10 Best Splunk Alternatives to Consider in 2023
Splunk is a data management and analysis platform that allows you to observe, search, analyze, visualize, and create reports on vast amounts of machine data so that you can easily make sense of the data and use it to increase the efficiency and productivity of your business.
As machine data is often complex and unstructured, making sense of it can be a tedious process, especially when considering the volume of the data. By using a platform like Splunk, you can process such data in real-time and extract the relevant data so that you can pinpoint the source of the problems on your system.
It is an enterprise-ready solution with several offerings that you can take advantage of to reach full-observability of your infrastructure. For example, you can ingest and index all kinds of data from your entire stack and use this data to detect anomalies, identify performance trends, or correlate events. Splunk is also a big data analytics platform and SIEM solution.
The most significant downsides to Splunk are its setup complexity, price tag, performance with large datasets, and outdated user interface, which make it an unsuitable solution for many businesses especially for small and mid-sized organizations. Several Splunk alternatives may prove a better fit for monitoring, observability, and log management. In this article, We'll discuss 10 of the best ones along with their pros and cons to help you make the best choice.
1. Better Stack
Better Stack is an observability platform that helps you collect insights across your stack, detect critical incidents, and escalate appropriately. It does this through its two main products: Logtail, which is focused on log management and Better Uptime for monitoring and incident management.
Logtail is a ClickHouse-powered log management and analysis tool that offers sophisticated data collection, processing and reporting features. It is an excellent Splunk alternative that provides tools for collecting data across your entire stack and centralizing them in one place.
It integrates seamlessly with a host of technologies like Kubernetes, Heroku, Logstash, Rails, Docker, AWS, etc, and you can ingest and ship your data using any log shipper of your choice. Thanks to custom-built technology and ClickHouse, you can search and filter your logs quickly and efficiently, and receive automated alerts when something goes wrong.
Tighter security is one of the main priorities in log monitoring, and Logtail itself is one of the most secure tools available. Using industry-standard best practices and cooperating only with data centers compliant with DIN ISO/IEC27001 certifications, your data is safe during both transit and storage.
With Better Uptime, you can also set up uptime monitoring for your applications, APIs, Cron jobs, and more, with on-call scheduling, so that the right person gets notified promptly if something happens. Several integrations are available and you can also create a branded status page to communicate incidents, planned maintenances and other developments with your users.
Both products provide a free plan with generous limits where you can get to experience them and evaluate if they meet your needs and the paid plans for each start at $24/month.
2. Elastic Stack (ELK Stack)
The Elastic Stack (formerly known as the ELK Stack) is an open-source log management solution that comprises four distinct tools:
- Elasticsearch: a distributed JSON-based search and analytics engine.
- Logstash: for log ingestion and pipeline processing.
- Kibana: data visualization for Elastic search.
- Beats: a set of lightweight single-purpose data shippers.
Since Elastic Stack's core components are open source, you can download and run it without cost. When you install the stack, you'll immediately get access to all the tools you need to collect data from multiple sources, process it, and store it in one centralized location that can scale as data grows. You'll also be able to view and analyze the data through a web-based user interface.
A crucial advantage of the Elastic Stack over Splunk (due to its open source nature) is access to a massive community of developers and library of plugins for extending the capabilities of the stack. On the other hand, the Elastic Stack can be quite complex to setup and configure before it can function as a production-grade log management tool, and your data needs to be well structured before you can get the most out of it, while Splunk is more usable with unstructured data.
3. New Relic
New Relic is another observability tool primarily used to monitor application and infrastructure performance. It started as an APM but has evolved into a full observability suite with tools for log management, network monitoring, Kubernetes monitoring, and many more for monitoring mobile, web, and cloud applications in real-time. These features overlap with Splunk's infrastructure monitoring solutions making New Relic a worthy alternative to consider if such monitoring feature in your primary observability needs.
Their standard offering provides the ability to ingest up to 100 GB of data for free with just one full platform user. Additional costs depend mostly on the amount of data ingested ($0.30/GB beyond the free limits) and how many full platform users are required. You can check out their pricing page for further details.
Dynatrace is a Splunk alternative that offers a plethora of observability products ranging from application and infrastructure monitoring to cloud automation, security, and log management. It uses its OneAgent technology to collect performance metrics for the various kinds of entities in your environment (servers, databases, containers, and more) and unifies them in one place. Once the data collection pipeline is setup, you'd be able to use the following proprietary technologies to gain insights into your infrastructure:
- Smartscape for detecting causing dependencies across your entire environment.
- PurePath for end-to-end application tracing.
- Davis AI for automated remediation of detected problems.
Note that Dynatrace can be deployed on-premise or adopted as a SaaS solution, whichever is more appropriate for your use case. Dynatrace also offers a quite unique pricing model based on the monitoring units that are utilized in your Dynatrace deployment. A free trial is also offered so that you can evaluate Dynatrace's products and services without cost.
Datadog is a platform of monitoring and application management tools that allow you to monitor application logs, performance, errors, and overall reliability. Thanks to over 600+ vendor-backed integrations, Datadog's offerings apply to a wide variety of technology stacks and environments. You can track your entire service's performance in one place thanks to auto-generated service views and a well-thought-out user interface.
Datadog's log management solution automatically parses structured logs in JSON format but it can also parse and enrich records in other formats. It's friendly UI also makes it easy to filter and analyze the ingested data without learning yet another complex query language. The Datadog platform also features infrastructure and database monitoring, cloud and application security management, user monitoring and session replay, and many more services to provide full observability.
Regarding pricing, Datadog offers different pricing plans depending on the specific products you opt for, but they all offer a free trial so you can try them out before committing.
Graylog offers a log management solution that is based on Elasticsearch and MongoDB. It allows you to collect and centralize logs from your infrastructure, explore them, trace errors, detect threats and analyze the data in an understandable way. The service operates under multiple models: you can choose from either Graylog Open (open-source, self-managed and free), Graylog Operations, and Graylog security. The latter two can either be self-managed or cloud-hosted depending on your needs, giving you more flexibility and control over how your data is handled.
A critical concept in Graylog is inputs which describe how to receive messages. It supports various log formats and can accept logs over UDP or TCP. These inputs are routed to streams (collections of records) which can be configured to accept only records that match a pattern. You also have extractors to extract or transform the information in a log record, or even remove sensitive data before it is stored.
Graylog also offers advanced anomaly detection features with pre-built security scenarios, risk models, and alerting and correlation engine. In addition, all the data can be visualized using Graylog’s Log View Widget, which helps you find patterns and track performance-related trends. It can also be configured to relay log messages that match a specific pattern to another instance.
Logz.io is an observability and security platform based on open-source tools such as the Elastic Stack, Prometheus, OpenTelemetry, Opensearch, and Jaeger. It is a SaaS platform that provides log management, cloud SIEM, infrastructure monitoring and distributed tracing features using the aforementioned open source technologies.
Essentially, it aims to provide end-to-end monitoring and observability by unifying logs, metrics, traces, and security events in one place. Furthermore, it abstracts away all the complex parts of using the Elastic Stack so you can use such tools without the complicated process of setting them up. They also provide log shipping options in the form of SDKs, daemons, and cloud integrations, making it easy to integrate it into your application.
Its crowdsourcing and machine-learning features can help you discover otherwise invisible events, and it also provides a live tail feature to observe data in real-time, providing you with an option to monitor and analyze data from multiple sources at once. Logz.io delivers a safe way to store your in-transit data with its support for SSL encryption and robust AES 256-bit encryption.
8.Mezmo (formerly LogDNA)
Mezmo is a scalable log management solution that is also built on Elsaticsearch. It supports logs from any source, including those directly from applications, hosts, cloud services, or containers. Its deployment models are also quite robust, with cloud-based, on-premise, private cloud, and hybrid solutions available to give maximum flexibility for various organizations.
Its fully-featured web application provides an interface for live tail, queries, visualization, or alerting. You can filter your data by fields or group them by source, and create custom views, graphs or dashboards. Regarding pricing, Mezmo offers three main tiers: Community (free), Professional and Enterprise with varying features and limits. It also follows a pricing model where you pay for only what you use.
Sematext is a monitoring and logging service. It allows for centralized logging, allowing you to aggregate and store logs from any data source in one location. You can collect data from servers, applications, databases, containers, systems, and more. In addition, Sematext allows you to view your logs in real-time as they arrive into the cloud from multiple data sources.
It uses Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana to collect and transform data, search, filter, and analyze, and finally, data management and visualization. You can troubleshoot faster with real-time alerting on both metrics and logs. Log analyzing and looking for anomalies are used to make the whole process quicker. You can integrate it with email, PagerDuty, Slack, HipChat, BigPanda, OpsGenie, VictorOps, WebHooks, Nagios, Zapier, and more.
Sematext runs on AWS, whose infrastructure follows strict IT security best practices. For example, your logs are encrypted via HTTPS and sent through TLS/SSL channels. On top of that, you can restrict specific permissions to some team members to increase your service's integrity and security.
SolarWinds is a unified monitoring, observability, and service management platform that provides various tools for collecting, visualizing, and analyzing security events and application log records to help you improve your security and compliance practices, and manage your log data in a centralized location.
The company offers solutions for performance monitoring, tracing, metrics, log management, network and database management, threat detection and response, and more. It can serve as an excellent Splunk alternative if you need to collect and centralize data generated from your entire network, and categorize/normalize them to facilitate problem detection.
For example, its Security Event Manager (SEM) offers real-time threat detection, monitoring, and alerting. It does this by collecting and organizing raw log data from your network stack so that anomalies can be automatically detected, and informed decisions can be made regarding the next steps. Most of their products offer a 30 day free trial, and the pricing varies significantly from product to product.
In this article, we've covered the best Splunk alternatives and discussed how they can replace Splunk in your observability infrastructure. The best solution for you will depend on your requirements and the specific problems you wish to solve. However, we believe Better Stack ticks most boxes with a user-friendly interface, a powerful range of features, and flexible pricing plans. You can try either Better Uptime or Logtail for free.
Thanks for reading!
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