Prometheus vs. Zabbix

January 9, 2019

Table of Contents:


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


What is Prometheus?


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


Prometheus is an open-source 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 Zabbix?



Zabbix is an open-source monitoring tool for IT systems such as networks, servers, virtual machines, and cloud services. Zabbix can collect metrics, detect problems, visualize, notify, and send notifications. There is also functionality for app monitoring. Zabbix is designed for for small scale environments, from anywhere to a few devices to a thousand. Zabbix also allows for easy distributed monitoring, where you can keep connection and open port count low. Some large scale installations have been made, but they require a lot of optimization. Zabbix doesn’t store data itself, but it can use a broad range of databases. Zabbix’s backend is written in C and the web frontend is in PHP. Zabbix as a Service is available through the Zabbix website, and there are 5 stages for pricing. 

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 Zabbix?


Use Zabbix when you …

  • need an open source software with a C backend, and PHP front end. 
  • you want to use MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, SQLite, Oracle or IBM DB2 to store data.
  • you have a small scale business, with less than 1000 devices.
  • need monitoring, but not necessarily great visualization/support documentation.


Pricing comparison

  • Prometheus is open source, and free.
  • Business-ready Prometheus as a Service by MetricFire, including Hosted Prometheus, Hosted Graphite AND Grafana, starts at 99 USD a month.
  • Zabbix is open source and free.
  • Zabbix Enterprise is available through Zabbix.


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.
  • Zabbix is open source and free.
  • Zabbix is proprietary and does not offer visualisation.


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


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