NETDATA

VS

PROMETHEUS

Explore the key differences between Netdata and Prometheus to determine the best monitoring solution for your needs, whether you're seeking real-time insights or comprehensive data analysis.
NETDATA
VS
PROMETHEUS

Key Highlights

  • Real-time performance monitoring
  • Lightweight and fast
  • Out of the box dashboards, alerts & ML
  • Decentralized architecture, data always on prem
  • 800+ integrations, unlimited metrics
  • Open-source monitoring and alerting
  • Strong community and support
  • Efficient time series data handling
  • Limited long-term data storage
  • Steeper learning curve

Feature comparison

 
Data Collection 1-second granularity, for all metrics, designed for troubleshooting emerging issues in real-time with high-fidelity data. Default scrape interval is 15 seconds, which can miss short-term spikes and is less suited for real-time issues
Architecture Decentralized architecture enables exceptional vertical and horizontal scalability while handling high data volume and velocity. Minimal traffic egress costs. Primarily centralized, which means all data is sent to a central location for analysis.
Machine Learning Unsupervised ML and anomaly detection for every single metric No query language required No native machine learning or anomaly detection features PromQL, steep learning curve but powerful.
Visualization High-resolution, low-latency dashboards. Requires Grafana for advanced visualization; native UI is minimalistic.
Alerts Hundreds of powerful out-of-the-box alerts - zero configuration required. Custom alerts exists for those who need it. Basic alerting with AlertManager; often requires manual rules and complex expressions.
Cost of Ownership Netdata agent is free & OSS.
Netdata Cloud On Prem is cost-effective and has transparent pricing. Zero hidden costs
Free open-source software, but may incur costs for storage and compute resources.
Storage & Data Retention Local storage optimized for real-time data, can keep metrics for years with enough disk space. Requires external long-term storage like Thanos or Cortex for retaining metrics over extended periods

Performance comparison

 
Version v1.43.0-105-ga84213ca3
(nightly of Oct 29, 2023)
2.44.0
(branch: HEAD,
revision: 1ac5131f698ebc60f13fe2727f89b115a41f6558)

Configuration

(Changes to the defaults)
2.6 TiB storage in 3 tiers
Disabled ML
Disabled Health
Retention 7 days
Per Second data collection

Hardware

(VMs on the same physical server)
24 CPU cores
100 GB RAM
4 TB SSD
24 CPU cores
100 GB RAM
4 TB SSD

Metrics offered

(approximately, concurrently collected)
2.7 million per second 2.7 million per second

CPU Utilization

(average)
4.9 CPU cores
(spikes at 8 cores)
-35%
7.3 CPU cores
(spikes at 15 cores)
+53%

Memory Consumption

(snapshot)
45.1 GiB
(36.2 GiB without shared)
-49%
88.8 GiB
(60.2 GiB without shared)
+97%
Network Bandwidth 227 Mbps
(ZSTD compression)
-12%
257 Mbps
(GZIP compression)
+13.5%
Disk I/O no reads
2.7 MiB/s writes
-98%
73.6 MiB/s reads
55.2 MiB/s writes
+4770%
Disk Footprint 3 TiB 3 TiB
Metrics Retention 9.6 days (per-sec)
43 days (per-min)
467 days (per-hour)
+37% (per-sec)
7 days (per-sec)
-28% (per-sec)
Unique time-series on disk 8 million 5 million

Bytes per sample on disk

(per-sec tier)
0.75 bytes / sample
-75%
2.1 bytes / sample
+280%

Potential data loss

(network issues, maintenance, etc)

No

(missing samples are replicated from the source on reconnection)

Yes

(missing samples are filled from adjacent ones at query time)
Clustering

Yes

(active-active Parents)

No

(not natively, possible with more tools)

Why engineers choose Netdata

  • Ease of use

    Engineers often choose Netdata for its remarkable ease of use. Installation takes just minutes, and users can start monitoring almost immediately. Netdata comes with pre-built alerts and automated anomaly detection for every metric, simplifying the process of setting up and maintaining a monitoring system. This user-friendly approach is ideal for those who want to focus more on insights and less on setup.

  • Out of the box Dashboards

    One of the key reasons for choosing Netdata is its comprehensive, out-of-the-box dashboards. These dashboards eliminate the need for additional tools like Grafana, which is necessary for Prometheus. This means engineers can access a full suite of visualizations and insights immediately after installation, without the extra effort of configuring separate visualization tools.

  • Unlimited Real-Time Metrics

    Netdata is preferred for its ability to provide real-time metrics without the need for cherry-picking. It collects every metric every second, which means engineers don’t have to spend time determining what to monitor. This comprehensive coverage ensures that no critical metric is overlooked, making it an ideal tool for detailed and immediate system analysis.

  • Minimal configuration

    The minimal configuration required to get started with Netdata is a significant draw. Unlike Prometheus, which involves a more complex query language, Netdata allows engineers to avoid the steep learning curve. This ease of setup and use makes Netdata particularly attractive for teams looking to implement an effective monitoring solution quickly and with minimal technical overhead.

  • Opinionated Troubleshooting

    Netdata offers an opinionated troubleshooting experience, guiding engineers through the monitoring process. This approach means that users don't need to become experts in every aspect of system monitoring. Netdata's structured and guided monitoring experience is especially beneficial for teams that prefer clear, directed insights over customizable but complex monitoring setups.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's easier to setup and use for beginners, Netdata or Prometheus?

Netdata is generally easier to set up and use compared to Prometheus. Netdata is designed with a focus on simplicity and immediate usability, offering a straightforward installation process and automatically configured dashboards for immediate monitoring. Its user interface is intuitive, making it accessible for users who may not have extensive experience in system monitoring. On the other hand, Prometheus, while extremely powerful, has a steeper learning curve. Its setup and configuration, especially for complex monitoring needs, require a more in-depth understanding of its query language and alerting system. Integrating Prometheus with visualization tools like Grafana also adds to the initial setup complexity. For beginners looking for an easy-to-use tool for immediate insights into their systems, Netdata is the best choice.

How does the data visualization in Netdata compare to that in Prometheus?

Netdata offers more immediate and user-friendly data visualization, providing real-time, interactive dashboards that are easy to set up and customize. In contrast, Prometheus itself focuses more on data collection and storage, relying on external tools like Grafana for advanced data visualization. This means that while Prometheus can achieve powerful and detailed visualizations, it often requires more setup and integration work compared to Netdata’s out-of-the-box visualization capabilities.

How do Netdata and Prometheus handle alerting?

Netdata comes with built-in alerting capabilities, providing immediate and configurable alerts based on the metrics it monitors. It has a vast array of pre-configured alerts for various system metrics, which can be customized as needed. Netdata’s alerting system is designed for simplicity and ease of use, making it accessible even for users who are not deeply technical. Prometheus handles alerting through the Alertmanager, which is a separate component. It supports features like grouping, inhibition, silencing, and routing of alerts. However, setting up alerts in Prometheus typically requires a deeper understanding of the system and manual configuration of the alerting rules.

Can Netdata integrate with Prometheus?

Yes, Netdata can integrate with Prometheus effectively. Netdata has the capability to export metrics to Prometheus using the Prometheus remote write feature. This allows Netdata to send its collected data directly to a Prometheus server, enabling users to leverage Prometheus for long-term storage and more complex querying of the metrics collected by Netdata. Furthermore, Netdata seamlessly integrates with nearly a thousand Prometheus exporters that follow the OpenMetrics exposition format. This means that any metric that is available through a Prometheus exporter can be easily imported into Netdata. This integration capability ensures that users can utilize the strengths of both tools, combining Netdata’s real-time monitoring and detailed metrics with Prometheus’s robust data processing and storage capabilities.

I already have a Prometheus + Grafana stack, would I still need Netdata? Why?

If you already have a Prometheus + Grafana stack (as many of our users do) incorporating Netdata could still be very beneficial, particularly for its real-time monitoring capabilities. Netdata excels in providing high-fidelity, 1-second granularity metrics, which is crucial for identifying and diagnosing issues as they happen. Unlike the need to cherry-pick metrics in Prometheus and Grafana, Netdata offers out-of-the-box dashboards for every metric it monitors, saving time and effort in setup and configuration. Additionally, Netdata’s built-in alerts and anomaly detection for each metric by default means you’re better equipped to identify and respond to issues immediately. This feature is particularly valuable for scenarios where problems occur during off-hours, such as at 3 AM. Netdata’s ability to promptly alert you about anomalies and issues makes it an excellent tool for real-time problem detection and resolution, complementing your existing Prometheus + Grafana stack by covering aspects they may not focus on as extensively.

Get Netdata

Sign up for free

Want to see a demonstration of Netdata for multiple use cases?

Go to Live Demo