Splunk® Cloud Services

SPL2 Search Reference

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Event order functions

Use the event order functions to return values from fields based on the order in which the event is processed, which is not necessarily chronological or timestamp order.

For an overview of the stats functions, see Overview of SPL2 stats functions.

Chronological and timestamp order distinction

The following table lists the timestamps from a set of events returned from a search. This table identifies which event is returned when you use the first and last event order functions, and compares them with the earliest and latest time functions. See Time functions.


_time Event order function Description
2020-04-28 00:15:05 first This event is the first event in the search results. But this event is not chronologically the earliest event.
2020-05-01 00:15:04
2020-04-30 00:15:02
2020-04-28 00:15:01
2020-05-01 00:15:05 latest This event is chronologically the latest event in the search results.
2020-04-27 00:15:01 earliest

last

This event is both the chronologically earliest event and the last event in the search results.

first(<value>)

Returns the first seen value in a field.

The first seen value is the most recent instance of this field, based on the order in which the events are seen by the stats command.

The order in which the events are seen is not necessarily chronological order.

Usage

You can use this function with the stats, streamstats, and timechart commands.

  • To locate the first value based on time order, use the earliest function instead.
  • The first functions works best when the search includes the sort command immediately before the statistical or charting command.
  • This function processes field values as strings.

To use named arguments, you must specify the argument name before the argument value. For example:

... first(_raw)

Basic example

You run the following search to locate invalid user login attempts against a specific sshd (Secure Shell Daemon). You use the fields command to see the values in the _time, source, and _raw fields.

| FROM main WHERE `sourcetype=secure "invalid user" "sshd[5258]"` | fields _time, source, _raw


The results look something like this:

_time source _raw
2020-04-28 00:15:05 .../mailsv/secure.log Tue Apr 28 2020 00:15:05 mailsv1 sshd[5258]: Failed password for invalid user tomcat from 67.170.226.218 port 1490 ssh2
2020-05-01 00:15:04 .../www2/secure.log Fri May 01 2020 00:15:04 www2 sshd[5258]: Failed password for invalid user brian from 130.253.37.97 port 4284 ssh2
2020-04-30 00:15:02 .../www3/secure.log Thu Apr 30 2020 00:15:02 www3 sshd[5258]: Failed password for invalid user operator from 222.169.224.226 port 1711 ssh2
2020-04-28 00:15:01 .../www1/secure.log Tue Apr 28 2020 00:15:01 www1 sshd[5258]: Failed password for invalid user rightscale from 87.194.216.51 port 3361 ssh2
2020-05-01 00:15:05 .../mailsv/secure.log Fri May 01 2020 00:15:05 mailsv1 sshd[5258]: Failed password for invalid user testuser from 194.8.74.23 port 3626 ssh2
2020-04-27 00:15:01 .../www1/secure.log Mon Apr 27 2020 00:15:01 www1 sshd[5258]: Failed password for invalid user redmine from 91.208.184.24 port 3587 ssh2

You extend the search using the first function.

| FROM main WHERE `sourcetype=secure "invalid user" "sshd[5258]"` | fields _time, source, _raw | stats first(_raw)

The search returns the value for _raw field with the timestamp 2020-04-28 00:15:05, which is the first event in the original list of values returned.

first(_raw)
Tue Apr 28 2020 00:15:05 mailsv1 sshd[5258]: Failed password for invalid user tomcat from 67.170.226.218 port 1490 ssh2

Extended example

The Basic example uses the _raw field to show how the first function works. That's useful because the _raw field contains a timestamp. However, you can use the first function on any field.

Let's start by creating some results. You can use the makeresults command to create a series of results to test your search syntax. Include the streamstats command to count your results:

| FROM repeat({}, 5) | streamstats count()

The results look like this:

_time count
2020-05-09 14:35:58 1
2020-05-09 14:35:58 2
2020-05-09 14:35:58 3
2020-05-09 14:35:58 4
2020-05-09 14:35:58 5

With the count field, you can create different dates in the _time field, using the eval command.

| FROM repeat({}, 5) | streamstats count() | eval _time=_time-(count*3600)

Use 3600, the number of seconds in an hour, to create a series of hours. The calculation multiplies the value in the count field by the number of seconds in an hour. The result is subtracted from the original _time field to get new dates equivalent to 1 hours ago, 2 hours ago, and so forth.

The results look like this:

_time count
2020-05-09 13:45:24 1
2020-05-09 12:45:24 2
2020-05-09 11:45:24 3
2020-05-09 10:45:24 4
2020-05-09 09:45:24 5

The hours in the results begin with the 1 hour earlier than the original date, 2020-05-09 at 14:24. The minutes and seconds are slightly different because the date is refreshed each time you run the search.

Use the eval command to add a field to your search with values in descending order:

| FROM repeat({}, 5) | streamstats count() | eval _time=_time-(count*3600) | eval field1=20-count

The results look like this:

_time count field1
2020-05-09 14:45:24 1 19
2020-05-09 13:45:24 2 18
2020-05-09 12:45:24 3 17
2020-05-09 11:45:24 4 16
2020-05-09 10:45:24 5 15

As you can see from the results, the first result contains the highest number in field1. This shows the order in which the results were processed. The first result was processed first (20-1=19) followed by the remaining results in order.

When you add the first function to the search, the only value returned is the value in the field you specify:

| FROM repeat({}, 5) | streamstats count() | eval _time=_time-(count*3600) | eval field1=20-count | stats first(field1)

The results look like this:

SingleValue
19

last(<value>)

Returns the last seen value in a field.

The last seen value of the field is the oldest instance of this field, based on the order in which the events are seen by the stats command.

The order in which the events are seen is not necessarily chronological order.

Usage

You can use this function with the stats, streamstats, and timechart commands.

  • To locate the last value based on time order, use the latest function instead.
  • Works best when the search includes the sort command immediately before the statistics or charting command.
  • This function processes field values as strings.

To use named arguments, you must specify the argument name before the argument value. For example:

... last(raw)

Basic example

The following example returns the first log_level value for each distinct sourcetype.

You run the following search to locate invalid user login attempts against a specific sshd (Secure Shell Daemon). You use the fields command to see the values in the _time, source, and _raw fields.

| FROM main WHERE `sourcetype=secure "invalid user" "sshd[5258]"` | fields _time, source, _raw


The results look something like this:

_time source _raw
2020-04-28 00:15:05 .../mailsv/secure.log Tue Apr 28 2020 00:15:05 mailsv1 sshd[5258]: Failed password for invalid user tomcat from 67.170.226.218 port 1490 ssh2
2020-05-01 00:15:04 .../www2/secure.log Fri May 01 2020 00:15:04 www2 sshd[5258]: Failed password for invalid user brian from 130.253.37.97 port 4284 ssh2
2020-04-30 00:15:02 .../www3/secure.log Thu Apr 30 2020 00:15:02 www3 sshd[5258]: Failed password for invalid user operator from 222.169.224.226 port 1711 ssh2
2020-04-28 00:15:01 .../www1/secure.log Tue Apr 28 2020 00:15:01 www1 sshd[5258]: Failed password for invalid user rightscale from 87.194.216.51 port 3361 ssh2
2020-05-01 00:15:05 .../mailsv/secure.log Fri May 01 2020 00:15:05 mailsv1 sshd[5258]: Failed password for invalid user testuser from 194.8.74.23 port 3626 ssh2
2020-04-27 00:15:01 .../www1/secure.log Mon Apr 27 2020 00:15:01 www1 sshd[5258]: Failed password for invalid user redmine from 91.208.184.24 port 3587 ssh2

You extend the search using the last function.

| FROM main WHERE `sourcetype=secure invalid user "sshd[5258]"` | fields _time, source, _raw | stats last(raw)

The search returns the event with the _time value 2020-04-27 00:15:01, which is the last event in the list of events. However it is not the last chronological event.

first(raw)
Mon Apr 27 2020 00:15:01 www1 sshd[5258]: Failed password for invalid user redmine from 91.208.184.24 port 3587 ssh2

Extended example

The Basic example uses the _raw field to show how the last function works. That's useful because the _raw field contains a timestamp. However, you can use the last function on any field.

Let's start by creating some results. You can use the makeresults command to create a series of results to test your search syntax. Include the streamstats command to count your results:

| FROM repeat({}, 5) | streamstats count()

The results look like this:

_time count
2020-05-09 14:35:58 1
2020-05-09 14:35:58 2
2020-05-09 14:35:58 3
2020-05-09 14:35:58 4
2020-05-09 14:35:58 5

With the count field, you can create different dates in the _time field, using the eval command.

| FROM repeat({}, 5) | streamstats count() | eval _time=_time-(count*86400)

Use 86400, the number of seconds in a day, to create a series of days. The calculation multiplies the value in the count field by the number of seconds in an day. The result is subtracted from the original _time field to get new dates equivalent to 1 day ago, 2 days ago, and so forth.

The results look like this:

_time count
2020-05-08 14:45:24 1
2020-05-07 14:45:24 2
2020-05-06 14:45:24 3
2020-05-05 14:45:24 4
2020-05-04 14:45:24 5

The dates in the results begin with the 1 day earlier than the original date, 2020-05-09 at 14:45:24. The minutes and seconds are slightly different because the date is refreshed each time you run the search.

Use the eval command to add a field to your search with values in descending order:

| FROM repeat({}, 5) | streamstats count() | eval _time=_time-(count*86400) | eval field1=20-count

The results look like this:

_time count field1
2020-05-08 14:45:24 1 19
2020-05-07 14:45:24 2 18
2020-05-06 14:45:24 3 17
2020-05-05 14:45:24 4 16
2020-05-04 14:45:24 5 15

As you can see from the results, the last result contains the lowest number in field1. This shows the order in which the results were processed. The fifth result was processed last (20-5=15) after all of the other results.

When you add the last function to the search, the only value returned is the value in the field you specify:

| FROM repeat({}, 5) | streamstats count() | eval _time=_time-(count*86400) | eval field1=20-count | stats last(field1)

The results look like this:

SingleValue
15
Last modified on 05 September, 2020
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This documentation applies to the following versions of Splunk® Cloud Services: current


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