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Cloud Native Ecosystem / Observability

Grafana Adds Logging to Its Enterprise Observability Stack

Feb 18th, 2021 1:48pm by
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Grafana Labs has added log indexing, storage and administration control to Grafana Enterprise system monitoring platform, as it seeks to build a full cloud native observability stack for its enterprise users.

Based on the Loki (for logging) and Cortex (for metric queries on Prometheus) open source platforms, which Grafana maintains, the concept is also intended to help meet the demand for logging functionality within the Grafana Enterprise stack, while complementing metrics and other Grafana Enterprise capabilities.

“What we are seeing is that organizations that adopt Grafana Enterprise really like our approach, and have been expressing more and more desire to adopt our solutions in the adjacent spaces of metrics and logs storage,” Tom Wilkie, vice president of product at Grafana Labs, who is also a Prometheus maintainer and a Loki and Cortex co-creator, told The New Stack. “Grafana Enterprise Metrics and Grafana Enterprise Logs are our offerings here — building on the Cortex and Loki projects to make the technology more accessible, easier to operate and suitable for the needs of a large organization.”

Ahead of the logging-capability release, the Grafana developer team observed how users were moving away from legacy technologies, such as Graphite and OpenTSDB or custom in-house solutions, and towards enterprise-grade Prometheus solutions that “can handle the scale, reliability and security requirements of large, modern organizations,” Wilkie said. “In particular, GEM offers built-in Graphite compatibility alongside its native Prometheus architecture that can help users gradually and incrementally migrate away from Graphite, Wilkie said.

For log aggregation, Wilkie observed that most organizations with which Grafana Labs works use either Splunk or Elastic. “Splunk or Elastic are very powerful and capable products — but we find organizations are looking for a more cloud native, scalable and integrated ‘observability first’ solution for their developer logs,” Wilkie said. “We find again, they want to centralize the grass-roots adoption of Grafana Loki. Interestingly, this tends to augment their existing log-aggregations solutions, which remain in use for the more complex analytical and BI use cases.”

Grafana Labs said the Grafana Enterprise Stack bundle now consists of:

  • Grafana Enterprise Logs, based on Grafana Loki, for large organizations, with added management, security and scalability capabilities.
  • Grafana Enterprise, for large organizations for observability self-management and integration with commercial data sources, such as Splunk, and additional security features.
  • Grafana Enterprise Metrics, based on the Cloud Native Computing Foundation‘s Cortex project, with added management, security and scalability capabilities.

“Existing Grafana users have been converting to Grafana Enterprise for a while now, especially when they need to connect to their existing enterprise data sources such as Splunk, Datadog, New Relic, etc.,” Wilkie said. “They find Grafana to be the best way to combine the data from these disparate systems in a single place and build an un-opinionated, ‘big tent’ observability platform — none of this is changing.”

In the spirit of Grafana’s research-oriented and open source development culture, Wilkie also said the ongoing expansion of Grafana Enterprise’s features is not an “all or nothing offering” proposition.

“We still see lots of organizations adopting some of the stack, and not others. This is a key tenant of Grafana Labs approach: our products allow the end users to own their observability strategy,” Wilkie said. “Almost all organizations we talk to are building a strategy around a centralized observability ‘services’ team, bringing together the grass-roots adoption of technologies like Grafana and Prometheus into a single place. Grafana Enterprise and Grafana Enterprise Metrics give them an easy to manage, infinitely scalable 100% Prometheus-compatible solution to this.”

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