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Alternatives to Grafana

Datadog, Kibana, Prometheus, Graphite, and Splunk are the most popular alternatives and competitors to Grafana.
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What is Grafana and what are its top alternatives?

Grafana is a general purpose dashboard and graph composer. It's focused on providing rich ways to visualize time series metrics, mainly though graphs but supports other ways to visualize data through a pluggable panel architecture. It currently has rich support for for Graphite, InfluxDB and OpenTSDB. But supports other data sources via plugins.
Grafana is a tool in the Monitoring Tools category of a tech stack.
Grafana is an open source tool with 36.4K GitHub stars and 7.3K GitHub forks. Here’s a link to Grafana's open source repository on GitHub

Top Alternatives to Grafana

Grafana alternatives & related posts

related Datadog posts

Robert Zuber
Robert Zuber

Our primary source of monitoring and alerting is Datadog. We’ve got prebuilt dashboards for every scenario and integration with PagerDuty to manage routing any alerts. We’ve definitely scaled past the point where managing dashboards is easy, but we haven’t had time to invest in using features like Anomaly Detection. We’ve started using Honeycomb for some targeted debugging of complex production issues and we are liking what we’ve seen. We capture any unhandled exceptions with Rollbar and, if we realize one will keep happening, we quickly convert the metrics to point back to Datadog, to keep Rollbar as clean as possible.

We use Segment to consolidate all of our trackers, the most important of which goes to Amplitude to analyze user patterns. However, if we need a more consolidated view, we push all of our data to our own data warehouse running PostgreSQL; this is available for analytics and dashboard creation through Looker.

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We are looking for a centralised monitoring solution for our application deployed on Amazon EKS. We would like to monitor using metrics from Kubernetes, AWS services (NeptuneDB, AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB), Amazon EBS, Amazon S3, etc) and application microservice's custom metrics.

We are expected to use around 80 microservices (not replicas). I think a total of 200-250 microservices will be there in the system with 10-12 slave nodes.

We tried Prometheus but it looks like maintenance is a big issue. We need to manage scaling, maintaining the storage, and dealing with multiple exporters and Grafana. I felt this itself needs few dedicated resources (at least 2-3 people) to manage. Not sure if I am thinking in the correct direction. Please confirm.

You mentioned Datadog and Sysdig charges per host. Does it charge per slave node?

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Tymoteusz Paul
Tymoteusz Paul
Devops guy at X20X Development LTD · | 21 upvotes · 3.2M views

Often enough I have to explain my way of going about setting up a CI/CD pipeline with multiple deployment platforms. Since I am a bit tired of yapping the same every single time, I've decided to write it up and share with the world this way, and send people to read it instead ;). I will explain it on "live-example" of how the Rome got built, basing that current methodology exists only of readme.md and wishes of good luck (as it usually is ;)).

It always starts with an app, whatever it may be and reading the readmes available while Vagrant and VirtualBox is installing and updating. Following that is the first hurdle to go over - convert all the instruction/scripts into Ansible playbook(s), and only stopping when doing a clear vagrant up or vagrant reload we will have a fully working environment. As our Vagrant environment is now functional, it's time to break it! This is the moment to look for how things can be done better (too rigid/too lose versioning? Sloppy environment setup?) and replace them with the right way to do stuff, one that won't bite us in the backside. This is the point, and the best opportunity, to upcycle the existing way of doing dev environment to produce a proper, production-grade product.

I should probably digress here for a moment and explain why. I firmly believe that the way you deploy production is the same way you should deploy develop, shy of few debugging-friendly setting. This way you avoid the discrepancy between how production work vs how development works, which almost always causes major pains in the back of the neck, and with use of proper tools should mean no more work for the developers. That's why we start with Vagrant as developer boxes should be as easy as vagrant up, but the meat of our product lies in Ansible which will do meat of the work and can be applied to almost anything: AWS, bare metal, docker, LXC, in open net, behind vpn - you name it.

We must also give proper consideration to monitoring and logging hoovering at this point. My generic answer here is to grab Elasticsearch, Kibana, and Logstash. While for different use cases there may be better solutions, this one is well battle-tested, performs reasonably and is very easy to scale both vertically (within some limits) and horizontally. Logstash rules are easy to write and are well supported in maintenance through Ansible, which as I've mentioned earlier, are at the very core of things, and creating triggers/reports and alerts based on Elastic and Kibana is generally a breeze, including some quite complex aggregations.

If we are happy with the state of the Ansible it's time to move on and put all those roles and playbooks to work. Namely, we need something to manage our CI/CD pipelines. For me, the choice is obvious: TeamCity. It's modern, robust and unlike most of the light-weight alternatives, it's transparent. What I mean by that is that it doesn't tell you how to do things, doesn't limit your ways to deploy, or test, or package for that matter. Instead, it provides a developer-friendly and rich playground for your pipelines. You can do most the same with Jenkins, but it has a quite dated look and feel to it, while also missing some key functionality that must be brought in via plugins (like quality REST API which comes built-in with TeamCity). It also comes with all the common-handy plugins like Slack or Apache Maven integration.

The exact flow between CI and CD varies too greatly from one application to another to describe, so I will outline a few rules that guide me in it: 1. Make build steps as small as possible. This way when something breaks, we know exactly where, without needing to dig and root around. 2. All security credentials besides development environment must be sources from individual Vault instances. Keys to those containers should exist only on the CI/CD box and accessible by a few people (the less the better). This is pretty self-explanatory, as anything besides dev may contain sensitive data and, at times, be public-facing. Because of that appropriate security must be present. TeamCity shines in this department with excellent secrets-management. 3. Every part of the build chain shall consume and produce artifacts. If it creates nothing, it likely shouldn't be its own build. This way if any issue shows up with any environment or version, all developer has to do it is grab appropriate artifacts to reproduce the issue locally. 4. Deployment builds should be directly tied to specific Git branches/tags. This enables much easier tracking of what caused an issue, including automated identifying and tagging the author (nothing like automated regression testing!).

Speaking of deployments, I generally try to keep it simple but also with a close eye on the wallet. Because of that, I am more than happy with AWS or another cloud provider, but also constantly peeking at the loads and do we get the value of what we are paying for. Often enough the pattern of use is not constantly erratic, but rather has a firm baseline which could be migrated away from the cloud and into bare metal boxes. That is another part where this approach strongly triumphs over the common Docker and CircleCI setup, where you are very much tied in to use cloud providers and getting out is expensive. Here to embrace bare-metal hosting all you need is a help of some container-based self-hosting software, my personal preference is with Proxmox and LXC. Following that all you must write are ansible scripts to manage hardware of Proxmox, similar way as you do for Amazon EC2 (ansible supports both greatly) and you are good to go. One does not exclude another, quite the opposite, as they can live in great synergy and cut your costs dramatically (the heavier your base load, the bigger the savings) while providing production-grade resiliency.

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Patrick Sun
Patrick Sun
Software Engineer at Stitch Fix · | 11 upvotes · 236.4K views

Elasticsearch's built-in visualization tool, Kibana, is robust and the appropriate tool in many cases. However, it is geared specifically towards log exploration and time-series data, and we felt that its steep learning curve would impede adoption rate among data scientists accustomed to writing SQL. The solution was to create something that would replicate some of Kibana's essential functionality while hiding Elasticsearch's complexity behind SQL-esque labels and terminology ("table" instead of "index", "group by" instead of "sub-aggregation") in the UI.

Elasticsearch's API is really well-suited for aggregating time-series data, indexing arbitrary data without defining a schema, and creating dashboards. For the purpose of a data exploration backend, Elasticsearch fits the bill really well. Users can send an HTTP request with aggregations and sub-aggregations to an index with millions of documents and get a response within seconds, thus allowing them to rapidly iterate through their data.

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related Prometheus posts

Conor Myhrvold
Conor Myhrvold
Tech Brand Mgr, Office of CTO at Uber · | 13 upvotes · 2.1M views

Why we spent several years building an open source, large-scale metrics alerting system, M3, built for Prometheus:

By late 2014, all services, infrastructure, and servers at Uber emitted metrics to a Graphite stack that stored them using the Whisper file format in a sharded Carbon cluster. We used Grafana for dashboarding and Nagios for alerting, issuing Graphite threshold checks via source-controlled scripts. While this worked for a while, expanding the Carbon cluster required a manual resharding process and, due to lack of replication, any single node’s disk failure caused permanent loss of its associated metrics. In short, this solution was not able to meet our needs as the company continued to grow.

To ensure the scalability of Uber’s metrics backend, we decided to build out a system that provided fault tolerant metrics ingestion, storage, and querying as a managed platform...

https://eng.uber.com/m3/

(GitHub : https://github.com/m3db/m3)

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We have Prometheus as a monitoring engine as a part of our stack which contains Kubernetes cluster, container images and other open source tools. Also, I am aware that Sysdig can be integrated with Prometheus but I really wanted to know whether Sysdig or sysdig+prometheus will make better monitoring solution.

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Graphite

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Conor Myhrvold
Conor Myhrvold
Tech Brand Mgr, Office of CTO at Uber · | 13 upvotes · 2.1M views

Why we spent several years building an open source, large-scale metrics alerting system, M3, built for Prometheus:

By late 2014, all services, infrastructure, and servers at Uber emitted metrics to a Graphite stack that stored them using the Whisper file format in a sharded Carbon cluster. We used Grafana for dashboarding and Nagios for alerting, issuing Graphite threshold checks via source-controlled scripts. While this worked for a while, expanding the Carbon cluster required a manual resharding process and, due to lack of replication, any single node’s disk failure caused permanent loss of its associated metrics. In short, this solution was not able to meet our needs as the company continued to grow.

To ensure the scalability of Uber’s metrics backend, we decided to build out a system that provided fault tolerant metrics ingestion, storage, and querying as a managed platform...

https://eng.uber.com/m3/

(GitHub : https://github.com/m3db/m3)

See more

A huge part of our continuous deployment practices is to have granular alerting and monitoring across the platform. To do this, we run Sentry on-premise, inside our VPCs, for our event alerting, and we run an awesome observability and monitoring system consisting of StatsD, Graphite and Grafana. We have dashboards using this system to monitor our core subsystems so that we can know the health of any given subsystem at any moment. This system ties into our PagerDuty rotation, as well as alerts from some of our Amazon CloudWatch alarms (we’re looking to migrate all of these to our internal monitoring system soon).

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Splunk

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Search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine data
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      KibanaKibanaSplunkSplunkGrafanaGrafana

      I use Kibana because it ships with the ELK stack. I don't find it as powerful as Splunk however it is light years above grepping through log files. We previously used Grafana but found it to be annoying to maintain a separate tool outside of the ELK stack. We were able to get everything we needed from Kibana.

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      Netdata

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      Monitor everything in real time – for free
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      Farzeem Diamond Jiwani
      Farzeem Diamond Jiwani
      Software Engineer at IVP · | 5 upvotes · 126.7K views

      Hey there! We are looking at Datadog, Dynatrace, AppDynamics, and New Relic as options for our web application monitoring.

      Current Environment: .NET Core Web app hosted on Microsoft IIS

      Future Environment: Web app will be hosted on Microsoft Azure

      Tech Stacks: IIS, RabbitMQ, Redis, Microsoft SQL Server

      Requirement: Infra Monitoring, APM, Real - User Monitoring (User activity monitoring i.e., time spent on a page, most active page, etc.), Service Tracing, Root Cause Analysis, and Centralized Log Management.

      Please advise on the above. Thanks!

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      Sebastian Gębski
      Sebastian Gębski

      Regarding Continuous Integration - we've started with something very easy to set up - CircleCI , but with time we're adding more & more complex pipelines - we use Jenkins to configure & run those. It's much more effort, but at some point we had to pay for the flexibility we expected. Our source code version control is Git (which probably doesn't require a rationale these days) and we keep repos in GitHub - since the very beginning & we never considered moving out. Our primary monitoring these days is in New Relic (Ruby & SPA apps) and AppSignal (Elixir apps) - we're considering unifying it in New Relic , but this will require some improvements in Elixir app observability. For error reporting we use Sentry (a very popular choice in this class) & we collect our distributed logs using Logentries (to avoid semi-manual handling here).

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      Tableau

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