Day 3 – Wednesday
Beginning again with another EPSN Arena Keynote continuing the release of the Splunk>Next innovation announcements, today’s presentations focussed more on how Splunk can deliver wider business value outside of ITOPs and Security.
Particularly inspiring was an interview with Arizona State University and how they’re preventing $60,000 a month in fraud using Splunk. New releases of the ML (Machine Learning) Toolkit took centre stage as BMW demonstrated the Splunk Natural Language integration with Amazon Alexa. It was astounding to hear how quickly these technologies are progressing within Splunk.
I paced myself a little more with sessions today, making time for lunch in one of the huge hospitality marquees. It was far too easy to take something like this as perfectly normal, but I’d never seen anything like it – everything at .Conf18 was on an epic scale.
Everyone seemed a little more subdued today, perhaps in anticipation of the main social tonight. “Search Party” was hosted at Universal’s Island of Adventure. Yes that’s right, Splunk had booked the whole park purely for .Conf18 attendees. As we arrived around 8pm, the families and children were leaving, making way for the big kids’ playtime. Universal staff welcomed us “Have fun Splunkers, the whole park’s yours tonight”. I have to admit, at this point my brain was pretty fried by the amount of knowledge I’d been absorbing in the sessions, and heading straight to a theme park wasn’t really what my body had in mind. However, after a ride on THE HULK, I was literally blown away and back in the game. Three hours of power walking around the park to hit as many of the rides as possible, and Day 3 was over. I once again collapsed onto my bed as soon as I got back to my hotel.
Day 4 – Thursday
Today’s Keynote was special – an interview with Apple’s Steve Wozniak. The focus was mainly on the early days of Apple and the computer club he addended that led to the invention of the first Mac PC. Steve was very much an inventor from an early age, playing technical pranks on all his friends, building TV signal jammers to frustrate them when they gathered to watch their favourite TV programmes, forcing them to get up and adjust the aerial as he switched the jammer on and off. Later in life, alongside his Apple creations, he used his technical brilliance to share his business grade internet links to local schools via a radio mast on his roof, before the days of schools even having a dial up internet connection. He also taught IT at his local secondary school in secret, as well as attending university under a different name as he hadn’t had the opportunity earlier in life. Some quotes that remained with me from that interview were “Wanting is more than knowledge“, “You have to take a step, you have to believe“, “Go off into areas that other people don’t” and “See the complete solution“. A truly inspiring experience from one of the best technical inventors of our era. With Keynote now over, it was time to get back to the main resort for my remaining 4 sessions of the week. My final session of the day being “How to become a lean mean Splunkin’ machine in 30 days”. If you’re new to Splunk, it’s well worth a quick peek.
Splunk .Conf was a thoroughly rewarding week of education, networking and pure WOW factor. If you’re thinking about investing in or already use Splunk within your business/education institution, I’d highly recommend you attend. Splunk isn’t just an amazing tool for analytics, it’s a whole community of like-minded people, achieving the amazing from data we all currently have the power to utilise and take us to the next level.