Kibana vs Sensu: What are the differences?
Developers describe Kibana as "Explore & Visualize Your Data". 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. 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.
Kibana and Sensu can be categorized as "Monitoring" tools.
Some of the features offered by Kibana are:
- Flexible analytics and visualization platform
- Real-time summary and charting of streaming data
- Intuitive interface for a variety of users
On the other hand, Sensu provides the following key features:
- Execute service checks
- Send notifications
- Collect metrics
"Easy to setup" is the top reason why over 76 developers like Kibana, while over 11 developers mention "Support for almost anything" as the leading cause for choosing Sensu.
Kibana and Sensu are both open source tools. It seems that Kibana with 12.4K GitHub stars and 4.8K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Sensu with 2.96K GitHub stars and 389 GitHub forks.
According to the StackShare community, Kibana has a broader approval, being mentioned in 907 company stacks & 479 developers stacks; compared to Sensu, which is listed in 33 company stacks and 7 developer stacks.
What is Kibana?
What is Sensu?
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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.
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.
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
For our Predictive Analytics platform, we have used both Grafana and Kibana
- Grafana based demo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdTB2AcU4Sg
- Kibana based reporting screenshot: https://imgur.com/vuVvZKN
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)
Used for graphing internal logging data; including metrics related to how fast we serve pages and execute MySQL/ElasticSearch queries.
Our Kibana instances uses our ElasticSearch search data to help answer any complicated questions we have about our data.
Kibana is our tools to query data in Elasticsearch clusters set up as catalog search engine.