Overview of the Splunk Common Information Model
The Splunk Common Information Model (CIM) is a shared semantic model focused on extracting value from data. The CIM is implemented as an add-on that contains a collection of data models, documentation, and tools that support the consistent, normalized treatment of data for maximum efficiency at search time.
The CIM add-on contains a collection of preconfigured data models that you can apply to your data at search time. Each data model in the CIM consists of a set of field names and tags that define the least common denominator of a domain of interest. You can use these data models to normalize and validate data at search time, accelerate key data in searches and dashboards, or create new reports and visualizations with Pivot.
The add-on also contains several tools that are intended to make analysis, validation, and alerting easier and more consistent. These tools include a custom command for CIM validation and a common action model, which is the common information model for custom alert actions. See Approaches to using the CIM for more information about the tools available in the CIM add-on.
Why the CIM exists
The CIM helps you to normalize your data to match a common standard, using the same field names and event tags for equivalent events from different sources or vendors. The CIM acts as a search-time schema ("schema-on-the-fly") to allow you to define relationships in the event data while leaving the raw machine data intact.
After you have normalized the data from multiple different source types, you can develop reports, correlation searches, and dashboards to present a unified view of a data domain. You can display your normalized data in the dashboards provided by other Splunk applications such as Splunk Enterprise Security and the Splunk App for PCI Compliance. The dashboards and other reporting tools in apps that support CIM compliance display only the data that is normalized to the tags and fields defined by the Common Information Model.
The Splunk Common Information Model add-on is packaged with Splunk Enterprise Security and the Splunk App for PCI Compliance.
How to use this manual
The Data Models chapter of this manual provides reference documentation for the fields and tags that make up each data model. Refer to the reference tables to determine what tags and fields are expected for each dataset in a data model as you work to normalize a new data source to the CIM. See How to use these reference tables.
This manual also provides a step-by-step guide for how to apply the CIM to your data at search time. The Using the Common Information Model chapter of the manual includes a walkthrough of the procedure you should follow to
- Use the CIM to normalize data at search time
- Use the CIM to validate your data
- Use the CIM to create reports and dashboards
- Use the common action model to build a custom alert action.
The manual also includes two detailed examples that further demonstrate how to use the CIM to normalize data at search time.
What data models are included
The data models are included in the Splunk Common Information Model Add-on. You can find the JSON implementations of the data models in
For a list of data models, see CIM fields per associated data model.
For cloud purposes, there is not one specific data model. Most of the cloud data fields are mapped to existing data models. For example, authentication is authentication regardless if it's in the cloud or not. For samples of how events map differently from various cloud providers such as AWS, Azure, and GCP to CIM data model field names, see the following field mappings:
- Authentication Field Mapping
- Change Field Mapping
- Network Traffic Field Mapping
- Data Access Field Mapping
For use cases on cloud data sources, see the following resources:
How the Splunk CIM compares to the DMTF CIM
The Splunk Common Information Model is an independent standard, unaffiliated with the Distributed Management Task Force CIM.
The DMTF CIM is different from the Splunk CIM. The DMTF is more hierarchical, more complex, and more comprehensive than the Splunk CIM. In the DMTF CIM, all models inherit from a single parent node, with child nodes for each model, then additional branching child nodes for sub-concepts. Thus, the DMTF's individual sub-nodes can be very complex with multiple branches in order to define most possible configurations.
In contrast, the Splunk CIM is relatively flat, simple, and flexible, because it defines only the least common denominator of concepts in a given domain rather than all possible concepts in the domain. The Splunk CIM defines fewer concepts than the DMTF CIM in order to give the developer maximum flexibility.
This manual assumes you are familiar with the full data lifecycle in the Splunk platform. If you are not yet sure how to get your data in, see Getting Data In for more information on how to set up the Splunk platform to accept new data or to learn about the types of data the Splunk platform can index.
To get started, see Install the Common Information Model Add-on.
Install the Splunk Common Information Model Add-on
This documentation applies to the following versions of Splunk® Common Information Model Add-on: 5.0.1, 5.0.2, 5.1.0