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SolarWinds vs. Splunk: Comparing Two Leading SIEM Solutions

By Elliot Anderson  |  February 9, 2021

SolarWinds Log Event Manager and Splunk Enterprise Security are two of the top security information and event management tools. Both SIEM solutions differ but offer high-performing features that simplify threat detection and response within expansive networks.

Here, we look at key differentiators between both options. To effectively compare both options, the following criteria were chosen for their importance to the threat detection and response process, will apply:

  • Threat Intelligence – Discovering threats through telemetry analysis improves overall security and reduces the number of false alarms. This criterion focuses on the capabilities of the threat intelligence framework of both SIEM solutions.
  • Behavioral Profiling and Analysis – Data tells important stories concerning the state of an IT infrastructure’s security, but contextual analysis is needed to gain insight into what captured data, events, and logs say. This criterion focuses on the behavioral profiling capabilities of both options.
  • Application Monitoring – Your entire IT environment is run by applications that must be monitored and managed to get optimized performances that keep your business running. Thus, the ability to monitor app security and performance is a key function of SIEM solutions.
  • Ease of Deployment, Available Support, and Ease of Use – Everyone requires extensive support from time to time when dealing with IT security. This includes experienced security teams and non-technical staff manning visualization screens. Although the level of technical support the former and the latter requires may differ, the simplicity of using a SIEM tool is an important deciding factor for most organizations.

Threat Intelligence

SolarWinds is more than a SIEM tool as it offers other services across the database management, network performance monitoring space, among other services, but our focus is on its SIEM capabilities.

SolarWinds relies on data centralization to collect logs and data lists and to monitor threats with results displayed using an interactive dashboard. It is important to note that SolarWinds is only available as a virtual appliance, which means it is pre-configured to a large extent and can efficiently run through an IT infrastructure.

SolarWinds takes a proactive approach to threat intelligence through intelligence feeds that are updated continuously to showcase real-time incidents, thus simplifying response. According to its website, it leverages 700 built-in correlation rules and hundreds of admin responses to automate threat detection and response. SolarWinds is a reliable option for small to medium-sized businesses.

Splunk bills itself as a security operations suite that business organizations can apply to optimize cybersecurity defenses through accurate data analysis. This means, like SolarWinds, it offers more comprehensive security services include SIEM. Splunk SEIM threat intelligent features deliver end-to-end visibility into expansive IT networks through a visualization dashboard, simplifying the detection and response process.

Splunk applies machine learning and predictive analysis to deliver a proactive threat intelligence solution that ensures security incidents are accurately detected in real-time. According to Splunk, its advanced use of predictive analytics alongside automated playbooks can discover threats 30 minutes in advance, thus ensuring that end-users can react quickly. Splunk isn’t a virtual appliance, and it provides its services to both SMBs and larger organizations.

Both Splunk and SolarWinds are recognized for their ability to provide high-performing threat intelligence solutions. According to Gartner Peer Reviews, Splunk gets a rating of 4.4 with more reviews, while SolarWinds is rated 3.8 for by much fewer users.

Behavioral Analysis

SolarWinds rely on behavioral analysis when sifting through large data sets to discover patterns and gain insight into specific threat profiles and bad agents. Its application of behavioral analysis is backed by its cyber threat intelligence product and machine learning.

The extensive behavioral analytics capabilities Splunk provides ensures end-users can prepare to quickly identify hacking attempts through well-known actors such as DDoS or phishing attacks, as well as more complex hacking technologies.

Splunk once again relies on machine learning to detect anomalous behavioral patterns and analyze the intent behind them. The application of machine learning ensures Splunk can trace anomalous behavior from diverse endpoints to discover any common determine factor behind specific security incidents. The insight this provides ensures threats are dealt with from the root source with high accuracy.

Splunk also offers a dedicated product, the Splunk User Behavior Analytics, to complement its SIEM tool’s behavioral analytical capabilities.

Reviewers on Gartner Peer Review show an average rating of 4.7 for Splunk’s behavioral profiling and analytics solution, while SolarWinds gets a rating of 3.5 with fewer reviewers.

Application Monitoring

SolarWinds offer robust application monitoring and management tools that ensure security teams and non-technical individuals can troubleshoot both complex and simplistic issues through its information dashboard. SolarWinds offers “Pingdom and Web Performance Monitor,” two features for analyzing both on-premise and cloud-based applications for web applications monitoring and management.

Other solutions SolarWinds offer include “AppOptics and Loggly” for monitoring SaaS-based applications, cloud applications, and hybrid applications running through multiple environments.

Splunk takes app monitoring to the next level through its suite of products aptly named Splunk Application Performance Monitoring (APM). Splunk APM is explicitly built for cloud-based applications and applies an open standard approach to collecting data from libraries and diverse app platforms to ensure every application within an enterprise network can be monitored.

Splunk leverage AI to simplify errant troubleshooting applications to find root causes and continuously monitor app performances. Gartner Peer Review on both solutions application monitoring and management capabilities show a rating of 4.8 for Splunk and 3.3 for SolarWinds.

Ease of Use and Support

As a virtual appliance, SolarWinds is easily deployed and used within expansive IT infrastructure, unlike Splunk, which requires some manual configuration activities. Both solution providers also provide extensive after-sales support to ensure customers get started with using the SIEM tools they offer quickly.

SMBs who make use of SolarWinds appreciate its ease of use features, and this can be seen from its rating of 4.6 compared to Splunk’s 4.2 ratings on Gartner Peer Review. SolarWinds also scores a high rating of 4.7 for its support, while Splunk is rated at 4.6.


Choosing the right SIEM for your organization can be challenging. Depending on your specific organization’s needs, existing architecture, and preferred software and vendors, there is a lot to consider. Lumifi provides essential consultation and engineering when implementing a SIEM solution within a client environment. Contact us today to take your security to the next level.

By Elliot Anderson

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