Difference Between Splunk Universal Forwarder and Heavy Forwarder?
- July 28, 2020
- Posted by: Laraonline2020
- Category: Splunk
Difference Between Splunk Universal Forwarder and Heavy Forwarder?
One of the foremost commonly asked questions in Splunk is that the difference between universal forwarder and heavy forwarder. during this post, I’ll explain the difference and suggest when to use certain sort of forwarder.
What is a Splunk Forwarder?
A Splunk forwarder reads data from a knowledge source and forwards to a different Splunk or Non-Splunk process. it’s one among the core components of Splunk platform, the others being Splunk indexer and Splunk search head.
While there are some ways to urge data into Splunk platform, Splunk Universal Forwarder is far and away the foremost common thanks to get data in. the opposite ways of getting data in, sorted by the recognition , based strictly on my experience:
1. Splunk Heavy Forwarder
2. HTTP Event Collector
3. TCP Input
4. Syslog input
5. Splunk Apps like DBConnect
6. Custom modular inputs
7. Scripted input
There are two sorts of Splunk forwarders, namely Universal Forwarder and Heavy Forwarder.
So, what does the Universal Forwarder do Anyway?
The basic yet the crucial task that Universal Forwarders perform is to gather and send the info to other Splunk processes, typically to the Splunk Indexers. At the indexers, the info is broken to Events and indexed for searching. Universal Forwarders are typically installed on the machines where the source data resides.
Examples include application servers, web servers, directory servers then on.
The Splunk Universal Forwarder binary is somewhat almost like that of Splunk Indexer or Search Head, but it’s stripped down bare-bone version. it’s Very light weight and designed to run on production systems.
Note: One major complaint you’ll get from application owners is about the resource utilization of Splunk Universal Forwarders. they’re skeptical that Universal Forwarder will take down their server, or perhaps take up all the resources and leave nothing for his or her applications.
While nothing is impossible within the complex world of IT, I can confidently say that Splunk Universal Forwarder is one among the foremost efficient software you’ll determine there. the sole reason Universal Forwarder may consume significant resources (4gb+ memory) is when thousands of files are being configured to ingest.
The Universal Forwarder performs the subsequent when collecting and sending data:
1. Reads the input file source (often files and directories)
2. Keeps track of the progress of the reading (it does that by storing hash values during a special index called fishbucket which resides on the Universal Forwarder)
3. Sets the meta fields within the data like
4. Optionally performs encryption
5. Optionally performs compression
6. Runs scripts for scripted input
7. Performs parsing for structured data like CSV files.
Note: Splunk Universal Forwarders perform very minimal processing. the sole time it does any parsing is when the input may be a structured file like CSV files.
The primary configuration files that drive the functionality of a Universal Forwarder are inputs.conf and outputs.conf.
In Unix servers, the Splunk Universal Forwarder runs as a process named Splunk. you’ll optionally configure Splunk to run as a system service. On Windows serves, Universal Forwarder is usually installed as a Windows service.
You do not need a separate license to run a Splunk Universal Forwarder. It comes with a built-in license.
That’s Fine. But What within the World may be a Splunk Heavy Forwarder?
I don’t blame the frustration in your question. it’s confusing, is it not? HEAVY Forwarder? So, let’s put your frustration to finish.
The major difference between Splunk Universal Forwarder and Splunk Heavy Forwarder is PARSING & INDEXING. Splunk Universal Forwarders don’t parse the info (except when the info is structured files like CSV). Heavy Forwarders parse the info, which incorporates the following:
1. Perform Line breaking
2. Perform Line merging
3. Extracts Time stamps
4. Extracts Index-time fields
The Splunk Heavy Forwarders can optionally index the info also, albeit most of times, they forward the info to the indexer where the info is written to the index. Note that when the info comes from an important Forwarder, indexers don’t parse the info again. Parsing happens at the Heavy Forwarders.
The primary configuration files that drive the functionality of an important Forwarder are inputs.conf, outputs.conf, props.conf, transforms.conf.
Generally Heavy Forwarders are used as intermediary between Universal Forwarders and indexers. for instance , multiple Universal Forwarders can send data to at least one Heavy Forwarder, and it successively send the info to Indexers. Heavy Forwarders also can send data to non-Splunk destinations, like a big-data datalake. Heavy Forwarders also are wont to run Splunk add-ons that receive data from external sources.
Splunk HTTP Event collector
Splunk Salesforce Add-on to tug data from Salesforce
Splunk New Relic Add-on to tug data from New Relic
Figure 2 shows a typical Splunk Heavy Forwarder setup:
Unlike Universal Forwarders, Splunk Heavy Forwarders do require a Forwarder License. If the Heavy Forwarder also must index the info , it must have access to Splunk Enterprise license stack.
To sum it up, here are the differences between Universal Forwarder and Heavy
|Splunk Universal Forwarder binary
|Splunk Enterprise binary (used by Indexers, Search Heads and other Splunk processes)
|Collects and sends data to Indexers or Heavy Forwarders
|Receives data from Universal Forwarders and sends it to Indexers, or other third party data stores. Acts as intermediary in routing data
|Does not parse data (except when the data is structured such as CSV)
|Parses data, which includes Line breaking, timestamp extraction and extracting index-time fields
|Cannot index data
|Can optionally index data
|Built-in license. No additional license required
|Forwarder license required. Requires access to Enterprise license stack if indexing is required.
Use Universal Forwarder once you got to collect data from a server or application and send it to Indexers. this is often the foremost common thanks to get data into Splunk. Use Heavy Forwarder once you got to use an intermediary between Universal Forwarders and Indexers. Note that when Heavy Forwarders are used, data parsing happens within the Heavy Forwarders. Also use Heavy Forwarders once you got to run add-ons like Splunk DBConnect. Finally, if you would like forward data to a third-party data store, use Heavy Fowarders.
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