Graphite vs Sensu: What are the differences?
Developers describe Graphite as "A highly scalable real-time graphing system". Graphite does two things: 1) Store numeric time-series data and 2) Render graphs of this data on demand. On the other hand, Sensu is detailed as "Open source monitoring framework". A monitoring framework that aims to be simple, malleable, and scalable. Essentially, Sensu takes the results of “check” scripts run across many systems, and if certain conditions are met; passes their information to one or more “handlers”. Checks are used, for example, to determine if a service like Apache is up or down.
Graphite and Sensu can be primarily classified as "Monitoring" tools.
Some of the features offered by Graphite are:
- carbon - a Twisted daemon that listens for time-series data
- whisper - a simple database library for storing time-series data (similar in design to RRD)
- graphite webapp - A Django webapp that renders graphs on-demand using Cairo
On the other hand, Sensu provides the following key features:
- Execute service checks
- Send notifications
- Collect metrics
"Render any graph" is the top reason why over 14 developers like Graphite, while over 11 developers mention "Support for almost anything" as the leading cause for choosing Sensu.
Graphite and Sensu are both open source tools. It seems that Graphite with 4.59K GitHub stars and 1.2K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Sensu with 2.96K GitHub stars and 389 GitHub forks.
According to the StackShare community, Graphite has a broader approval, being mentioned in 97 company stacks & 21 developers stacks; compared to Sensu, which is listed in 33 company stacks and 7 developer stacks.
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One size definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to open source monitoring solutions, and executing generally understood best practices in the context of unique distributed systems presents all sorts of problems. Megan Anctil, a senior engineer on the Technical Operations team at Slack gave a talk at an O’Reilly Velocity Conference sharing pain points and lessons learned at wrangling known technologies such as Icinga, Graphite, Grafana, and the Elastic Stack to best fit the company’s use cases.
At the time, Slack used a few well-known monitoring tools since it’s Technical Operations team wasn’t large enough to build an in-house solution for all of these. Nor did the team think it’s sustainable to throw money at the problem, given the volume of information processed and the not-insignificant price and rigidity of many vendor solutions. With thousands of servers across multiple regions and millions of metrics and documents being processed and indexed per second, the team had to figure out how to scale these technologies to fit Slack’s needs.
On the backend, they experimented with multiple clusters in both Graphite and ELK, distributed Icinga nodes, and more. At the same time, they’ve tried to build usability into Grafana that reflects the team’s mental models of the system and have found ways to make alerts from Icinga more insightful and actionable.
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...
(GitHub : https://github.com/m3db/m3)
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).