Serdar Yegulalp at InfoWorld wrote a very nice article entitled “Splunk’s big data promise: Google for your visual analytics“.  He writes how Splunk has become a platform for analyzing machine data and how it is now growing to become a software ecosystem for big data.  Part of being an ecosystem is allowing products to interconnect using open standards and so allowing data to flow.  Microsoft and Simba developed the ODBC standard in 1992 and helped build the enterprise data ecosystem for the SQL world.  Some of Splunk’s success has come from leveraging what Microsoft and Simba did over 20 years ago.  Splunk has used the SimbaEngine ODBC SDK to build an ODBC driver for their platform.  It is this ODBC driver that allows Tableau to connect directly to Splunk Enterprise and visualize machine data.  I like how Serdar calls Splunk the “Google for your server logs”.  This is a very appropriate term.  With the Splunk ODBC driver, you can definitely use Tableau, but you can also use Excel, Crystal Reports, QlikView, Spotfire, etc. to analyze and visualize your data.  This is what makes Splunk a true ecosystem – users have choice in what tools they use.  The fact that Tableau and Splunk have formed a strategic technology alliance shows the power of data connectivity in today’s world of Big Data. Connecting Tableau to Splunk is the type of thing Simba excels at.