The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.

By Tom Taulli, InvestorPlace Writer

NEW YORK ( InvestorPlace) -- Last year, I met up with the co-founder of Splunk, Erik Swan, as well as the company's CEO, Godfrey Sullivan. While at the headquarters, I saw a group of auditors working diligently. Splunk already was acting like a public company.

Well, last week Splunk filed the necessary papers with the SEC for an initial public offering. The underwriters include Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. The proposed ticker symbol is "SPLK."
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  • Splunk develops software tools that make it easy for companies to analyze their data. In a way, it's like using Google's ( GOOG) search engine. With Splunk, you can find the source of a problem -- say a security breach -- or monitor customer actions. And this is all done in real-time.

    A key to Splunk's success is its thriving developer community. There's now more than 300 apps for things like reports, alerts and dashboards.
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  • Splunk also has built several premium add-on products. These include Splunk for Enterprise Security, Splunk for PCI Compliance and Splunk for VMware ( VMW). However, the most promising may be an application for the cloud, called Splunk Storm.

    No doubt, Splunk has had little trouble finding customers -- the base is now more than 3,300. Some of the big ones include Bank of America, Comcast ( CMCSA), Salesforce.com ( CRM) and Zynga ( ZNGA). They pay a licensing fee that is based on the estimated indexing capacity needs.
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  • In terms of growth, Splunk has been on a tear. From fiscal 2009 to 2011, revenues soared from $18.2 million to $66.2 million, which is a year-over-year growth rate of 93%. For the first nine months of 2011, revenues rose by 79% to $77.8 million, but the company still had a net loss of $9.7 million.

    Splunk actually would be an attractive buyout candidate for a large software operator like Oracle ( ORCL), IBM ( IBM) or Microsoft ( MSFT). And this might be the ultimate outcome. After all, Sullivan's last stint was at Hyperion, which he sold for $3.3 billion in 2007 to Oracle.

    In the meantime, it looks like Sullivan thinks Splunk has much more value as a public company.

    Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPOPlaybook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He is also the author of All About Short Selling and All About Commodities. Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the aforementioned stocks.

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  • This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.