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Grafana vs Splunk: What are the differences?

Grafana and Splunk are both widely used tools for monitoring and analyzing data. Let's explore the key differences between them.

  1. Data Sources: Grafana is known for its extensive range of data source plugins, which allows users to connect and visualize data from various sources such as databases, cloud providers, and more. On the other hand, Splunk primarily focuses on machine-generated data, making it a robust solution for analyzing logs, metrics, and event data.

  2. Visualization Capabilities: Grafana is renowned for its powerful visualization capabilities. It offers a wide range of graph types and advanced options for customizing visualizations. Additionally, Grafana supports the creation of dashboards with multiple panels, allowing users to combine different visualizations and efficiently monitor data. Splunk, although capable of visualizing data, may not offer as many options and flexibility as Grafana when it comes to customizing and organizing visualizations.

  3. Query Language: When it comes to querying data, Grafana and Splunk employ different approaches. Grafana typically uses query languages specific to the data source being used, such as PromQL for Prometheus or InfluxQL for InfluxDB. On the other hand, Splunk has its own powerful search processing language known as SPL (Splunk Processing Language), which provides a wide range of functions and operators for analyzing and extracting data.

  4. Community and User Support: Grafana has a large and active open-source community, resulting in a plethora of resources, tutorials, and plugins created by users. This vibrant community makes it easier for users to find solutions, share knowledge, and extend the functionality of Grafana. In contrast, Splunk does have an active user community, but its access and support are mainly limited to licensed users, which may provide a more restricted environment for collaboration and community-driven innovation.

  5. Pricing and Licensing: Grafana is primarily an open-source software and is freely available to users, making it an attractive choice for budget-conscious individuals and small organizations. In contrast, Splunk offers both free and enterprise versions, with the latter requiring a license that can be costly based on data volume and usage.

  6. Ecosystem Integration: Grafana is well-integrated with various open-source monitoring and logging tools, creating a robust ecosystem for data analysis and visualization. It can easily integrate with popular tools like Prometheus, Graphite, and Elasticsearch. Splunk, while also providing integration options, may have a more limited ecosystem due to its proprietary nature and focus on its own solutions.

In summary, Grafana offers extensive data source support, powerful visualization capabilities, and a vibrant open-source community, while Splunk specializes in analyzing machine-generated data, provides its own search processing language, and offers a range of licensed options.

Advice on Grafana and Splunk
Susmita Meher
Senior SRE at African Bank | 4 upvotes 路 792.1K views
Needs advice
on
GrafanaGrafanaGraphiteGraphite
and
PrometheusPrometheus

Looking for a tool which can be used for mainly dashboard purposes, but here are the main requirements:

  • Must be able to get custom data from AS400,
  • Able to display automation test results,
  • System monitoring / Nginx API,
  • Able to get data from 3rd parties DB.

Grafana is almost solving all the problems, except AS400 and no database to get automation test results.

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Replies (1)
Sakti Behera
Technical Specialist, Software Engineering at AT&T | 3 upvotes 路 577.4K views
Recommends
on
GrafanaGrafanaPrometheusPrometheus

You can look out for Prometheus Instrumentation (https://prometheus.io/docs/practices/instrumentation/) Client Library available in various languages https://prometheus.io/docs/instrumenting/clientlibs/ to create the custom metric you need for AS4000 and then Grafana can query the newly instrumented metric to show on the dashboard.

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Mat Jovanovic
Head of Cloud at Mats Cloud | 3 upvotes 路 721.1K views
Needs advice
on
DatadogDatadogGrafanaGrafana
and
PrometheusPrometheus

We're looking for a Monitoring and Logging tool. It has to support AWS (mostly 100% serverless, Lambdas, SNS, SQS, API GW, CloudFront, Autora, etc.), as well as Azure and GCP (for now mostly used as pure IaaS, with a lot of cognitive services, and mostly managed DB). Hopefully, something not as expensive as Datadog or New relic, as our SRE team could support the tool inhouse. At the moment, we primarily use CloudWatch for AWS and Pandora for most on-prem.

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Replies (2)
Lucas Rincon
Recommends
on
InstanaInstana

this is quite affordable and provides what you seem to be looking for. you can see a whole thing about the APM space here https://www.apmexperts.com/observability/ranking-the-observability-offerings/

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Recommends
on
DatadogDatadog

I worked with Datadog at least one year and my position is that commercial tools like Datadog are the best option to consolidate and analyze your metrics. Obviously, if you can't pay the tool, the best free options are the mix of Prometheus with their Alert Manager and Grafana to visualize (that are complementary not substitutable). But I think that no use a good tool it's finally more expensive that use a not really good implementation of free tools and you will pay also to maintain its.

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Needs advice
on
GrafanaGrafana
and
KibanaKibana

From a StackShare Community member: 鈥淲e need better analytics & insights into our Elasticsearch cluster. Grafana, which ships with advanced support for Elasticsearch, looks great but isn鈥檛 officially supported/endorsed by Elastic. Kibana, on the other hand, is made and supported by Elastic. I鈥檓 wondering what people suggest in this situation."

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Replies (7)
Recommends
on
GrafanaGrafana
at

For our Predictive Analytics platform, we have used both Grafana and Kibana

Kibana has predictions and ML algorithms support, so if you need them, you may be better off with Kibana . The multi-variate analysis features it provide are very unique (not available in Grafana).

For everything else, definitely Grafana . Especially the number of supported data sources, and plugins clearly makes Grafana a winner (in just visualization and reporting sense). Creating your own plugin is also very easy. The top pros of Grafana (which it does better than Kibana ) are:

  • Creating and organizing visualization panels
  • Templating the panels on dashboards for repetetive tasks
  • Realtime monitoring, filtering of charts based on conditions and variables
  • Export / Import in JSON format (that allows you to version and save your dashboard as part of git)
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Recommends
on
KibanaKibana

I use both Kibana and Grafana on my workplace: Kibana for logging and Grafana for monitoring. Since you already work with Elasticsearch, I think Kibana is the safest choice in terms of ease of use and variety of messages it can manage, while Grafana has still (in my opinion) a strong link to metrics

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Bram Verdonck
Recommends
on
GrafanaGrafana
at

After looking for a way to monitor or at least get a better overview of our infrastructure, we found out that Grafana (which I previously only used in ELK stacks) has a plugin available to fully integrate with Amazon CloudWatch . Which makes it way better for our use-case than the offer of the different competitors (most of them are even paid). There is also a CloudFlare plugin available, the platform we use to serve our DNS requests. Although we are a big fan of https://smashing.github.io/ (previously dashing), for now we are starting with Grafana .

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Recommends
on
KibanaKibana

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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Recommends
on
KibanaKibana

Kibana should be sufficient in this architecture for decent analytics, if stronger metrics is needed then combine with Grafana. Datadog also offers nice overview but there's no need for it in this case unless you need more monitoring and alerting (and more technicalities).

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Recommends
on
GrafanaGrafana

I use Grafana because it is without a doubt the best way to visualize metrics

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Povilas Brilius
PHP Web Developer at GroundIn Software | 0 upvotes 路 600K views
Recommends
on
KibanaKibana
at

@Kibana, of course, because @Grafana looks like amateur sort of solution, crammed with query builder grouping aggregates, but in essence, as recommended by CERN - KIbana is the corporate (startup vectored) decision.

Furthermore, @Kibana comes with complexity adhering ELK stack, whereas @InfluxDB + @Grafana & co. recently have become sophisticated development conglomerate instead of advancing towards a understandable installation step by step inheritance.

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Pros of Grafana
Pros of Splunk
  • 89
    Beautiful
  • 68
    Graphs are interactive
  • 57
    Free
  • 56
    Easy
  • 34
    Nicer than the Graphite web interface
  • 26
    Many integrations
  • 18
    Can build dashboards
  • 10
    Easy to specify time window
  • 10
    Can collaborate on dashboards
  • 9
    Dashboards contain number tiles
  • 5
    Open Source
  • 5
    Integration with InfluxDB
  • 5
    Click and drag to zoom in
  • 4
    Authentification and users management
  • 4
    Threshold limits in graphs
  • 3
    Alerts
  • 3
    It is open to cloud watch and many database
  • 3
    Simple and native support to Prometheus
  • 2
    Great community support
  • 2
    You can use this for development to check memcache
  • 2
    You can visualize real time data to put alerts
  • 0
    Grapsh as code
  • 0
    Plugin visualizationa
  • 3
    API for searching logs, running reports
  • 3
    Alert system based on custom query results
  • 2
    Dashboarding on any log contents
  • 2
    Custom log parsing as well as automatic parsing
  • 2
    Ability to style search results into reports
  • 2
    Query engine supports joining, aggregation, stats, etc
  • 2
    Splunk language supports string, date manip, math, etc
  • 2
    Rich GUI for searching live logs
  • 1
    Query any log as key-value pairs
  • 1
    Granular scheduling and time window support

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Cons of Grafana
Cons of Splunk
  • 1
    No interactive query builder
  • 1
    Splunk query language rich so lots to learn

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- No public GitHub repository available -

What is Grafana?

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.

What is Splunk?

It provides the leading platform for Operational Intelligence. Customers use it to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine data.

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What are some alternatives to Grafana and Splunk?
Datadog
Datadog is the leading service for cloud-scale monitoring. It is used by IT, operations, and development teams who build and operate applications that run on dynamic or hybrid cloud infrastructure. Start monitoring in minutes with Datadog!
Kibana
Kibana is an open source (Apache Licensed), browser based analytics and search dashboard for Elasticsearch. Kibana is a snap to setup and start using. Kibana strives to be easy to get started with, while also being flexible and powerful, just like Elasticsearch.
Prometheus
Prometheus is a systems and service monitoring system. It collects metrics from configured targets at given intervals, evaluates rule expressions, displays the results, and can trigger alerts if some condition is observed to be true.
Graphite
Graphite does two things: 1) Store numeric time-series data and 2) Render graphs of this data on demand
Netdata
Netdata collects metrics per second & presents them in low-latency dashboards. It's designed to run on all of your physical & virtual servers, cloud deployments, Kubernetes clusters & edge/IoT devices, to monitor systems, containers & apps
See all alternatives