Grafana vs. Power BI

June 20, 2019

What is Grafana?

Grafana is a visualization tool that allows you to see and analyze all of your metrics in one unified dashboard. Grafana can pull metrics from any source, such as Graphite and Prometheus, display that data, then enable you to annotate and understand the data directly in the dashboard. Grafana dashboards are designed to allow you to visualize information in a ton of ways, from histograms and heatmaps, to world maps. Grafana also has an alerting feature that can communicate with you through Slack, PagerDuty and more. Dashboards can be shared, downloaded or expanded with hundreds of plugins that make analysis easier. Grafana is open source, and Grafana as a Service is available through Metricfire.  

Get on our free trial and start to make Grafana dashboards in minutes. You can see if Grafana is the right fit for you. If you have any questions you can book a demo and talk to us directly. Also, if you're interested in how to make great dashboards, head to article on our favorite Grafana dashboards.

What is Power BI?

Power BI is a Microsoft owned business intelligence visualization tool. It can be applied for IT infrastructure and application monitoring, but their target functionality is business analytics. Power BI has a simple UI where you can ask questions in plain English, and have the exact graphs you’re looking for returned. Power BI can also identify insights in your data that you're not aware of using Quick Insights. Power BI has web, desktop and Mobile functionality. The Power BI desktop app allows you to build visualizations that are focused on your industry, such as 3D models of your products so you can easily indicate features of the product. Power BI functions best with Excel data, and can bring any kind of Excel data into the Power BI environment. 

When to use Grafana?

Use Grafana when you …

  • need beautiful, simple, annotated graphs. 
  • have multiple sources of metrics or logs and need to see them in one place.
  • need to share your dashboards across the organization.
  • need to reorganize information based on specific team needs.
  • need an easy to use query builder.
  • need alerting for events.

When to use Power BI?

Use Power BI when you …

  • have business intelligence information to visualize.
  • need assistance when analyzing business intelligence data.
  • have data in Excel. 
  • want to access your visualizations on desktop, web, and mobile.
  • want to build visualizations that are not data related, such as image based.
  • already have Microsoft 365 enterprise E5. 

Pricing comparison

  • Grafana is open source, and free.
  • Business-ready Grafana as a Service by MetricFire, including hosted graphite and prometheus, starts at 99 USD a month.
  • Power BI pro starts at 9.99 USD per user per month.
  • Add Power BI premium is 4995 USD per month.

Key takeaways

  • Grafana can integrate with a huge range of collectors, agents and storage engines.
  • Grafana is open source, and free.
  • Power BI is for analyzing business intelligence data in Excel. 

Get to know our Grafana as a Service better, and check out how MetricFire can fit into your monitoring environment! Get a free trial and start making Grafana dashboards right away. Feel free to book a demo if you have questions about what Grafana can do for you.

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