Grafana Labs has unveiled a Grafana Metrics Enterprise edition of its implementation of the open source Prometheus monitoring platform that can be deployed on-premises.
Previously, Grafana Labs made a Prometheus platform available based on Cortex, an open source project that unifies observability across multiple instances of Prometheus. The tools for visualizing metrics generated by Prometheus are based on open source Grafana dashboard.
Tom Wilkie, vice president of product for Grafana Labs, says the company has been able to streamline the deployment and updating process for Cortex around a single binary to enable it to be deployed on-premises. The approach provides the benefit of a managed service that enables IT organizations that want to deploy Prometheus on-premises to have a cloud-like experience without having to deploy and manage large numbers of microservices on their own, he notes.
Prometheus adoption has occurred largely in lockstep with the rise of Kubernetes. Both projects are being advanced under the auspices of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Many developers who deploy cloud-native applications on Kubernetes have shown a strong preference for an open source monitoring tool. As the number of Kubernetes clusters deployed in production environments, many IT operations teams wind up looking to a third party to manage an instance of Prometheus on their behalf in much the same way they currently consume application performance management (APM) tools for their legacy applications.
However, Wilkie notes that once organizations start using Prometheus they often discover the platform can be employed to monitor both cloud-native applications running on Kubernetes as well as monolithic applications running on legacy platforms. In fact, he contends that the support for Prometheus data formats and query languages made available by commercial providers of APM platforms is an indication of how widely Prometheus is being adopted by enterprise IT organizations.
The multi-tenant Grafana Labs offerings based on Prometheus are specifically designed to appeal to enterprise IT organizations by including support for built-in authentication, data-access policies and cluster federation. IT administrators can control where their metrics live and who gets to use them regardless of where data was created. Grafana Metrics Enterprise also includes the same streamlined user interface for managing centralized Prometheus alerts.
It’s too early to say how the next phase of the battle over observability platforms will play out. The one thing that is certain is the rise of microservices is making observability a more crucial requirement as the number of dependencies between loosely coupled software modules steadily increases. As part of an effort to reduce the cost of implementing APM at scale, the providers of these platforms are embracing everything from open source agent software to querying tools. However, the back-end analytics platforms themselves are not based on Prometheus, which is a critical difference Grafana Labs is looking to exploit.
Fresh off raising $50 million in additional funding, it looks like Grafana Labs also now has the resources required to make a substantial fight of it as well.