Prometheus vs. ELK

July 11, 2019

Table of Contents:

  • What is Prometheus?
  • What is ELK?
  • When to use Hosted Prometheus by MetricFire? 
  • When to use ELK?
  • Pricing comparison
  • Key takeaways? 


What is Prometheus?


Source: https://prometheus.io/assets/architecture.png


Prometheus is an open-source service monitoring system built around a time series database, able to receive data and store it, in addition to supporting queries, graphs, and in-built alerting. Connecting to target endpoints to request metrics via HTTP, Prometheus provides a multi-dimensional data model wherein metrics can be defined by names and/or tags which identify them as part of a unique time series. Open-source Prometheus metrics have a default retention of 15 days, though with Hosted Prometheus by MetricFire data can be stored for up to 2 years. The Prometheus query language (PromQL) can then be used to explore metrics and draw simple graphs. 


What is ELK?



ELK stands for Elasticsearch, logstash and Kibana. The company began with Elasticsearch, which is an open-source search engine for raw data from logs, metrics or web applications. It has a web interface, and can be used for searching, logging, monitoring, and analysis. Kibana is the open source dashboard for visualizing Elasticsearch. Kibana is the interface through which users see their Elasticstack, and provides features such as data exploration, collaboration, and forecasting on data trends. Logstash is the data pipeline that gets data to Elasticsearch in a format that Elasticsearch can handle. This expands the data types that Elasticsearch can process, and allows for more flexibility in parsing or filtering the data. Elasticsearch has a hosted version available through the open-source project’s website. 

When to use Hosted Prometheus by MetricFire?


Use Hosted Prometheus when you …

  • need a time-series database monitoring solution.
  • need long-term storage for Prometheus metrics.
  • need to use tags/labels for metrics.
  • need to run alerts across different data sources.
  • want to use and query both Prometheus and Graphite though Grafana all as a part of the same service.


When to use ELK?


Use ELK when you …

  • need great searching.
  • need forecasting for data.
  • are already using one part of the ELK stack, making it easy to expand to using the others.


Pricing comparison

  • Prometheus is open source, and free.
  • Business-ready Prometheus as a Service by MetricFire, including Hosted Graphite AND Grafana, starts at 99 USD a month.
  • ELK is open source, and free.
  • Hosted ELK is available at the Enterprise level through the open-source project's website.


Key takeaways

  • Prometheus can provide a dimensional data model where metrics are identified by a metric name and tags with built-in storage, graphing and alerting.
  • Prometheus is open source, and free.
  • ELK is a great alternative for people who need fast searching for their data.


Get to know our Hosted Prometheus better, and check out how MetricFire can fit into your monitoring environment!


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