Splunk® Enterprise

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About searching with time

How timestamps are used

Timestamp processing is a key step in event processing. Splunk software uses timestamps to:

  • Correlate events by time
  • Create the timeline histogram in Splunk Web
  • Set time ranges for searches

Splunk software adds timestamps to events at index time. Timestamp values are assigned automatically by using information that the software finds in the raw event data. See How timestamp assignment works in Getting Data In.

Timestamp formats

Splunk software sometimes represents time in UNIX time. Time represented this way appears as a series of numbers, for example 1518632124. You can use any UNIX time converter to convert the UNIX time to either GMT or your local time.

The _time field

The _time field is in UNIX time. In Splunk Web, the _time field appears in a human readable format in the UI but is stored in UNIX time.

Specify narrow time ranges

When you start a new search, the default time range is Last 24 hours. This range helps to avoid running searches with overly-broad time ranges that waste system resources and produce more results than you really need.

Whether you are running a new search, a report, or creating a dashboard, it is important to narrow the time range to only the dates or times that you really need.

Time is also crucial for determining what went wrong. You often know when something happened, if not exactly what happened. By looking at events that happened around the same time that something went wrong, can help correlate results and find the root cause of the problem.

This section discusses how to use time to narrow your search and how to group events in your search by time.

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Select time ranges to apply to your search

This documentation applies to the following versions of Splunk® Enterprise: 6.5.1612 (Splunk Cloud only), 6.6.0, 6.6.1, 6.6.2, 6.6.3, 6.6.4, 6.6.5, 6.6.6, 6.6.7, 6.6.8, 6.6.9, 6.6.10, 7.0.0, 7.0.1, 7.0.2, 7.0.3, 7.0.4, 7.0.5, 7.1.0, 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 7.1.3


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