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Sensu vs Prometheus: What’s the difference?
Prometheus provides a great starting point for collecting and analyzing data from Kubernetes. But there’s more to monitoring than metrics alone. While Prometheus’ model is focused purely on telemetry data, Sensu offers visibility into your entire stack, working with industry standard technologies and formats (like Nagios and StatsD). Sensu complements Prometheus while giving you additional context from events, health checks (i.e., not just metrics), more comprehensive capabilities around processing monitoring data as a workflow (i.e., Sensu handlers can do a lot more than just alerts), and a secure solution.
Why use Sensu + Prometheus for monitoring?
Sensu enables you to monitor your entire infrastructure — from Kubernetes to bare metal. By running Sensu alongside Prometheus, you get a more complete picture of your infrastructure.
Service health checks + metrics. Sensu's comprehensive service health-checking abilities (like the ability to monitor external resources with proxy requests and entities) helps fill gaps in a purely telemetry-focused approach.
Workflow automation – take action! Problem detection is only the first step in an effective monitoring strategy. Sensu's monitoring event pipeline provides powerful and extensible solutions for automating workflows, including collecting additional context, automated remediation and CMDB registration on discovery of new nodes/endpoints, and many more.
Get more context by scraping Prometheus endpoints and further enriching the telemetry data with additional data from Sensu (i.e., all the information about the system your Sensu agent is running on). With more fields and more context, you’ll be able to compose more complex queries later.
Greater flexibility. Sensu provides a single monitoring agent, allowing you to collect monitoring data in a variety of ways, as opposed to choosing a single method of collection. With Sensu, you get Prometheus endpoint scraping, service checks, and first-class APIs. Plus, Sensu fits perfectly within multiple monitoring instrumentation ecosystems — if you need to throw a ton of data at Sensu, go right ahead! Sensu lets you take advantage of the Prometheus instrumentation libraries while allowing you to process and store it in the database of your choosing, like InfluxDB, Elastic, or Splunk.
A more secure transport — Sensu supports and uses standard cryptography for communication. Sensu’s model allows for a single agent to collect and transmit data securely over complex networks without having to compromise firewalls.
Get started with Sensu + Prometheus today
It’s easy to try Sensu — the Sensu Go sandbox lets you immediately start exploring Sensu workflows with guided instruction. Bonus: it's a ready-made open source environment, with InfluxDB and Grafana pre-installed and configured.
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"The Sensu Community has provided Box.com engineers the ability to more quickly and reliably monitor their services — accelerating everything from debugging systems and auto-remediation to design decisions."