Insert some pithy comments about my enemy’s enemy being my friend or another Sun Tzu-esque Art of War snippet. Either way, an interesting piece of news this morning from Splunk as it seeks to cut off (in the nicest possible way, of course) the market opportunity for other monitoring vendors such as New Relic and Datadog.

Splunk has always been about offering a big bucket into which customers could pour copious quantities of data to gain valuable insights. But Splunk was hampered by the fact that its offering felt a little bit like plumbing. To use an analogy, while it’s the pipes that enable water to get to the taps in my bathroom, it’s the shiny taps in all their chrome splendor which get people excited. Splunk was seen as the boring stuff upon which people layered the really exciting bits – third party tools and services.

In recent years Splunk has, however, embraced the idea of offering not just the plumbing, but the exciting stuff on top of that. This move has unavoidably brought them into a position of conflict with some partners – as Splunk attempts to move further up the stack, it brings them into a competitive overlap with former partners.

With all of this context, it was interesting to hear from Splunk today about their new offering for AWS customers. Splunk Insights for AWS Cloud Monitoring promises end-to-end security, operational and cost management insights on AWS.

AWS Cloud Monitoring is available via the AWS Marketplace as well as in the AWS Marketplace GovCloud (US) for regulated and public sector customers and integrates with AWS’ native monitoring offerings such as Amazon CloudWatch, AWS CloudTrail, and AWS Billing.

As such, AWS plus Splunk is somewhat undermining the value that the third-party monitoring solutions offer – New Relic and Datadog, for example, both offer a degree of analytics on top of their monitoring offerings. And these vendors have long held out a point of difference from AWS’ own native solutions in terms of both breadth and depth. The theory goes that a pure-play vendor focused on one particular area will do a better job than an offering that is just a small part of the overall product. But add Splunk into CloudWatch and you have a different story – the fact that CloudWatch is a native AWS tool, and that Splunk adds deep analytics onto that, changes the game somewhat.

Of course, AWS needs to tread carefully and not alienate its other partners. Dave McCann, VP of AWS Marketplace Services was careful in how he articulated the value of this partnership:

As our customers migrate their critical workloads to AWS, real-time insight into the performance of their workloads is crucial to successful cloud adoption. Making Splunk Insights for AWS Cloud Monitoring available in AWS Marketplace and AWS GovCloud Marketplace gives our customers access to a solution that enables comprehensive monitoring of their workloads from the critical point of migration, to long after the application is running in AWS infrastructure.


I’ve long worried that Splunk’s proposition was less powerful than it could have been – it was seen primarily as plumbing and other vendors had the luxury of being the pretty stuff on top of that. By partnering with AWS to deliver a “best of both worlds” scenario, Splunk is trying to ensure they stake their claim to some of the sexy stuff too.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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