Cloud Native Ecosystem / Observability / Tools

Grafana Extends Free Access for Cloud-Managed Observability 

12 Jan 2021 2:04pm, by

Hoping to widen the reach of its already popular observability platform, Grafana Labs now offers free access to its Grafana Cloud platform. The company has also added more features to the enterprise offering under its standard pricing plan.

Previously, users’ free access to the Grafana Cloud console to monitor Kubernetes deployments with Prometheus, Loki and Tempo was limited to a 14-day trial period. For Grafana Pro users, the $49 per month subscription plan now allows for 15,000 series for metrics archived for 13 months instead of 3,000 series.

“This is a big benefit for all existing Grafana Cloud users, as some that are currently paying will get the service for free, and others will get it for less cost,” 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. “We can do this because we know how to run these services at scale so efficiently that we can pass those benefits onto our customers.”

Grafana communicated the following features Grafana Cloud offers for free unlimited us:

  • 10,000 series for Prometheus or Graphite metrics.
  • 50 GB of logs.
  • 14-day retention for metrics and logs.
  • Access for up to three team members.

Under the Grafana Pro service, Grafana said it offers users:

  • 15,000 series for metrics with 13-month retention (previously 3,000).
  • 100GB of logs with a one-month retention.
  • Reporting and PDF exports.
  • Advanced authentication (SAML/OAuth/LDAP).
  • Data source permissions.
  • Team collaboration with dashboard insights and team presence.
  • Custom domains.

Grafana and Prometheus have emerged as leading observability tools. In the Cloud Native Computing Foundation‘s Technology Radar Survey, for example, two-thirds of the respondents said they used both Grafana and Prometheus. The CNCF report writers also noted the relatively low barrier of entry for users to begin using these two open source tools, as well as many available free tutorials, have served to lower the barrier of entry for adoption. However, while easy to get started, integrating and using these tools at scale can prove challenging for many organizations, especially those that lack in-house resources to complete such a project.

“The Grafana and Prometheus open source projects are both incredibly easy to get started with and to use — this has been true for a while, and we’re making them even easier,” Wilkie said. “But a complete integrated stack — including logs, traces, an agent, dashboards, alerts, etc. — is harder to achieve with open source components, taking good engineers days and weeks to set up.”

At the same time, Grafana and Prometheus “are becoming de facto standards for observability, with wide grassroots adoption,” Wilkie claimed. “Every CTO and VP of Engineering is looking at them for their monitoring needs,” Wilkie said. “But not every organization has the time and resources to integrate them together and get the most out of them.”

The extended access to Grafana’s popular dashboard is also intended to “make the platform available for more people and drive more traffic, increasing the scale at which it runs and bringing benefits to all users,” Wilkie said. “At the same time this move makes a fully integrated observability platform built on extremely popular open source projects (Grafana, Prometheus, Loki and Tempo) available to more people,” Wilkie said.