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Dawn of the Dead Data Webinar Recap

Written by Perry Correll

November 7, 2022

Last week, on Halloween I hosted the Dawn of the Dead Data webinar – all about how Observability data growth is overwhelming our ability to handle it. Put another way – Our ability to collect data now exceeds our ability to analyze it. Thanks to all of you who attended, and I wanted to follow up with the attendees as well as those who were not able to join with a quick recap on what we discussed. If you missed the call or if you just want to watch it again, you can watch it on-demand here.

As promised, it wasn’t the same old marketing presentation on why one vendor’s solution was better than the next. Instead, we focused on the huge and growing volumes of collected data, which continues to grow at over 23% CAGR. This presents challenges in not just storing and paying for the storage, but also the ability to analyze the data, which was the whole purpose to collect it in the first place. And as I said in the first paragraph, our ability to collect data now exceeds our ability to analyze it. This isn’t just a system problem; it is a resource problem and the biggest of these license costs and limited budgets. As a result, collected data get saved off, maybe to be analyzed at a later time, but truth be told the vast amount of this data sits unexplored and unused. What we identified as Zombie data, is not quite dead, but not any value in its current state of just sitting in some data store, and potentially could impact the reliability, security, and performance of your network.

During the webinar we asked a few poll questions; the most interesting question was – Where is the most likely place Zombie data exists in your network? (Attendees could select more than one). Answers in order of preference are:

  1. In the System of Analysis
  2. My storage (On-Prem & Cloud)
  3. My Edge Systems – still on the host that generated it
  4. Other File Systems / Locations

Answers 2-4 were mostly in-line with expectations, but #1 surprised me. The majority of responders believed the most likely place zombie data exists in their enterprise is in their systems of analysis. This tells me they spent the time and money to collect and ingest this data but have yet to truly examine it for the potential value and insights it could offer. It also implies that data collecting

After explaining what Zombie data is and how it is created, we then offered some ways to eliminate or at least reduce its volume, this included :

  • ‘Vaccinate Your Data’ before it gets to your system of analysis
  • Use Cribl Stream which supports over 80 different sources and destinations, and is able to shape and route your data while in transit. It offers the ability to route, reduce, redact, replace, aggregate, and enrich the data, all while in motion, and then route it to the destination or destinations of choice.
  • Eliminate unneeded data being forwarded to a destination where it will cost budget to ingest and lay dormant and unexplored.
  • ‘Perform Data Dialysis’ – take that data you have already placed in an object store and run it through a pipeline to ‘re-wash’ it. See if there is any value to be gained by spending the time and money to ingest it into your systems of analysis.
  • Finally discover data that does have value, and only then consume ingest license costs before you act. This can be accomplished by querying ‘data-in-place’, still on the generating host, or even already stored. Then only do your deeper analysis on the data with potential value, not every piece of machine data created.

By the end of the webinar hopefully, we were able to provide you with the knowledge to examine your own enterprise and evaluate where zombie data may exist and some of the tools available to you to take action. Hopefully, you now have a better idea of how you can easily, and cost-effectively shape and reduce the data you collect to optimize the operation of your existing analysis system while saving a large amount money in both data ingestion and storage.

Watch the One Demand Version of the Webinar

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