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Prometheus vs Splunk: What are the differences?

Prometheus and Splunk are both popular tools used for monitoring and troubleshooting in the field of DevOps. Let's explore the key differences between them.

  1. Data Collection and Storage: Prometheus is an open-source solution that uses a pull model for data collection. It gathers metrics by scraping designated endpoints at predefined intervals. The collected data is then stored in a time-series database. On the other hand, Splunk is a commercial solution that uses a push model. It receives data from various sources and indexes it in a centralized repository for easier search and analysis.

  2. Network Overhead: Prometheus requires a relatively low network overhead as it only pulls data from the endpoints when needed. However, Splunk has a higher network overhead as it continuously receives data from multiple sources and requires more bandwidth for real-time monitoring.

  3. Query Language and Analytics: Prometheus offers a flexible and powerful query language called PromQL, which allows users to perform complex queries and aggregations on the collected metrics. Splunk, on the other hand, uses its own search processing language (SPL), which provides a wide range of features for data search, correlation, and visualization.

  4. Scalability: Prometheus is designed to be highly scalable, allowing it to handle large volumes of data and thousands of endpoints. It can easily be horizontally scaled by adding more instances. Splunk, on the other hand, may require additional infrastructure to scale effectively. It is more suitable for smaller or medium-scale deployments.

  5. Alerting and Monitoring: Prometheus has built-in alerting capabilities, allowing users to define and configure alerts based on custom thresholds and conditions. It can send notifications through various channels such as email, Slack, or PagerDuty. Splunk also provides alerting capabilities, but it requires additional configuration and setup.

  6. Cost: Prometheus is free and open-source, making it a cost-effective solution for many organizations. Splunk, being a commercial product, comes with associated licensing costs, which can be quite substantial depending on the deployment size and features used.

In summary, Prometheus is an open-source solution with powerful querying capabilities, lower network overhead, and cost-effectiveness. In contrast, Splunk is a commercial solution that offers advanced features, better scalability, and more options for data collection.

Advice on Prometheus and Splunk
Susmita Meher
Senior SRE at African Bank · | 4 upvotes · 805.2K 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 · 590.6K 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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Sunil Chaudhari
Needs advice
on
MetricbeatMetricbeat
and
PrometheusPrometheus

Hi, We have a situation, where we are using Prometheus to get system metrics from PCF (Pivotal Cloud Foundry) platform. We send that as time-series data to Cortex via a Prometheus server and built a dashboard using Grafana. There is another pipeline where we need to read metrics from a Linux server using Metricbeat, CPU, memory, and Disk. That will be sent to Elasticsearch and Grafana will pull and show the data in a dashboard.

Is it OK to use Metricbeat for Linux server or can we use Prometheus?

What is the difference in system metrics sent by Metricbeat and Prometheus node exporters?

Regards, Sunil.

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Replies (2)
Matthew Rothstein
Recommends
on
PrometheusPrometheus

If you're already using Prometheus for your system metrics, then it seems like standing up Elasticsearch just for Linux host monitoring is excessive. The node_exporter is probably sufficient if you'e looking for standard system metrics.

Another thing to consider is that Metricbeat / ELK use a push model for metrics delivery, whereas Prometheus pulls metrics from each node it is monitoring. Depending on how you manage your network security, opting for one solution over two may make things simpler.

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Recommends
on
InstanaInstana

Hi Sunil! Unfortunately, I don´t have much experience with Metricbeat so I can´t advise on the diffs with Prometheus...for Linux server, I encourage you to use Prometheus node exporter and for PCF, I would recommend using the instana tile (https://www.instana.com/supported-technologies/pivotal-cloud-foundry/). Let me know if you have further questions! Regards Jose

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Mat Jovanovic
Head of Cloud at Mats Cloud · | 3 upvotes · 733.9K 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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Pros of Prometheus
Pros of Splunk
  • 47
    Powerful easy to use monitoring
  • 38
    Flexible query language
  • 32
    Dimensional data model
  • 27
    Alerts
  • 23
    Active and responsive community
  • 22
    Extensive integrations
  • 19
    Easy to setup
  • 12
    Beautiful Model and Query language
  • 7
    Easy to extend
  • 6
    Nice
  • 3
    Written in Go
  • 2
    Good for experimentation
  • 1
    Easy for monitoring
  • 3
    API for searching logs, running reports
  • 3
    Alert system based on custom query results
  • 2
    Splunk language supports string, date manip, math, etc
  • 2
    Dashboarding on any log contents
  • 2
    Custom log parsing as well as automatic parsing
  • 2
    Query engine supports joining, aggregation, stats, etc
  • 2
    Rich GUI for searching live logs
  • 2
    Ability to style search results into reports
  • 1
    Granular scheduling and time window support
  • 1
    Query any log as key-value pairs

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Cons of Prometheus
Cons of Splunk
  • 12
    Just for metrics
  • 6
    Bad UI
  • 6
    Needs monitoring to access metrics endpoints
  • 4
    Not easy to configure and use
  • 3
    Supports only active agents
  • 2
    Written in Go
  • 2
    TLS is quite difficult to understand
  • 2
    Requires multiple applications and tools
  • 1
    Single point of failure
  • 1
    Splunk query language rich so lots to learn

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What is 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.

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 Prometheus 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!
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.
New Relic
The world’s best software and DevOps teams rely on New Relic to move faster, make better decisions and create best-in-class digital experiences. If you run software, you need to run New Relic. More than 50% of the Fortune 100 do too.
InfluxDB
InfluxDB is a scalable datastore for metrics, events, and real-time analytics. It has a built-in HTTP API so you don't have to write any server side code to get up and running. InfluxDB is designed to be scalable, simple to install and manage, and fast to get data in and out.
Graphite
Graphite does two things: 1) Store numeric time-series data and 2) Render graphs of this data on demand
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