Grafana vs Prometheus

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The open-source Prometheus monitoring tool offers a built-in instrument panel functionality. It considers Grafana its monitoring solution. Both the tools allow users to handle and monitor the data logs. For example, Graph time-series metrics, which are stored in the Prometheus database. So it depends on your monitoring requirements, and which tool you have to use.

This article explains both of these solutions. It explains how they come up against an alternative monitoring solution based on Prometheus technology.

What is Prometheus?

Prometheus is a system monitoring and alerting toolkit that many consider being the standard for Kubernetes monitoring.

Prometheus has the ability to: 

  • Gather time-series data by pulling data through metrics from the codebase.
  • Store data as metrics that can be queried.
  • Specify a random list of labels for multi-dimensionality.
  • Easily build queries using time-series functions found in its native PromQL.
  • Generate and deliver threshold-based alerts through its Alertmanager.

Prometheus native visualization?

Prometheus has a basic feature known as the expression browser, for visualizing metrics that are based on expressions constructed. This feature is available by pointing a browser to the /graph URL extension of the Prometheus server installation. The expression query which is displayed by this browser results in a tabular or graphical format which helps in live troubleshooting. 

What is Grafana?

Grafana is a database analysis and monitoring tool. It allows you to create dashboard visualizations of key metrics that are important to you. Grafana is a substitute for people who share reusable dashboards.

Grafana supports a huge number of sources of data since this tool is open source. When any new data has been received, someone who is observing is adding support for it.

The most common use case of Grafana is displaying time-series data. There you can find the logs for time for your file or data. For example, such as memory or CPU over time.

With Grafana, you can: 

  • Create charts, graphs, and maps 
  • Build and share dashboards 
  • Configure alerting rules that query one or more data sources
  • Manage user access

Below is a sample Grafana dashboard. 

Monitoring-as-a-Service Solutions

There are many solutions, that are definitely economical and cheaper to set up than paid solutions. However, you should consider all factors. What you save on service costs, will show in pay regarding configuration hours or performance lack. It is worth considering a paid solution.

Using a MaaS solution has a few significant advantages:

  • Setup and maintenance is easier
  • Ability to request feature enhancements
  • Tool centralization
  • Support and onboarding resources for your account

Conclusion

Prometheus and Grafana focus on observability problems. It’s common to use Grafana as a visualization layer on top of Prometheus. While a simple Grafana-Prometheus set-up is quite easy to run, maintain, and afford, it won’t require large environments.

This blog is only a simple approach for learning purposes. It will be used in plenty of useful places. As we are learning to create visual graphs for monitoring our data. It has a very good scope in the field of analysis. That’s all basic I have in my mind as of now, related to the topic.

If you want to add anything or you do not relate to my view on any point, drop me a comment. I will be happy to discuss it. For more blogs, click here

Written by 

Rituraj Khare is a Software Consultant at Knoldus Inc. in Noida. He did his B.Tech from Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technical University. He is familiar with Scala, Python, Unit testing, Git, Kafka, Docker, Jenkins. He is currently working in the Scala Practice area. He loves to dig deep in coding and loves to play indoor games, especially Chess.