10 Best Kubernetes Monitoring Tools in 2023
Kubernetes combines the experience of Google’s engineers and community-sourced ideas and practices into an extensible, open-source platform used for managing containerized workloads and services. Kubernetes container orchestration is now an industry practice, and many projects depend on it, which emphasizes the need for a good monitoring solution even more.
What is Kubernetes?
The name comes from Greek and translates roughly as pilot or helmsman. You might also find the abbreviation K8s, representing the eight letters between the "K" and "s". Kubernetes has been Google's open-sourced project since 2014. Kubernetes rose as a solution to issues in software deployment, mostly related to hardware, cost, security, and scalability.
To understand the importance of Kubernetes, we need to understand where it came from and how it works.
Kubernetes's documentation divides deployment into three different eras:
- Traditional Deployment Era
- Virtualized Deployment Era
- Container Deployment Era
What is Kubernetes monitoring?
It's the practice of proactive analysis, management, and troubleshooting of Kubernetes. Monitoring allows you to utilize any containerized infrastructure more efficiently to improve uptime, resource distribution and utilization, and interactions between individual components of your cluster.
If you want to learn more about containers and Kubernetes, scroll down, for more information!
Best Kubernetes monitoring Tools in 2023.
For now, it should be crystal clear, that monitoring of your Kubernetes infrastructure is crucial in the overall success of your project. Now we will dig deeper into software and tools that will help you monitor it.
1. Better Stack
Better Stack offers support for your existing stack. Apart from Kubernetes, Better Stack supports Docker, Dokku, Heroku, Ubuntu/Debian, Vercel, and many more.
Even in the free package, Better Stack offers real-time Live Tail, automated parsing, and visual query builder. You can also benefit from automated data enrichment and log collection. Better Stack offers unlimited search duration, built-in Grafana, and interactive dashboards. When it comes to collaboration, Better Stack offers Google Docs-ish collaboration and comments with tagging available. You can also create team-based notifications and archive log fragments. Better Stack offers support for Docker, Dokku, Heroku, Ubuntu/Debian, Vercel, and many more.
You can get a rather generous Better Stack package for free; advanced features are available in higher tiers, starting at $24/month.
Main Benefits of Better Stack:
- Well designed, Dark Mode UI and Grafana Visualizations
- SQL-like log queries
- Advanced Collaboration Features
2. Kubernetes Dashboard
The Dashboard screen helps you understand the state of your infrastructure. Individual visualizations are color-based, based on the state and health of individual resources - e.g., a bright green circle shows healthy, active resources such as running Pods, while a red part of a pie graph represents failed resources.
Dashboards also give you an overview of Cron Jobs, Deployments, Pods, Replica Sets, Services, and more.
The Dashboard is a great tool that's free, easy to install, and part of the Kubernetes eco-system; however, it offers only a limited amount of features and is not a "dedicated" monitoring solution, meaning that a lot of work will remain on your shoulders.
Main benefits of the Kubernetes Dashboard:
- Simple, native application
LogDNA is built on Elasticsearch, providing you with relatively fast and reliable indexing and filtering of your logs. A web-based GUI handles filtering, logs grouping by source, and more. Visualization and custom dashboards are also available, and you can work with user-specific logs. Agentless log collection via Syslog and HTTP(s) with full-text search and visualizations are available.
LogDNA's pricing packages depend on the retention period in days and the number of users. For starters, you can get LogDNA for free for one user and without any logs retention and unlimited saved views.
Main Benefits of LogDNA:
- Pay-as-you-go pricing model
- Well designed UI
4. Sumo Logic
Sumo Logic offers complete solutions to AWS, GCP, and Azure, promising full infrastructure visibility in each. You can use Sumo Logic as a custom-tailored solution in multiple fields, such as education, gaming, retail, fintech, and even the public sector.
Sumo Logic offers an Infrastructure Monitoring solution, starting at around $0.50/1000 DPM daily average, which would sum up to around $14/month per host. You can try Sumo Logic in a free trial period, combine it with other solutions or ask for a custom quote.
Main Benefits of Sumo Logic:
- CrowdStrike threat intelligence
- Security analytics app framework
You can use Fluentd to collect logs, filters, buffers, and storage in JSON data structure. A Plug-in based system will allow you to extend and customize your architecture. A great advantage is its lightweight operation since it demands about 40MB of RAM while handling more than 13,000 events every second.
Fluentd is a Cloud Native Computing Foundation member project, is available on GitHub, and offers rich and well-written documentation, alongside community support.
Main Benefits of Fluentd:
- An open-source, CNCF project
6. NetApp Cloud Insights
NetApp offers seamless navigation and observability into Clusters, persistent storage allowing you to correlate storage utilization to workloads, and full-stack visualization, helping you understand individual metrics in context.
Data visualization is ensured by simple yet dynamic dashboards, which allow you to overview critical Kubernetes KPI. From here, you can view restart counts, calling metrics, pods, and containers that encounter outages, instability, or resource-related issues.
Main benefits of NetApp Cloud Insights:
- Full-stack observability
- Well designed dashboards
7. Sensu Go
Sensu Go is often running side-by-side with Prometheus. However, it is not necessary. It offers you an option to run custom scripts and plugins, collect metrics about resources usage, monitor and manage cloud endpoints or deploy a monitoring solution without coding, thanks to pre-defined templates.
Main benefits of Sensu Go:
- Smart alerts possible thanks to PagerDuty, ServiceNow, and Jira integrations
- Code-free workflow option
You can get Dynatrace either as a Full-stack monitoring solution starting at around $69/month or go for their Infrastructure Monitoring subscription, starting at $21/month for 8GB per Host.
Main Benefits of Dynatrace:
- AI-powered Tools
- Full-stack observability available
You can get Datadog for free, with a limitation to 5 hosts (1 node = 1 host). Bear in mind that this plan is heavily limited. For advanced features, you need to subscribe to their premium plans starting at around 15 dollars per Host per month.
Main Benefits of Datadog:
- An expensive but powerful solution
- An ecosystem full of solutions
Jaeger offers very well-written documentation, offering a straightforward tutorial on how to integrate it with Kubernetes and further customize it to your needs.
Main Benefits of Jaeger:
- Open-source license
What is a container?
A container is a standardized unit of software (just like a regular container) that packages up code and its dependencies in order to run applications reliably. Companies such as Docker offer a lightweight, standalone, executable package of software, including everything your application needs to perform: code, runtime, sys tools, sys libraries, and configuration.
Docker Container images become containers when they run on Docker Engine and can run both Linux and Windows-based applications.
Advantages of container deployment:
- While being similar to virtual machines, they allow sharing the OS, making it really lightweight
- Containers allow for better observability beneath the OS-level surface. You can monitor application health and other signals
- Apps run consistently across environments
- Better resource management. You can isolate resources to create a more predictable environment when it comes to performance, which also increases the effectiveness of resource utilization.
A cluster is a set of nodes running any containerized application. Clusters are composed of one main node and a number of worker nodes. Any of these nodes can be either a physical or a virtual machine.
Kubernetes Clusters Monitoring
When it comes to cluster monitoring, you want to overview the state of the whole cluster. You are making sure that all nodes in the cluster are working as they should, at what capacity, and how you are managing your resources.
To be able to know all this, you need to gain metrics, especially about:
- Resource utilization. This is a set of metrics such as Network bandwidth and hardware-related metrics - CPU, disk, and memory utilization.
- The Number of Nodes. These metrics help you to understand if you utilize your architecture properly. Meaning that you will understand (especially while using the cloud) how you utilize your cluster. Disk-related issues, such as resources shortage, can lead to severe failures such as data loss or corruption.
Google defines Pods as the smallest, most basic deployable objects in Kubernetes. A Pod represents a single instance of a running process in your cluster. Pods contain one or more containers, such as Docker containers. When a Pod runs multiple containers, the containers are managed as a single entity and share the Pod’s resources.
Measuring Pod resources helps you understand the load a running Pod will put on the system. These metrics help you to keep an eye on how many nodes you have available, evaluate the situation, predict and prevent any crisis scenarios such as node failure, etc. But you can also monitor Pods themselves and gather information about them. You can keep an eye on resources in context and understand the performance of the individual Pod. If it has enough resources, you can monitor containers, and finally, gather metrics from applications deployed.
In this article, you read a bit about the origins of modern deployment, containers, and finally, Kubernetes. We went over its beginnings and how does it operate. Then we proposed a list of the best K8S monitoring tools in 2023. As a wrap-up, we brought you information background about the basics of containers and Kubernetes monitoring.
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