Splunk® Enterprise

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View search job properties

The Search Job Inspector is a tool that lets you take a closer look at what your search is doing and see where the Splunk software is spending most of its time.

This topic discusses how to use the Search Job Inspector to both troubleshoot the performance of a search job and understand the behavior of knowledge objects such as event types, tags, lookups and so on within the search. For more information, see Manage search jobs in this manual.

Open the Search job inspector

You can access the Search job inspector for a search job, as long as the search job has not expired (which means that the search artifact still exists). The search does not need to be running to access the Search job inspector.

1. Run the search.

2. From the Job menu, select Inspect Job.

This opens the Search job inspector in a separate window.

View the properties of a search job

You can use the URL to inspect a search job artifact if you have its search ID (SID). You can find the SID of a search in the Job Manager (click the Jobs link in the upper right hand corner) or listed in Splunk's dispatch directory, $SPLUNK_HOME/var/run/splunk/dispatch . For more information about the Job Manager, see Manage search jobs in this manual.

If you look at the URI path for the Search Job Inspector window, you will see something like this at the end of the string:


The sid is the SID number. The namespace is the name of the app that the SID is associated with. In this example, the SID is 1299600721.22.

Type the search artifact SID in the URI path, after sid= and press Enter. As long as you have the necessary ownership permissions to view the search, you will be able to inspect it.

Now, what exactly are you looking at?

What the Search Job Inspector shows you

At the top of the Search Job Inspector window, an information message appears. The message depends on whether the job is paused, running, or finished. For example, if the job is finished the message tells you how many results it found and the time it took to complete the search. Any error messages are also displayed at the top of the window.

The key information that the Search Job Inspector displays are the execution costs and the search job properties.

Execution costs
The Execution costs section lists information about the components of the search and how much impact each component has on the overall performance of the search.
Search job properties
The Search job properties section lists other characteristics of the job.

Execution costs

With the information in the Execution costs section, you can troubleshoot the efficiency of your search. You can narrow down which processing components are impacting the search performance. This section contains information about the search processing components that were used to process your search.

  • The component durations in seconds.
  • How many times each component was invoked while the search ran.
  • The input and output event counts for each component.

The Search Job Inspector lists the components alphabetically. The number of components that you see depend on the search that you run.

The following tables describes the significance of each individual command and distributed component in a typical keyword search.

Execution costs of search commands

In general, for each command that is part of the search job, there is a parameter command.<command_name>. The values for these parameters represent the time spent in processing each <command_name>. For example, if the table command is used, you will see command.table.

Search command component name Description
command.search After the Splunk software identifies the events that contain the indexed fields matching your search, the events are analyzed to identify which events match the other search criteria. These are concurrent operations, not consecutive.
  • command.search.index - tells how long it took to look into the TSIDX files for the location to read in the raw data. This is the time spent identifying, from the tokens in the base search, what events to retrieve.
  • command.search.rawdata - tells how long it took to read the actual events from the rawdata files.
  • command.search.typer - tells how long it took to assign event types to events.
  • command.search.kv - tells how long it took to apply field extractions to the events.
  • command.search.fieldalias - tells how long it took to rename fields based according to props.conf.
  • command.search.lookups - tells how long it took to create new fields based on existing fields (perform field lookups).
  • command.search.filter - tells how long it took to filter out events that do not match, for example fields and phrases.
  • command.search.tags - tells how long it took to assign tags to events.

There is a relationship between the type of commands used and the numbers you can expect to see for Invocations, Input count, and Output count. For searches that generate events, you expect the input count to be 0 and the output count to be some number of events X. If the search is both a generating search and a filtering search, the filtering search would have an input (equal to the output of the generating search, X) and an output=X. The total counts would then be input=X, output=2*X, and the invocation count is doubled.

Execution costs of dispatched searches

Distributed search component name Description
dispatch.check_disk_usage The time spent checking the disk usage of this job.
dispatch.createdSearchResultInfrastructure The time to create and set up the collectors for each peer and execute the HTTP post to each peer.
dispatch.earliest_time Specifies the earliest time for this search. Can be a relative or absolute time. The default is an empty string.
dispatch.emit_prereport_files When running a transforming search, Splunk Enterprise cannot compute the statistical results of the report until the search completes. After it fetches events from the search peers (dispatch.fetch), it, writes out the results to local files. dispatch.emit_prereport_files provides the time that it takes for Splunk Enterprise to write the transforming search results to those local files.
dispatch.evaluate The time spent parsing the search and setting up the data structures needed to run the search. This component also includes the time it takes to evaluate and run subsearches. This is broken down further for each search command that is used. In general, dispatch.evaluate.<command_name> tells you the time spent parsing and evaluating the <command_name> argument. For example, dispatch.evaluate.search indicates the time spent evaluating and parsing the searchcommand argument.
dispatch.fetch The time spent by the search head waiting for or fetching events from search peers. The dispatch.fetch value is different than the command.search value. The command.search value includes time spent by all indexers, which can be greater than the actual elapsed time of the search. If you have only a single node, then the dispatch.fetch and the command.search values will be similar. In a distributed environment, depending on the search, these values can be very different.
dispatch.preview The time spent generating preview results.
dispatch.process_remote_timeline The time spent decoding timeline information generated by search peers.
dispatch.reduce The time spend reducing the intermediate report output.
dispatch.stream.local The time spent by search head on the streaming part of the search.
dispatch.stream.remote The time spent executing the remote search in a distributed search environment, aggregated across all peers. Additionally, the time spent executing the remote search on each remote search peer is indicated with: dispatch.stream.remote.<search_peer_name>. output_count represents bytes sent rather than events in this case.
dispatch.timeline The time spent generating the timeline and fields sidebar information.
dispatch.writeStatus The time spent periodically updating status.csv and info.csv in the job's dispatch directory.
startup.handoff The time elapsed between the forking of a separate search process and the beginning of useful work of the forked search processes. In other words it is the approximate time it takes to build the search apparatus. This is cumulative across all involved peers. If this takes a long time, it could be indicative of I/O issues with .conf files or the dispatch directory.

Search job properties

The Search job properties fields provide information about the search job. The Search job properties fields are listed in alphabetical order.

Parameter name Description
cursorTime The earliest time from which no events are later scanned. Can be used to indicate progress. See description for doneProgress.
delegate For saved searches, specifies jobs that were started by the user. Defaults to scheduler.
diskUsage The total amount of disk space used, in bytes.
dispatchState The state of the search. Can be any of QUEUED, PARSING, RUNNING, PAUSED, FINALIZING, FAILED, or DONE.
doneProgress A number between 0 and 1.0 that indicates the approximate progress of the search.

doneProgress = (latestTime – cursorTime) / (latestTime – earliestTime)

dropCount For real-time searches only, the number of possible events that were dropped due to the rt_queue_size (defaults to 100000).
earliestTime The earliest time a search job is configured to start. Can be used to indicate progress. See description for doneProgress.
eai:acl Describes the app and user-level permissions. For example, is the app shared globally, and what users can run or view the search?
eventAvailableCount The number of events that are available for export.
eventCount The number of events returned by the search.
eventFieldCount The number of fields found in the search results.
eventIsStreaming Indicates if the events of this search are being streamed.
eventIsTruncated Indicates if events of the search have not been stored, and thus not available from the events endpoint for the search.
eventSearch Subset of the entire search that is before any transforming commands. The timeline and events endpoint represents the result of this part of the search.
eventSorting Indicates if the events of this search are sorted, and in which order. asc = ascending; desc = descending; none = not sorted
isBatchMode Indicates whether or not the search in running in batch mode. This applies only to searches that include transforming commands.
isDone Indicates if the search has completed.
isFailed Indicates if there was a fatal error executing the search. For example, if the search string had invalid syntax.
isFinalized Indicates if the search was finalized (stopped before completion).
isPaused Indicates if the search has been paused.
isPreviewEnabled Indicates if previews are enabled.
isRealTimeSearch Indicates if the search is a real time search.
isRemoteTimeline Indicates if the remote timeline feature is enabled.
isSaved Indicates that the search job is saved, storing search artifacts on disk for 7 days from the last time that the job has been viewed or touched. Add or edit the default_save_ttl value in limits.conf to override the default value of 7 days.
isSavedSearch Indicates if this is a saved search run using the scheduler.
isTimeCursored Specifies if the cursorTime can be trusted or not. Typically this parameter it set to true if the first command is search.
isZombie Indicates if the process running the search is dead, but with the search not finished.
keywords All positive keywords used by this search. A positive keyword is a keyword that is not in a NOT clause.
label Custom name created for this search.
latestTime The latest time a search job is configured to start. Can be used to indicate progress. See description for doneProgress.
numPreviews Number of previews that have been generated so far for this search job.
messages Errors and debug messages.
optimizedSearch The restructured syntax for the search that was run. The built-in optimizers analyze your search and restructure the search syntax, where possible, to improve search performance. The search that you ran is displayed under the search job property.
performance This is another representation of the Execution costs.
remoteSearch The search string that is sent to every search peer.
reportSearch If reporting commands are used, the reporting search.
request GET arguments that the search sends to splunkd.
resultCount The total number of results returned by the search. In other words, this is the subset of scanned events (represented by the scanCount) that actually matches the search terms.
resultIsStreaming Indicates if the final results of the search are available using streaming (for example, no transforming operations).
resultPreviewCount The number of result rows in the latest preview results.
runDuration Time in seconds that the search took to complete.
scanCount The number of events that are scanned or read off disk.
search The search string.
searchCanBeEventType If the search can be saved as an event type, this will be 1, otherwise, 0.

Only base searches (no subsearches or pipes) can be saved as event types.

searchProviders A list of all the search peers that were contacted.
sid The search ID number.
statusBuckets Maximum number of timeline buckets.
ttl The time to live, or time before the search job expires after it completes.
Additional info Links to further information about your search. These links may not always be available.
  • timeline
  • field summary
  • search.log

Note: When troubleshooting search performance, it's important to understand the difference between the scanCount and resultCount costs. For dense searches, the scanCount and resultCount are similar (scanCount = resultCount); and for sparse searches, the scanCount is much greater than the result count (scanCount >> resultCount). Search performance should not so much be measured using the resultCount/time rate but scanCount/time instead. Typically, the scanCount/second event rate should hover between 10k and 20k events per second for performance to be deemed good.

Debug messages

Configure the Search Job Inspector to display DEBUG messages when there are errors in your search. For example, DEBUG messages can warn you when there are fields missing from your results.

The Search Job Inspector displays DEBUG messages at the top of the Search Job Inspector window, after the search has completed.

By default the Search Job Inspector hides DEBUG messages. To configure their display, open limits.conf and set the infocsv_log_level parameter in the [search_info] stanza to INFO.

infocsv_log_level = INFO

Examples of Search Job Inspector output

Here's an example of the execution costs for a dedup search, run over All time:

* | dedup punct

The search commands component of the Execution costs panel might look something like this:


The command.search component and everything under it, gives you the performance impact of the search command portion of your search, which is everything before the pipe character.

Then, command.prededup gives you the performance impact of processing the results of the search command before passing it into the dedup command. The Input count of command.prededup matches the Output count of command.search, and the Input count of command.prededup matches the Output count of command.prededup. In this case, the Output count of command.prededup should match the number of events returned at the completion of the search (which is the value of resultCount, under Search job properties).


Have questions? Visit Splunk Answers and see what questions and answers the Splunk community has about using the Search Job Inspector.

Manage search jobs
Dispatch directory and search artifacts

This documentation applies to the following versions of Splunk® Enterprise: 6.5.0, 6.5.1, 6.5.1612 (Splunk Cloud only), 6.5.2, 6.5.3, 6.5.4, 6.5.5, 6.6.0, 6.6.1, 6.6.2


Under Execution Cost section: I don't understand this paragraph, is it correct?
There is a relationship between the type of commands used and the numbers you can expect to see for Invocations, Input count, and Output count. For searches that generate events, you expect the input count to be 0 and the output count to be some number of events X. If the search is both a generating search and a filtering search, the filtering search would have an input (equal to the output of the generating search, X) and an output=X. The total counts would then be input=X, output=2*X, and the invocation count is doubled.

Bmcclary splunk, Splunker
October 14, 2016

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