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In this article, we will discuss the major features, differences, and similarities of the open-source monitoring tools known as Prometheus and Graphite. We will then dive into how you can benefit from MetricFire’s hosted Prometheus and Graphite. Lastly, we will explain why, given the choice, hosted Graphite could be a better monitoring option for you.
MetricFire provides comprehensive monitoring solutions with Hosted Prometheus and Hosted Graphite. You can use our products with minimal configuration to gain in-depth insight into your resources. If you would like to learn more about it, please book a demo with us, or sign on to the free trial today.
What are Prometheus and Graphite
Before talking about the benefits of hosted Prometheus and Graphite, let’s first find out about both monitoring platforms and their differences.
Prometheus is an open-source tool that specializes in monitoring various applications and systems and showing data in metrics. This monitoring tool was born in 2012, and since then, many companies have embraced Prometheus as their monitoring tool of choice.
Thanks to its popularity, it has an active developer and user community where users exchange opinions and tips. The tool is positioned as a standalone open-source project and managed independently by companies.
Prometheus provides the following features.
- It can digest and present as a multi-dimensional data model. The time-series data metrics can be searched by their name and key-value pairs.
- It comes with PromQL - a query language to utilize this dimensionality.
- It collects time series data by a pull model over HTTP.
- It supports multiple modes of graphs, charts, and dashboards.
- It works especially well with numeric time-series data.
Graphite is also open-source software that is designed to monitor and visualize time-series data such as system performance, websites, applications, business services, and servers. The tool runs well on hardware with low specifications or Cloud infrastructure.
Graphite was originally created by Chris Davis at Orbitz in 2006 as a side project. In 2008, Orbitz released Graphite with the open-source Apache 2.0 license. Many enterprises have chosen Graphite since then to monitor their production e-commerce services.
Graphite consists of three major components.
- Carbon: a Twisted daemon that listens to time-series data. Here, “Twisted” refers to an event-driven networking engine that’s written in Python and released under the open-source MIT license.
- Whisper: a small database library for storing time-series data. Whisper is a fixed-size database and is similar to the design and purpose of an RRD (round-robin-database). It is strong at providing fast, reliable storage of numeric data over time.
- Graphite webapp: a Django web app that displays graphs on-demand using Cairo library. Django is a Python-based Web framework that was designed to streamline web development.
Graphite offers the following major features.
- It has a simple architecture and a great performance.
- It shows time-series metrics in intuitive graphs and charts.
- It is relatively easier to learn compared to other monitoring tools.
- It has a big community support and is widely used.
- It suits diverse use cases such as analytics, DevOps, prediction, and more.
Prometheus vs. Graphite
Prometheus and Graphite are both good monitoring tools for various systems and applications. However, it is important to understand the similarities and differences between them, so that you can make an informed decision.
- Both provide visualization methods for time-series data.
- They can store numeric samples for named time series.
- They both are open source.
- They are compatible with an extensive range of tools and plugins.
- They are reliable and fault-proof.
- They can monitor time-series data on a real-time basis.
- Prometheus was written in Go and Graphite was built in Python.
- Prometheus can scrap, store, query, visualize, and alert based on time-series data. Prometheus also provides APIs to access the data.
Graphite can store numeric time-series data, and can visualize it. Graphite can also scrap and alert with extended libraries.
- Data collection of Prometheus can be done in an active or pull mode, while Graphite is done in a passive or a push mode.
- Prometheus and Graphite support the following languages:
- Prometheus supports partitioning by sharding and replication by the federation. Graphite can be partitioned by continuous hashing and replicated by external tools.
MetricFire's Hosted Prometheus and Graphite
Although they both offer powerful monitoring features and visualization, there is one important component that still can be improved. That’s maintenance.
Since they both are open-source, you have to install and maintain them by yourself, which can be a burden for your team and organization. MetricFire removes that inconvenient maintenance task by providing Hosted Prometheus and Hosted Graphite services.
First, let’s find out what benefits Hosted Prometheus or Prometheus-as-a-Service offers to its users. There are three major features that Hosted Prometheus provides.
- Autoscaling: when you manage your own servers with non-hosted Prometheus, one big issue you can face is handling scaling as your traffic goes up and down. MetricFire’s Hosted Prometheus automatically handles scaling needs for you.
- Long-term storage: MetricFire provides long-term data storage with 3 times the redundancy. This will allow you to keep your data safe and focus on data analysis.
- Auto-updates: The hosted service automatically applies updates to the Prometheus and Grafana stack for you.
Before moving on, we want to raise this point regarding compatibility with Kubernetes. If you want to monitor your Kubernetes clusters via hosted Prometheus, you can read this article. Alternatively, consider the steps below.
- Install a local open-source Prometheus within your Kubernetes cluster.
- Then, do remote_write to MetricFire’s Hosted Prometheus.
When you do these, hosted Prometheus works more like long-term storage than an actual full-blown hosted Prometheus solution. If MetricFire were to try to manage the local Prometheus within your Kubernetes clusters, it would mean causing a lot of common security issues.
Thus, we recommend using the Hosted Graphite Agent instead. The Hosted Graphite Agent is fully customizable, which means we can tailor your monitoring needs more comprehensively than with Hosted Prometheus.
If you have any questions about Kubernetes compatibility with both hosted Prometheus and Graphite, book a demo today and speak with one of our experts. If you’d like to try for yourself, sign up for the free trial today.
- Redundancy storage: Graphite’s default storage is file-based and antiquated. MetricFire offers 3 times the redundant storage for seamless scaling and better data protection.
- Control by APIs: The APIs that MetricFire provides lets you control and automate the resources of Hosted Graphite.
- Tagged metrics: Hosted Graphite stores data using tags that enable viewing and organizing metrics with data views.
Hosted Graphite keeps all the benefits of open-source Graphite and further enhances the tool with the built-in agent, team accounts, granular dashboard permissions, and integrations to other major platforms and services such as AWS, Heroku, logging tools, and more.
In addition to these major features mentioned above, here are some more benefits to consider.
- Hosted Graphite backs up your user data and dashboard every hour.
- You are in good hands with MetricFire's technical experts.
- MetricFire offers an extensive range of options for users of all sizes with plans and customization to meet your needs.
- MetricFire’s on-call team is ready 24/7, 365 days. Our team keeps watching your hosted Graphite from around the world using an automated monitoring system.
- We have been ingesting billions of data points per day since 2012. Our mature metric processing and storage capabilities are trusted by thousands of engineers.
- You can directly send metrics from your application without additional dependencies or aggregation services.
Hosted Graphite is a great option!
Both Hosted Prometheus and Graphite are great monitoring tools. They have inherent benefits such as managed services like cost reduction, increased productivity, and enhanced security. However, between the two options, my conclusion of using Hosted Graphite over Prometheus can be seen by the specific strengths listed below.
1. Graphite is more stable and generally more trusted as it has been around for longer. This can also mean more community support and better compatibility with other tools and services. Thanks to the long history, it also has a large selection of functions that are applicable not only to monitoring, but to many different tasks such as; anomaly detection, business intelligence, and performance analysis
2. Graphite will be a fantastic choice for network monitoring since the tool has a better agent for collecting data from SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) network devices than any other network monitoring tool.
3. Graphite can be used to monitor Kubernetes as detailed in this MetricFire article. Hosted Prometheus, as described above, causes problems since it breaches security standards when accessing your Kubernetes clusters. A local Prometheus must be installed to get the metrics out of your cluster into Hosted Prometheus. In contrast, Hosted Graphite can send metrics directly from an agent.
If you are considering a monitoring tool for your Kubernetes resources, choose Hosted Graphite. Plus, Hosted Graphite works well with our Grafana-as-a-Service that provides a beautiful and intuitive dashboard. It is easy to use and integrate Hosted Grafana with our Hosted Graphite.
In this article, we looked into both Prometheus and Graphite in general, and their hosted versions provided by MetricFire. MetricFire provides a Hosted version of Prometheus which includes storing your data for two years, a Hosted version of Graphite, a complete tool Grafana for data visualization, and much more.
You can use our product with minimal configuration to gain in-depth insight into your environments. If you would like to learn more about these services, feel free to book a demo to speak with one of our experts or sign on to the free trial today.