Using R and Splunk: Lookups of More Than 10,000 Results

Splunk, for some probably very good reasons, has limits on how many results are returned by sub-searches (which in turn limits us on lookups, too). Because of this, I’ve used R to search Splunk through it’s API endpoints (using the httr package) and utilize loops, the plyr package, and other data manipulation flexibilities given through the use of R.

This has allowed me to answer some questions for our business team that at the surface seem simple enough, but the data gathering and manipulation get either too complex or large for Splunk to handle efficiently. Here are some examples:

  • Of the 1.5 million customers we’ve emailed in a marketing campaign, how many of them have made the conversion?
  • How are our 250,000 beta users accessing the platform?
  • Who are the users logging into our system from our internal IPs?

The high level steps to using R and Splunk are:

  1. Import the lookup values of concern as a csv
  2. Create the lookup as a string
  3. Create the search string including the lookup just created
  4. Execute the GET to get the data
  5. Read the response into a data table

I’ve taken this one step further; because my lookups are usually LARGE, I end up breaking up the search into smaller chunks and combining the results at the end.

Here is some example code that you can edit to show what I’ve done and how I’ve done it. This bit of code will iteratively run the “searchstring” 250 times and combine the results.

## LIBRARY THAT ENABLES THE HTTPS CALL ## 
library(httr)

## READ IN THE LOOKUP VALUES OF CONCERN ##
mylookup <- read.csv("mylookup.csv", header = FALSE)

## ARBITRARY "CHUNK" SIZE TO KEEP SEARCHES SMALLER ##
start <- 1
end <- 1000

## CREATE AN EMPTY DATA FRAME THAT WILL HOLD END RESULTS ##
alldata <- data.frame()

## HOW MANY "CHUNKS" WILL NEED TO BE RUN TO GET COMPLETE RESULTS ##
for(i in 1:250){
 ## CREATES THE LOOKUP STRING FROM THE mylookup VARIABLE ##
 lookupstring <- paste(mylookup[start:end], sep = "", 
                       collapse = '" OR VAR_NAME="')
 
 ## CREATES THE SEARCH STRING; THIS IS A SIMPLE SEARCH EXAMPLE ##
 searchstring <- paste('index = "my_splunk_index" (VAR_NAME="', 
                       lookupstring, '") | stats count BY VAR_NAME', 
                       sep = "")
 
 ## RUNS THE SEARCH; SUB IN YOUR SPLUNK LINK, USERNAME, AND PASSWORD ##
 response <- GET("https://our.splunk.link:8089/", 
                 path = "servicesNS/admin/search/search/jobs/export", 
                 encode="form", config(ssl_verifyhost=FALSE, ssl_verifypeer=0), 
                 authenticate("USERNAME", "PASSWORD"), 
                 query=list(search=paste0("search ", searchstring, 
                                          collapse="", sep=""), 
                            output_mode="csv"))
 
 ## CHANGES THE RESULTS TO A DATA TABLE ## 
 result <- read.table(text = content(response, as = "text"), sep = ",", 
                      header = TRUE, stringsAsFactors = FALSE)
 
 ## BINDS THE CURRENT RESULTS WITH THE OVERALL RESULTS ##
 alldata <- rbind(alldata, result)
 
 ## UPDATES THE START POINT
 start <- end + 1
 
 ## UPDATES THE END POINT, BUT MAKES SURE IT DOESN'T GO TOO FAR ##
 if((end + 1000) > length(allusers)){
                end <- length(allusers)
         } else {
                end <- end + 1000
         }
 
 ## FOR TROUBLESHOOTING, I PRINT THE ITERATION ##
 #print(i)
}

## WRITES THE RESULTS TO A CSV ##
write.table(alldata, "mydata.csv", row.names = FALSE, sep = ",")

So - that is how you do a giant lookup against Splunk data with R! I am sure that there are more efficient ways of doing this, even in the Splunk app itself, but this has done the trick for me!

Avatar
Jacob Rozran
Data Guy, Dad, & Uncle

Related