The Big Data Beard Team is Hitting the Road for the Most Epic Road Trip to Splunk’s .conf

When most people think of fall, they think of football, pumpkin spice lattes and leaves turning their autumn colors. For us, fall means that Splunk .conf is right around the corner! This year, Splunk’s .conf is a few weeks later than it normally is. Cory Minton and Kyle Prins, and I couldn’t wait those extra weeks to get the conference kicked off, so we decided to get the festivities started early. We grabbed an RV, set up several IoT sensors, built an edge to cloud computing environment, and packed up the Big Data Beard recording equipment for an epic road-trip across the country. We are starting in Boston, Massachusetts, and will end up in Las Vegas, Nevada for .conf19. We are calling this the Road Trip 2 .conf 2019!

The Trip

Over the span of our two week journey, we will be traveling across 15 states, driving over 3,700 miles and stopping in 13 different cities to meet with Splunk users, Splunkers and the rich ecosystem of Splunk partners to learn how Splunk is being used to turn data into answers. Below is our route and dates we will be in each city.

If you live in or near one of these cities, make sure you stop by to check out the RV, talk with other Splunkers and purchase some highly coveted Road Trip 2 .conf swag. The specific locations will be posted on our Road Trip 2 .conf page. We will also be hosting happy hours in select cities, so stay tuned for those details.

Each morning we will be livestreaming a daily talk show called “Breakfast with the Beards”. We will be reviewing the trip progress via our Splunk dashboards, and chatting with some interesting guests. Below is the calendar for Breakfast with The Beards and links to the live-streams:

Breakfast with The Beards Show – Live Streamed Daily at 10 am ET
Daily @ 10 am ET City BWTB Show Topic Livestream Link
7-Oct Boston The Send-Off from Boston with John Roese, CTO of Dell Technologies
8-Oct Washington DC Red River Technologies Use Splunk
9-Oct Charlotte Dell IoT Strategy with Ken Mills
10-Oct Nashville Splunking a Tesla with Chris Burnham
11-Oct Nashville Decoupling Storage for Splunk with Kevin McDonald
12-Oct Memphis IoT and the Smart Hotel Room with Keith Tomes
13-Oct Dallas Insights into Splunk with Chip Winslow
14-Oct Austin Customer Solutions Center Tour at Dell
15-Oct Austin Big Data at Dell with Anthony Dina
16-Oct Amarillo IoT RV Review from the Road
17-Oct Denver Splunk and Security with Arrow
18-Oct Boulder Making on call suck less with VictorOps
19-Oct Moab Road Trip Wrap Up at Arches National Park

Additionally, every Monday-Friday, we will be recording a podcast that takes a deeper look at specific Splunk technologies and use cases. Here is the lineup:

Big Data Beard Podcast and Livestream from the Road Trip 2 Splunk’s .conf 2019*
Posting @ 4 pm ET City Big Data Beard Podcast Guest Link to Podcast** Livestream Link
7-Oct Boston Splunk Architecture with Splunk’s Jeff Champagne
8-Oct Washington DC Red River IoT Vision with CTO Paul Krein
9-Oct Charlotte Splunk Powering Public Sector with Splunk’s Juliana Vida
10-Oct Nashville Red River Conversation TBD
11-Oct Nashville Inside Look at The Splunk Trust
14-Oct Austin Digital Transformation at Dell
15-Oct Austin Splunk Powers Dell with Tanuj Arcot from Dell IT
16-Oct Amarillo How and Why Greg Woodcock Built Splunxter
17-Oct Denver Powering IoT Innovation at Arrow Electronics
18-Oct Boulder Strong Splunk Opinions with Splunk’s Andi Mann
*Podcasts will be livestreamed via YouTube live during time of recording, which will be fluid on exact timing of live version.
**Audio only version of podcast publishes at 4 pm ET to all platforms, these links won’t be live and working until then.

This road trip would not be complete unless we went full Splunky. To do that we are going to transform the RV into a host=IOT_RV and Splunk all the data we collect as we roll down the highway. We are partnering with Dell Technologies, VMware and Arrow Electronics to build and deploy edge computing devices, hook up several sensors, and leverage a few apps from Splunkbase. We will work with several other Splunkers from Red River Technologies and Converging Data to transform our RV into a properly Splunked IoT playground! Here are just a few of the questions we are relying on Splunk to help us answer:

  • Location – Where are we currently and how long will it take to get to our next destination?
  • Road Quality – How does the quality of roads differ from state to state?
  • RV Comfort – How comfortable is our RV ride?
  • Health – With all this travel, are we taking care of ourselves? Do we need to walk a little more?

With 3 engineers in an RV for 14 days and only 1 bathroom, the biggest concern is cleanliness. In a take on the Dubai Airport’s Golden Bathroom, we are using Splunk to create our very own Bronze Bathroom. With Splunk and VictorOps deployed, we can understand how best to optimize our cleaning efforts.

With an estimated 60 hours of driving time, you can bet that we will be listening to a ton of music. We have Splunked our Spotify account, so we can see what songs, genre and artists we listen to the most. We also want to be able to share what we are listening to and even take some requests! To recommend a song, engage with us on Twitter!

How to engage

We will be publicly displaying all of our Splunk dashboards throughout the trip to provide real-time updates on our progress. Login information (link, username and password) will be available beginning on October 7th on our Road Trip 2 .conf website.

If you have any ideas on additional things we can Splunk, or have questions you want to ask based on the collected data, let us know on Twitter @BigDataBeard.

Speaking of social media, get active and engage with us throughout the trip using #SplunkConf19 and #RoadTrip2conf. Don’t forget to check out our website to get access to livestreams, recordings and updates on our progress.

The RV @ .conf

We will be showcasing the RV in the expo hall starting at the Welcome Soiree on Monday night, for those of you attending .conf! Make sure you stop by to stock up on some cool RV swag and check out our dashboards using Splunk AR! We will also be presenting a break out session about the host=IOT_RV on Wednesday October 23rd at 12:30 PDT. Make sure you add this session to your catalog.

All of this would not be possible without our fantastic sponsors who helped turn this crazy idea into reality. Each of these great companies works hard to help their customers achieve success using Splunk. We cannot thank them enough for their investment and support on this wild ride.

Lastly, we want to thank the Splunk community for their help in developing ideas that showcase the value of Splunk, and for helping us build dynamic and impactful dashboards. Thanks Tom West from Converging Data and Brandon Ganem from the Splunk Trust!

Join us as we make this the MOST EPIC Road Trip 2 .conf ever! We are super excited and look forward to sharing this awesome experience with all of you.

Your Bearded Friends,

About the Author: Brett Roberts

Brett Roberts is a technologist who is passionate about solving business challenges using data analytics. He is currently a solutions specialists with Dell Technologies focusing on helping customers drive business relevance by understanding, deploying and optimizing their Data Analytics and AI solutions. Brett carries a number of certifications and is a co-host of a community podcast and blog that explores the trends and technologies in the Analytics and AI space. He has a Masters in International Management and an MBA from the University of Maryland. Brett currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts. You can find his blog at