Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mining Government Tech Dollars

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are infamous for complaining about the burden of government regulations. But as Splunk, a San Francisco-based data analytics and search company, has discovered, there can be gold in red tape.

Splunk's software organizes and tags unstructured, computer-generated information such as Web server access logs, configurations and alerts. Splunk users can then search that indexed data, via a browser-like interface, to troubleshoot network problems, monitor security and track trends such as Web surfing behavior.

Four years ago, Michael Baum and two colleagues founded Splunk to help data center administrators diagnose problems across a server system. Their cheeky marketing material got our attention with its use of terms like "borked" and snarky catch phases like "Take the 'sh' out of IT." The company's moniker is a play on "spelunking," a term coined by IT specialists to describe sifting through mountains of machine data.

Splunk's technology and Silicon Valley hipster shtick caught on quickly with a stodgier crowd: government bureaucrats. This was an unexpected turn of events, says Baum, but one the company is eagerly exploiting.

Full story at