Splunk lets organizations leverage public clouds, on-premises data centers, apps and services, and third-party tools to derive useful insights from data. There are numerous opportunities in some of the leading companies across the globe for individuals to move ahead as a Splunk Administration Analyst. To help you in your career path, we have listed some of the most important Splunk admin interview questions and answers.

Splunk Admin Interview Questions and Answers

1. Explain how Splunk works?

Splunk works in three stages, namely the data input, data storage, and data searching stage, which are elaborated below-

  • Data Input Stage- Splunk consumes raw data from various sources and breaks them into 64K blocks. These blocks are then annotated with metadata keys.
  • Data Storage Stage- The data is then analyzed to extract relevant data from it in the parsing phase, followed by an indexing phase, which involves writing the parsed events into the index queue.
  • Data Searching Stage- This stage involves various operations, such as accessing, viewing, and using the index data by the user.

2. How to add the colors in Splunk UI based on the field names?

While the colors are picked by default in Splunk UI, you can also assign the colors of your choice to charts when creating reports. For this, you can go to the dashboard and edit the panels in it. Followed by this, you can choose the color after modifying the panel's settings. Colors can also be assigned by writing certain commands or codes, which allows you to choose colors by opting for hexadecimal values. 

3. How does the data age in Splunk?

When data ages, it passes through various buckets, which are hot, warm, cold, frozen, and thawed.

  • Upon getting indexed, the data moves into the warm bucket. The data in the warm bucket is continuously written and can be actively searched.
  • When Splunk is restarted or when the warm bucket reaches its intended size, the data rolls from hot to the warm bucket. While you can search for data on a warm bucket, it is not written actively.
  • When the warm bucket reaches its maximum limit, the data again moves from the warm bucket to the cold bucket, wherein the oldest data from the warm bucket is first sent to the cold bucket.
  • After a certain duration, the data moves from cold to frozen bucket and the data is either deleted or archived. 

4. What are pivots and data models in Splunk?

Data models in Splunk are useful when there is a large amount of unstructured data, which is converted to a structured hierarchical model of the data without running complex search queries. Pivots allow users to create front views of the results, and select the right filter to have a better view of the results. 

5. Explain Workflow Actions.

Workflow actions are used for automating certain tasks after you have assigned rules and scheduled and created reports. Workflow actions are useful for retrieving a specific set of data and sending it to other fields, and it can also be useful in performing drill-down into a specific list with information, such as ID addresses and usernames. 

6. How many types of dashboards are available in Splunk?

Here are the different types of Splunk dashboards-

  • Dynamic form-based dashboards- In dynamic form-based dashboards, you can make changes to the data on the dashboard without leaving the page. And based on the selection made and input fields added, such as text boxes, time, dropdowns, etc., you can easily customize the dashboard as well. This type of dashboard is ideal for data analysis and troubleshooting.
  • Static real-time dashboards- You can use a static real-time dashboard when you need a large-screen display of the data with indicators and alerts that you can respond to promptly.
  • Scheduled dashboards- Scheduled dashboards allow you to share them with other team members as they can be downloaded as PDF files. This is a useful feature as active live dashboards may not be allowed to be viewed by certain users.

7. What are the types of alerts available in Splunk?

There are two types of alerts available in Splunk, which are scheduled and real-time. You can choose one of the alert types based on your utility. While scheduled alerts can be chosen from the timing options and are set to search based on the opted timing, real-time alerts search continuously and are triggered whenever there is a search result. 

8. Define the term “Search factor” and “Replication factor”.

Search Factor and Replication Factor are functions pertaining to search head clustering and index clustering. 

  • Search Factor- Associated with index clustering, Search factor helps in figuring out the number of searchable data copies maintained by the indexing cluster. The default value of the search factor is 2. 
  • Replication Factor- Associated with both search head clustering and index clustering, replication factor is helpful in determining the number of data copies maintained by an indexer cluster as well as the minimum number of search artifact copies maintained by a search head cluster. The default value for replication factor is 3.

9. How to stop/start the Splunk service?

The Splunk service can be stopped or started using the following commands-

  • To start Splunk services ./splunk start
  • To stop Splunk services ./splunk stop

10. What is the use of Time Zone property in Splunk?

When any data is entered in Splunk, it picks up the time zone when the entry is made. To add time zones, Splunk picks the time zone that is defined in your browser. Likewise, your browser picks up the time zone based on your computer system. It is only when you search for a particular event in the right time zone that you will be able to find it.

11. What are the important Search commands in Splunk?

The following are some important search commands that are available on Splunk-

  • Abstract- It is used for displaying a brief summary of the text of the search results, which is carried out by creating a summary version of the text rather than displaying the original text.
  • Addtotals- Addtotals is used for summing up the numerical fields, and it also allows you to specify only certain fields to sum up instead of calculating the sum for every field.
  • Accum- Accum is the command that helps calculate the accumulated sum of a numerical field.
  • Filldown- When you need to replace a set of NULL values with the last non-NULL value for a specific field, you can use the Filldown command to achieve the result. When the list of fields is not mentioned, you can apply Filldown to all the fields.
  • Typer- It helps with calculating the eventtype field for search results that match a certain type of event.
  • Rename- This command is used for renaming a specific field, and you can also choose multiple fields to run this command with the help of wildcards.
  • Anomalies- When calculating the “unexpected” score for a specific event, you use the command anomalies.

12. How many types of search modes are there in Splunk?

There are three types of settings in Splunk, which are Fast, Verbose, and Smart. 

  • Fast Search Mode- This mode is useful when users intend to speed up searches. This is done by limiting the data types that the search returns. 
  • Verbose Search Mode- The Verbose mode is used for returning the maximum amount of event information. However, this mode has a very slow search performance compared to the fast search mode. 
  • Smart Search Mode- Based on what your search contains, smart mode toggles search behavior. When your search contains transforming commands, the smart search mode behaves like fast mode, and for commands other than transforming commands, it assumes the role of verbose mode. 
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