Splunk Cloud Platform

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collect

Description

Adds the results of a search to a summary index that you specify. You must create the summary index before you invoke the collect command.

You do not need to know how to use collect to create and use a summary index, but it can help. For an overview of summary indexing, see Use summary indexing for increased reporting efficiency in the Knowledge Manager Manual.

This command is considered risky because, if used incorrectly, it can pose a security risk or potentially lose data when it runs. As a result, this command triggers SPL safeguards. See SPL safeguards for risky commands in Securing the Splunk Platform.

Syntax

collect index=<string> [<arg-options>...]

Required arguments

index
Syntax: index=<string>
Description: Name of the summary index where the events are added. The index must exist before the events are added. The index is not created automatically.

Optional arguments

arg-options
Syntax: addinfo=<bool> | addtime=<bool> | file=<string> | spool=<bool> | marker=<string> | uselb=<bool> | output_format [raw | hec] | testmode=<bool> | run_in_preview=<bool> | host=<string> | source=<string> | sourcetype=<string>
Description: Optional arguments for the collect command. See the arg-options section for the descriptions for each option.

arg-options

addinfo
Syntax: addinfo=<bool>
Description: Use this option to specify whether to prefix search time and time-range information fields on to each summary index event. If set to true, adds fields to each event in the following format:
info_min_time=<search_earliest_time>, info_max_time=<search_latest_time>, info_search_time=<search_exec_time>
Default: True when summary events are destined for an events index or when output_format=raw. False when summary events are destined for a metrics index.
addtime
Syntax: addtime=<bool>
Description: Use this option to specify whether to prefix a time field on to each event. Some commands return results that do not have a _raw field, such as the stats, chart, timechart commands. If you specify addtime=false, the Splunk software uses its generic date detection against fields in whatever order they happen to be in the summary rows. If you specify addtime=true, the Splunk software uses the search time range info_min_time. This time range is added by the sistats command or _time. Splunk software adds the time field based on the first field that it finds: info_min_time, _time, or now().
This option is not valid when output_format=hec.
Default: True when summary events are destined for an events index. False when summary events are destined for a metrics index.
file
Syntax: file=<string>
Description: The file name where you want the events to be written. You can use a timestamp or a random number for the file name by specifying either file=$timestamp$ or file=$random$.
Usage: ".stash" needs to be added at the end of the file name when used with "index=". Otherwise, the data is added to the main index.
Default: <random-number>_events.stash
host
Syntax: host=<string>
Description: The name of the host that you want to specify for the events.
This option is not valid when output_format=hec.
marker
Syntax: marker=<string>
Description: A string, usually of key-value pairs, to append to each event written out. Each key-value pair must be separated by a comma and a space.
If the value contains spaces or commas, it must be escape quoted. For example if the key-value pair is search_name=vpn starts and stops, you must change it to search_name=\"vpn starts and stops\".
This option is not valid when output_format=hec.
output_format
Syntax: output_format=[raw | hec]
Description: Specifies the output format for the summary indexing. If set to raw, uses the traditional non-structured log style summary indexing stash output format.
If set to hec, it generates HTTP Event Collector (HEC) JSON formatted output:
  • All fields are automatically indexed when the stash file is indexed.
  • The file that is written to the var/spool/splunk path ends in .stash_hec instead of .stash.
  • Allows the source, sourcetype, and host from the original data to be used directly in the summary index. Does not re-map these fields to the extract_host/extracted_sourcetype/... path.
  • The index and splunk_server fields in the original data are ignored.
  • You cannot use the addtime, host, marker, source, sourcetype, or uselb options when output_format=hec.
Default: raw
run_in_preview
Syntax: run_in_preview=<bool>
Description: Controls whether the collect command is enabled during preview generation. Generally, you do not want to insert preview results into the summary index, run-in-preview=false. In some cases, such as when a custom search command is used as part of the search, you might want to turn this on to ensure correct summary indexable previews are generated.
Default: false
spool
Syntax: spool=<bool>
Description: If set to true, the summary indexing file is written to the Splunk spool directory, where it is indexed automatically. If set to false, the file is written to the $SPLUNK_HOME/var/run/splunk directory. The file remains in this directory unless some form of further automation or administration is done. If you have Splunk Enterprise, you can use this command to troubleshoot summary indexing by dumping the output file to a location on disk where it will not be ingested as data.
Default: true
source
Syntax: source=<string>
Description: The name of the source that you want to specify for the events.
This option is not valid when output_format=hec.
sourcetype
Syntax: sourcetype=<string>
Description: The name of the source type that you want to specify for the events. By specifying a sourcetype outside of stash, you will incur license usage.
This option is not valid when output_format=hec.
Default: stash
testmode
Syntax: testmode=<bool>
Description: Toggle between testing and real mode. In testing mode the results are not written into the new index but the search results are modified to appear as they would if sent to the index.
Default: false
uselb
Syntax: uselb=<bool>
Description: Controls how line breaks are used to split events.
  • When set to true, the data that is ingested using the collect command is split into individual events. A string identical to the LINE_BREAKER setting defined for the stash_new source type in the props.conf file is used.
  • When set to false, a simple line break is used to split events.
  • Do not use this argument unless you are intentionally generating events with the collect command in a line-oriented format.
  • This option is not valid when output_format=hec.
  • NOTE: While the default behavior of the collect command is to use a LINE_BREAKER setting identical to that used in the props.conf file, the default LINE_BREAKER for the collect command is hardcoded. Changes to props.conf setting do NOT affect the behavior of the uselb option.
Default: true

Usage

The events are written to a file whose name format is: random-num_events.stash, unless overwritten, in a directory that your Splunk deployment is monitoring. If the events contain a _raw field, then this field is saved. If the events do not have a _raw field, one is created by concatenating all the fields into a comma-separated list of key=value pairs.

The collect command also works with real-time searches that have a time range of All time.

Events without timestamps

If you apply the collect command to events that do not have timestamps, the command designates a time for all of the events using the earliest (or minimum) time of the search range. For example, if you use the collect command over the past four hours (range: -4h to +0h), the command assigns a timestamp that is four hours prior to the time that the search was launched. The timestamp is applied to all of the events without a timestamp.

If you use the collect command with a time range of All time and the events do not have timestamps, the current system time is used for the timestamps.

For more information on summary indexing of data without timestamps, see Use summary indexing for increased reporting efficiency in the Knowledge Manager Manual.

Copying events to a different index

You can use the collect command to copy search results to another index. Construct a search that returns the data you want to copy, and pipe the results to the collect command. For example:

index=foo | ... | collect index=bar

This search writes the results into the bar index. The sourcetype is changed to stash.

You can specify a sourcetype with the collect command. However, specifying a sourcetype counts against your license, as if you indexed the data again.

Change how collect summarizes multivalue fields

By default, the collect command summarizes multivalue fields as multivalue fields. For example, when collect summarizes the multivalue field alphabet = a, b, c, it adds the following field to the summary index:

alphabet: "a
           b 
           c"

However, you may prefer that collect break multivalue fields into separate field-value pairs when it adds them to a _raw field in a summary index. For example, if given the multivalue field alphabet = a,b,c, you can have the collect command add the following fields to a _raw event in the summary index: alphabet = "a", alphabet = "b", alphabet = "c"

If you prefer to have collect follow this multivalue field summarization format, set the limits.conf setting format_multivalue_collect to true.

Splunk Cloud Platform
To change the format_multivalue_collect setting in your limits.conf file, request help from Splunk Support. If you have a support contract, file a new case using the Splunk Support Portal at Support and Services. Otherwise, contact Splunk Customer Support.
Splunk Enterprise
To change the format_multivalue_collect setting in your local limits.conf file and enable collect to break multivalue fields into separate fields, follow these steps.
Prerequisites
  • Only users with file system access, such as system administrators, can edit configuration files.
  • Review the steps in How to edit a configuration file in the Splunk Enterprise Admin Manual.

Never change or copy the configuration files in the default directory. The files in the default directory must remain intact and in their original location. Make changes to the files in the local directory.

Steps:

  1. Open or create a local limits.conf file at $SPLUNK_HOME/etc/system/local.
  2. Under the [collect] stanza, set format_multivalue_collect to true.

The collect and tstats commands

The collect command does not segment data by major breakers and minor breakers, such as characters like spaces, square or curly brackets, parenthesis, semicolons, exclamation points, periods, and colons. As a result, if either major or minor breakers are found in value strings, Splunk software places quotation marks around field values when it adds events to the summary index. These extra quotation marks can cause problems for subsequent searches. In particular, field values that have quotation marks around them can't be used in tstats searches with the PREFIX() directive. This is because PREFIX() does not support major breakers like quotation marks.

For example, in the following search with the collect command, the field values in quotes include periods as minor breakers.

| makeresults | eval application="buttercupgames.com", version="2.0" | collect index=summary source=devtest

The search results look something like this.

_time application version
2021-12-07 11:43:48 buttercupgames.com 2.0

So far, that looks fine, right? Not exactly. Although there aren't any extra quotation marks around the field values buttercupgames.com and 2.0 that are displayed in the search results, you will see them if you look in summary index. To see what is in the summary index, run the following search:

index=summary source=devtest

Now you can see version="2.0" and application="buttercupgames.com". The results look something like this:

Time Event
12/7/21

11:43:48.000 AM

12/07/2021 11:43:48 -0800, info_search_time=1638906228.401, version="2.0", application="buttercupgames.com"

host = PF32198D | source = devtest | sourcetype = stash

If you want to run a tstats search with the PREFIX() directive using those field values with quotation marks that are collected in a summary index like our previous example, you will need to edit your limits.conf file. You can do this by changing the collect_ignore_minor_breakers setting in the [collect] stanza from the default to true.

Splunk Cloud Platform
To change the collect_ignore_minor_breakers setting in your limits.conf file, request help from Splunk Support. If you have a support contract, file a new case using the Splunk Support Portal at Support and Services. Otherwise, contact Splunk Customer Support.
Splunk Enterprise
To change the collect_ignore_minor_breakers setting in your local limits.conf file, follow these steps.
Prerequisites
  • Only users with file system access, such as system administrators, can edit configuration files.
  • Review the steps in How to edit a configuration file in the Splunk Enterprise Admin Manual.

Never change or copy the configuration files in the default directory. The files in the default directory must remain intact and in their original location. Make changes to the files in the local directory.

Steps:
  1. Open or create a local limits.conf file at $SPLUNK_HOME/etc/system/local.
  2. Under the [collect] stanza, add the line collect_ignore_minor_breakers=true.

Examples

1. Put "download" events into an index named "download count"

eventtypetag="download" | collect index=downloadcount

2. Collect statistics on VPN connects and disconnects

You want to collect hourly statistics on VPN connects and disconnects by country.

index=mysummary | geoip REMOTE_IP | eval country_source=if(REMOTE_IP_country_code="US","domestic","foreign") | bin _time span=1h | stats count by _time,vpn_action,country_source | addinfo | collect index=mysummary marker="summary_type=vpn, summary_span=3600, summary_method=bin, search_name=\"vpn starts and stops\""

The addinfo command ensures that the search results contain fields that specify when the search was run to populate these particular index values.

See also

Commands
overlap
sichart
sirare
sistats
sitimechart
sitop
tscollect
Last modified on 22 November, 2022
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This documentation applies to the following versions of Splunk Cloud Platform: 8.2.2202, 8.2.2203, 9.0.2205, 9.0.2208, 9.0.2209 (latest FedRAMP release)


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