Splunk® Enterprise

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About license violations

This topic discusses license violations, how they come about, and how to resolve them. Before you proceed, you may want to review these topics:

What are license violations and warnings?

Warnings and violations occur when you exceed the maximum indexing volume allowed for your license.

If you exceed your licensed daily volume on any one calendar day, you will get a violation warning. If you have 5 or more warnings on an Enterprise license, or 3 warnings on a Free license, in a rolling 30-day period, you are in violation of your license, and search will be disabled for the offending pool(s). Other pools remain searchable and be unaffected, as long as the total license usage from all pools does not exceed the total license quota for the license master.

Search capabilities return when you have fewer than 5 (Enterprise) or 3 (Free) warnings in the previous 30 days, or when you apply a temporary reset license (available for Enterprise only). To obtain a reset license, contact your sales representative. See Install a license in the Installation Manual for instructions.

Note: Summary indexing volume does not count against your license, although in the event of a license violation, summary indexing halts like any other non-internal search behavior. Internal indexes (for example, _internal and _introspection) do not count against your license volume.

If you get a license warning, you have until midnight (going by the time on the license master) to resolve it before it counts against the total number of warnings within the rolling 30 day period.

During a license violation period:

  • Splunk software does not stop indexing your data. Splunk software only blocks search while you exceed your license. This restriction includes scheduled reports and alerts.
  • Searches to the _internal index are not disabled. This means that you can still access the Distributed Management Console or run searches against _internal to diagnose the licensing problem.

What license warnings look like

If indexers in a pool exceed the license volume allocated to that pool, you will see a message in Messages on any page in Splunk Web.

Clicking the link in the message takes you to Settings > Licensing, where the warning shows up under the Alerts section of the page. Click a warning to get more information about it.

A similar message is shown on license slaves when a violation has occurred.

Here are some of the conditions that generate a licensing alert:

  • When a slave becomes an orphan, there is an alert (transient and fixable before midnight)
  • When a pool has maxed out, there is an alert (transient and fixable before midnight)
  • When a stack has maxed out, there is an alert (transient and fixable before midnight)
  • When a warning is given to one or more slaves, there is an alert (will stay as long as the warning is still valid within that last 30-day period)

About the connection between the license master and license slaves

When you configure a license master instance and add license slaves to it, the license slaves communicate their usage to the license master every minute. If the license master is down or unreachable for any reason, the license slave starts a 72 hour timer. If the license slave cannot reach the license master for 72 hours, search is blocked on the license slave (although indexing continues). Users will not be able to search data in the indexes on the license slave until that slave can reach the license master again.

To find out if a license slave has been unable to reach the license master, look for an event that contains failed to transfer rows in splunkd.log or search for it in the _internal index.

How to avoid license violations

To avoid license violations, monitor your license usage and ensure you have sufficient license volume to support it. If you do not have sufficient license volume, you need to either increase your license or decrease your indexing volume.

The distributed management console contains alerts that you can enable, including one that monitors license usage. See "Platform alerts" in the Distributed Management Console Manual.

Use the License Usage report to see details about and troubleshoot index volume in your deployment. Read about the license usage report view in the next chapter.

Correcting license warnings

If Splunk software tells you to correct your license warning before midnight, your quota is probably already exceeded for the day. This is called a "soft warning." The daily license quota resets at midnight (at which point the soft warning becomes a "hard warning"). You have until then to fix your situation and ensure that you will not go over quota tomorrow, too.

Once data is already indexed, there is no way to un-index data to give you "wiggle room" back on your license. You need to get additional license room in one of these two ways:

  • Purchase a bigger license.
  • Rearrange license pools if you have a pool with extra license room.

If you cannot do either of these, prevent a warning tomorrow by using less of your license. Take a look at the License Usage Report View to learn which data sources are contributing the most to your quota.

Once you identify a data culprit, decide whether or not you need all the data it is emitting. If not, read Route and filter data in the Forwarding Data manual.


Have questions? Visit Splunk Answers and see what questions and answers the Splunk community has around license violations.

Last modified on 20 April, 2018
Manage licenses from the CLI
About the Splunk Enterprise license usage report view

This documentation applies to the following versions of Splunk® Enterprise: 6.3.0, 6.3.1, 6.3.2, 6.3.3, 6.3.4, 6.3.5, 6.3.6, 6.3.7, 6.3.8, 6.3.9, 6.3.10, 6.3.11, 6.3.12, 6.3.13, 6.3.14, 6.4.0, 6.4.1, 6.4.2, 6.4.3, 6.4.4, 6.4.5, 6.4.6, 6.4.7, 6.4.8, 6.4.9, 6.4.10, 6.4.11

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