Graphite vs Grafana

If you are looking for a reliable open-source tool for monitoring and metric visualizations, Graphite is one name that will get mentioned a lot. However, despite the popularity, it is not exactly straightforward to deploy and use. Grafana is another helpful tool that can make Graphite much easier to use. Continue reading below to understand better about Graphite vs Grafana!

By reading the article below, you will get a good understanding of:
– What are Graphite and Grafana,
– The features and capabilities of Graphite and Grafana, and
– The recommendation for your monitoring architecture.

What is Graphite?
Graphite is a free open-source tool designed to monitor and graph numerical time-series data – for the network monitoring tool, see Solarwinds vs Nagios. This tool is especially popular for monitoring purposes. For example, you can use Graphite to monitor the performance of multiple computer systems in a network. You can also use it to monitor your servers and services. Graphite retrieves, stores, and displays real-time time-series data.

One reason why Graphite is somewhat difficult to deploy is because it consists of three distinct elements – four if you include the metric gatherer. These elements include:
– Carbon, which is a Twisted daemon for listening time-series data,
– Whisper, which is a simple database for storing the data, and
– Graphite Webapp, which is a Django webapp for rendering graphs.

Depending on the environment, one or even more of the default elements may be unsatisfactory for what you need. On the good side, the distinct elements allow you to mix and match different modules and finally create a fully customized Graphite deployment. You can download the software from Graphite’s official website here.

What is Grafana?
Grafana is a general-purpose Graphite dashboard replacement that is designed for displaying the metrics and visualizations through a web browser. In other words, this tool is designed to replace the Graphite Webapp when needed. Grafana is really nice because it is easy to set up, simple to maintain, and straightforward to use.

The main purpose of Grafana is to provide a better visualization component to Graphite. Initially, it was a front-end only tool that needed ElasticSearch for storing dashboards, but since the v2.0 release, it has come with backend storage for storing dashboards. Still, if you prefer pure front-end, it has all the tools needed.

Metric Visualizations
Once you have collected and stored the metrics, you want to visualize them. This is where the Graphite Webapp is supposed to work. It has fairly solid capabilities. However, many people think that the visualizations are too basic and unappealing. There are also limited visualization options.

That’s why Grafana is widely preferred for visualizations. First of all, it comes with loads of visualization options. Also, the graphs are more appealing and interactive.

Grafana boasts a dashboard creation interface and feature-rich graph editing. It comes with a unique Graphite target parser which enables easy editing on metrics and functions. It supports click-and-drag controls and zooming on any graph. It is known for having fast client-side rendering even when handling large time ranges. It also has a multitude of display options.

Graphite vs Grafana

GraphiteGrafana
- Free open-source tool designed to monitor and graph numerical time-series data- General-purpose Graphite dashboard replacement designed for displaying metrics and visualizations
- Basic and unappealing graphs- More interesting and interactive graphs
- Limited visualization options- Loads of visualization options

Conclusion
If customizable and interactive visualizations are important for you, Grafana is the way to go. This is an excellent metric visualization tool designed to work on Graphite by replacing the Graphite Webapp. It also has excellent performance, as it is able to render large time ranges quickly.

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