Splunk Storage Plugin

Introduced in release: 1.19

Drill’s Splunk storage plugin allows you to execute SQL queries against Splunk indexes. This storage plugin implementation is based on Apache Calcite adapter for Splunk.


To connect Drill to Splunk, create a new storage plugin with a configuration containing the following properties.

   "username": "admin",
   "password": "changeme",
   "hostname": "localhost",
   "port": 8089,
   "earliestTime": "-14d",
   "latestTime": "now",
   "enabled": false

Configuration Options

Option Default Description Since
type (none) Set to “splunk” to use this plugin 1.19
username null Splunk username to be used by Drill 1.19
password null Splunk password to be used by Drill 1.19
scheme https The scheme with which to access the Splunk host 1.21
hostname localhost Splunk host to be queried by Drill 1.19
port 8089 TCP port over which Drill will connect to Splunk 1.19
earliestTime null Global earliest record timestamp default 1.19
latestTime null Global latest record timestamp default 1.19
app null The application context of the service[^1] 1.21
owner null The owner context of the service[^1] 1.21
token null A Splunk authentication token to use for the session[^2] 1.21
cookie null A valid login cookie 1.21
validateCertificates true Whether the Splunk client will validates the server’s SSL cert 1.21

Understanding Splunk’s Data Model

Splunk’s primary use case is analyzing event logs with a timestamp. As such, data is indexed by the timestamp, with the most recent data being indexed first. By default, Splunk will sort the data in reverse chronological order. Large Splunk installations will put older data into buckets of hot, warm and cold storage with the “cold” storage on the slowest and cheapest disks.

With this understood, it is very important to put time boundaries on your Splunk queries. The Drill plugin allows you to set default values in the configuration such that every query you run will be bounded by these boundaries. Alternatively, you can set the time boundaries at query time. In either case, you will achieve the best performance when you ask Splunk for the smallest amount of data possible.

Understanding Drill’s Data Model for Splunk

Drill treats Splunk indexes as tables. Splunk’s access model does not restrict to the catalog, but does restrict access to the actual data. It is therefore possible that you can see the names of indexes to which you do not have access. You can view the list of available indexes with a SHOW TABLES IN splunk query.

apache drill> SHOW TABLES IN splunk;
| splunk       | summary        |
| splunk       | splunklogger   |
| splunk       | _configtracker |
| splunk       | _thefishbucket |
| splunk       | _audit         |
| splunk       | _internal      |
| splunk       | _introspection |
| splunk       | main           |
| splunk       | history        |
| splunk       | _telemetry     |
10 rows selected (0.304 seconds)

To query Splunk from Drill, use the following format:

SELECT <fields>
FROM splunk.<index>

Bounding Your Queries

When you learn to query Splunk via their interface, the first thing you learn is to bound your queries so that they are looking at the shortest time span possible. When using Drill to query Splunk, it is advisable to do the same thing, and Drill offers two ways to accomplish this: via the configuration and at query time.

Bounding your Queries at Query Time

The easiest way to bound your query is to do so at querytime via special filters in the WHERE clause. There are two special fields, earliestTime and latestTime which can be set to bound the query. If they are not set, the query will be bounded to the defaults set in the configuration. You can use any of the time formats specified in the Splunk documentation

So if you wanted to see your data for the last 15 minutes, you could execute the following query:

SELECT <fields>
FROM splunk.<index>
WHERE earliestTime='-15m' AND latestTime='now'

The variables set in a query override the defaults from the configuration.

Data Types

Splunk does not have sophisticated data types and unfortunately does not provide metadata from its query results. With the exception of the fields below, Drill will interpret all fields as VARCHAR and hence you will have to convert them to the appropriate data type at query time.

Timestamp Fields

  • _indextime
  • _time

Numeric Fields

  • date_hour
  • date_mday
  • date_minute
  • date_second
  • date_year
  • linecount

Nested Data

Splunk has two different types of nested data which roughly map to Drill’s LIST and MAP data types. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to identify whether a field is a nested field at querytime as Splunk does not provide any metadata and therefore all fields are treated as VARCHAR.

However, Drill does have built in functions to easily convert Splunk multifields into Drill LIST and MAP data types. For a LIST, simply use the SPLIT(<field>, ' ') function to split the field into a LIST.

MAP data types are rendered as JSON in Splunk. Fortunately JSON can easily be parsed into a Drill Map by using the convert_fromJSON() function. The query below demonstrates how to convert a JSON column into a Drill MAP.

SELECT convert_fromJSON(_raw)
FROM splunk.spl
WHERE spl = '| makeresults
| eval _raw="{\"pc\":{\"label\":\"PC\",\"count\":24,\"peak24\":12},\"ps3\":

Selecting Fields

When you execute a query in Drill for Splunk, the fields you select are pushed down to Splunk. Therefore, it will always be more efficient to explicitly specify fields to push down to Splunk rather than using SELECT * queries.

Special Fields

There are several fields which can be included in a Drill query

  • spl: If you just want to send an SPL query to Splunk, this will do that.
  • earliestTime: Overrides the earliestTime setting in the configuration.
  • latestTime: Overrides the latestTime setting in the configuration.

Sorting Results

Due to the nature of Splunk indexes, data will always be returned in reverse chronological order. Thus, sorting is not necessary if that is the desired order.

Sending Arbitrary SPL to Splunk

There is a special table called spl which you can use to send arbitrary queries to Splunk. If you use this table, you must include a query in the spl filter as shown below:

FROM splunk.spl
WHERE spl='<your SPL query>'