Grafana and time series databases

More than a Thousand Words


If you want leave Graphite out of the equation, you will find a possible alternative in InfluxDB, which is also a genuine time series database that was developed for requirements very similar to those handled by Graphite. Nevertheless, the products are independent and, apart from individual design principles, have little in common with each other. Weighing the pros and cons of the two solutions against each other is futile; naturally, both candidates claim to offer a little more performance than the other solution.

InfluxDB integration with Grafana is absolutely comparable to that of Graphite in terms of quality. Ultimately, it is all about your specific use case and, not least, about your own preferences as an admin, so you will need to run both products in a direct comparison and complete realistic test scenarios. InfluxDB only makes sense in combination with Sensu, because Sensu also acts as the supplier of the coveted metrics.


Elasticsearch perfectly proves that Grafana can be used as a monitoring tool in combination with other programs. What may look nonsensical at first glance makes perfect sense when you take a closer look. Because various tools use Elasticsearch to save their results – especially in performance metering – Felix Barnsteiner, who is responsible for the Stagemonitor [5] Java performance application, pushed the integration of Grafana and Elasticsearch. Stagemonitor stores its measured values in Elasticsearch, so with an interface between Grafana and Elasticsearch, you can now perfectly visualize these values. In this sense, Elasticsearch is a time series database after all.


In contrast to Graphite and InfluxDB, OpenTSDB never explicitly refers to trending in its product description. Instead, the solution presents as a distributed data store that can cope with large volumes of time series data and leaves it up to admins to consider the use cases that match its capabilities.

Under these circumstances, admins are unlikely to opt for OpenTSDB. From the user's perspective, the solution is simple to deploy; however, from an admin perspective, doing so implies a running Hadoop cluster, because OpenTSDB uses Hadoop as its data store in the background. In other words, you cannot easily build this setup. However, if you happen to have a working OpenTSDB cluster with the appropriate payload, you can add Grafana through the matching plugin.

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