. 
  • Search Head: It is employed to interact with Splunk and allows the user to perform a variety of functions like analysis, queries, etc. on the stored data via a GUI. 
Splunk Interview Questions

Q3. How is getting data into a Splunk instance via Forwarders?

Answer. It is very beneficial when data enters into a Splunk instance via forwarders. These benefits include an encrypted SSL connection among the indexer and the forwarder, a TCP connection, and bandwidth throttling. Data forwarded to the indexers are by default load balanced. This means that even if one indexer fails at a point, data can be routed to a different indexer instance swiftly.

Q4. What is Splunk Query?

Answer. Splunk Query enables running of a specific operation on machine-generated data. It uses SPL or Search Processing Language to communicate with a source or database of data. This language is full of functions, commands, arguments, etc. that can be utilized for extracting essential info from machine-generated data. Hence, enabling the users to run queries to be able to analyze their data.

Q5. How does Splunk work?

Answer. Splunk processes data in three primary steps or stages. These are the data input stage, data storage stage, and data searching stage.

Splunk Interview Questions
  • Data Input Stage: The first stage is about consuming raw data from a plethora of sources, which is then broken down into 64K blocks. Each block is further annotated with metadata keys. 
  • Data Storage Stage: In the second stage, two phases are included namely the Parsing phase and the Indexing phase. In the Parsing phase, only the relevant information is analyzed, transformed, and processed by Splunk. In the Indexing phase, the parsed event is written into the index queue by the Splunk software. 
  • Data Searching Stage: The third stage decides how the indexed data is accessed, used, and viewed by the user. 

Q6. What does a metadata key include?

Answer. A metadata key consists of the source, source type, and hostname of the data.

Q7. Why is a License Master in Splunk essential? What will be the outcome if the License Master is unreachable?

Answer. The License Master in Splunk is shouldered with the task of making sure that the limited data is indexed. The amount of data coming on the platform in 24 hours makes the base for each Splunk license. Hence, it is important that the environment is kept within the limits of its purchased volume.

In case the License Master is unreachable, it will become impossible to search the data. 

Read Also- How to Become Splunk Expert?

Splunk Interview Questions for Experienced Professionals

If you are looking for Splunk interview questions for experienced professionals, then your search ends here. Let us take you through a few of them -

Q8. What is meant by Summary Index in Splunk?

Answer. Summary indexes are used for storing reports, summaries, and analyses computed by Splunk. It acts as a rapid yet inexpensive method of running a query for a long duration of time. If the user does not use a specified one, the default index is used.

Q9. Name a few features that do not come in the Splunk free version. 

Answer. Splunk free lacks a lot of features including -

  • Forwarding data through TCP or HTTP to non-Splunk
  • Managing deployments
  • Scheduled alerts/ searched & authentication
  • Distributed searching
  • Agile statistics and reporting on real-time architecture

Q10. What is Splunk DB Connect?

Answer. Splunk DB Connect is a widely used general-purpose SQL database plugin/ extension for Splunk. It permits fluent integration between Splunk reports/ queries and database information. It is used for combining structured data from DBs with unstructured machine data. Splunk Enterprise is then used for uncovering insights from the combined data.

Q11. How can you add colors in Splunk UI on the basis of the field names. 

Answer. Splunk UI picks colors by default. However, it is still possible to assign the colors as per our choice and requirements to charts while creating reports. To make it happen, go to the dashboard to edit the panels in it. After modifying the panel settings, choose the color as per requirements.

You can also assign colors with certain codes and commands.

Q12. How many types of dashboards are in Splunk?

Answer. There are three types of dashboards in Splunk.

  • Dynamic form-based dashboards: This dashboard allows the user to make a change to the data without leaving the page. It is also customizable and is best suited for troubleshooting and data analysis. 
  • Scheduled dashboards: This dashboard makes sharing with other team members possible. It can be downloaded as a PDF, restricting the view for certain users. 
  • Static real-time dashboard: This dashboard is when the user requires a large-screen display of the data with alerts and indicators to which responding promptly is possible. 

Splunk Admin Interview Questions

Whether you decide to learn Splunk online via a good institute or choose to watch a Splunk tutorial for better understanding of the field, you will still need to practice top Splunk admin interview questions. 

Here are the top ones most frequently asked in an interview.

Q13. Explain how data ages in Splunk.

Answer. As data ages, it passes through different buckets. Here is how that happens -

  • As data gets indexed, it moves into the hot bucket. In this bucket, the data can be written continuously and actively searched.
  • As the hot bucket comes to its intended size or when Splunk is restarted, the data gets rolled into the warm bucket. The data here is still searchable but is no longer written actively. 
  • As the warm bucket touches its maximum potential, then data goes from this bucket to the cold bucket. The oldest warm bucket data is sent first. 
  • Once a certain duration passes over, the data flows from cold bucket to frozen bucket. Here, the data is either achieved or deleted.

Q14. What are Workflow Actions?

Answer. Workflow Actions are used when certain tasks need to be automated once the rules have been assigned and the reports are scheduled and created. These actions come in handy when it comes to retrieving a specific set of data that needs to be sent to other fields.

Q15. What is the role of the Time Zone property in Splunk?

Answer. As data enters in Splunk, the time zone of the entry made is picked. Splunk takes the time zone defined in the browser to add the time zones. Similarly, the browser picks up the time zone that is set on your computer system. Thus, if you want to find it, you will have to search for a particular event.

Q16. Explain the types of search modes in Splunk. 

Answer. Splunk has three types of search modes named fast, Verbose, and Smart.

  • Fast Search Mode: the fast search mode comes in handy when the user wants to speed up the search process. It is done by adding a limit to the data types in relation with the search returns. 
  • Smart Search Mode: the smart search mode toggles search behavior on the basis of what the user search contains. In simpler words, if the search will contain transforming commands, then this mode will behave like fast mode. However, if the search will contain any other commands apart from transforming commands, then this mode will behave like verbose search mode. 
  • Verbose Search Mode: the verbose search mode is employed to return the highest amount of event information. However, as compared to the fast search mode, the verbose search mode is very slow. 

Conclusion

There is no end to the amount of knowledge you can intake or the extent to which you can polish your Splunk skills. It all lies in where you complete your Splunk training and how you practice them. The key point to making a career in the tech world revolves around staying ahead of your competition and keeping yourself updated with everything new and trending.

Since Splunk is a widely used software platform to manage and analyze data, it comes as no surprise that the demand for Splunk administrators is so high. With the right Splunk course and with the Splunk Cloud Certified Admin certification, a plethora of opportunities will open its doors for you. 

Splunk Interview Questions FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. Who is the Splunk Cloud Administrator certification for?

Answer. The Splunk Cloud Administrator certification is best suited for platform administrators, cloud migrators, and career builders.

Q2. What is the prerequisite for Splunk Cloud admin certification?

Answer. You must be certified with the Splunk Core Certified Power User certification.

Q3. What is the certification fee for this exam?

Answer. This exam is priced at $130 USD per exam attempt.

Q4. What is the average salary of a Splunk Administrator in India?

Answer. The average salary of a Splunk Administrator in India is Rs. 6.2 LPA. The salary ranges between Rs. 3.9 LPA - Rs. 11 LPA. This number can vary based on your location, experience, and skills.

Q5. What is the certification code for Splunk admin?

Answer. The certification code is SPLK-1003.

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