As data volume grows, managing your ELK stack can become resource-intensive. Organizations outgrowing ELK are often using multiple different tools, experiencing performance issues, paying too much in log storage, and spending significant time troubleshooting.

But while the pain is real, many are hesitant to make a change. The thought of migration yields fears of lost productivity, performance and financial risks, and disappointment in losing some things you love that you worked hard to create. The discomfort and fears of change are sometimes enough to continue struggling with the status quo.

At Circonus, we considered these realities as we enhanced our platform and as a result, have made it easier and safer for organizations to migrate from open source self-managed clusters like ELK . Organizations can keep what they love and work with the tools they’re familiar with while gaining the benefits of a fully managed, unified observability platform.

So how do we make migration easier? And why is the switch to Circonus worth it? This post will answer both of these questions.

Removing Migration Risks

No re-learning

Work with what you’re used to and get even more. Circonus dashboards are an extension of the OpenSearch dashboard, and visualizations exist as they do in Kibana — in some cases with extended capabilities, like the ability to show alerts through like a dedicated alert widget in a dashboard, or the ability to create time series visualizations both off of your log data and data that’s stored in Circonus’ TSDB. No re-learning is necessary. The ingestion pipeline, query language, and search are all the same.

Keep what you like

Circonus has the ability to do dashboard and widget exports — what we call “saved objects.” Simply do a saved object export and import your import dashboards, data stores , indexes, queries, alerts, and widgets from Elasticsearch directly into Circonus.

And all those tools and integrations you love? Yes, they can come over too.

Circonus is fully compatible with ElasticSearch and any solution it is compatible with. Circonus’ comprehensive OpenSearch and Elasticsearch API ensures that all your tools and integrations continue working with our platform — with no need for a proprietary agent.

For example, if you’re running a script to generate a report from underlying log data and have a custom alerting tool, you can migrate those alerts into our alert offering. But you don’t have to migrate right away — this can be an incremental process and in the meantime, the third party tool will work with Circonus. You don’t need to get rid of your favorite open source tool for alerting or your integration with Slack or whatever you’ve built on top of Elasticsearch. Everything continues to work as is.

Other commercial vendors cannot make the same claim. Their UIs are not extensions of Kibana/OpenSearch dashboards. So regardless of their underlying technologies, they do not allow for a migration of the dashboards that have already been created. And even if they support the APIs necessary to be compatible for sending data from plugins that support ElasticSearch, they cannot support all of your ancillary tooling and integrations without a comprehensive ElasticSearch API like Circonus’.

Why Switch: ELK Challenges that Circonus Addresses

Tool Sprawl

ELK users often are using multiple tools. A common stack includes Elasticsearch for logging, Kibana for log dashboards, and Grafana and Prometheus for time series data. Multiple tools for managing logging, dashboards, and time series data are time intensive and result in data silos and manual correlation.

Circonus can consolidate your monitoring by replacing various tools. Our platform ingests logs, traces, and metrics from your entire environment, and our unified dashboards provides all of this data within a single pane of glass. No more console switching while hopping between different tools. In one platform, one view, you can immediately gain context around problems by correlating metrics and traces with the relevant logs, so you can quickly identify root cause and resolve issues before users notice them.

Performance Issues

Because Elasticsearch was not built for large volumes of time series data, users begin experiencing performance issues as they scale. One example is query performance. ELK alerting is done through polling, so queries slow down significantly as alert volumes grow.

With Circonus’ real-time streaming aleting, there is no latency due to polling, so alerts are triggered within seconds and query performance is not impacted.

Another area where ELK performance suffers with scale is the ingestion pipeline. Logs are much more bursty than metrics. When things break, applications get chatty, and they start throwing stack traces and logging an error every second when in normal operating conditions, they may not log at all. A sudden surge in logs and traces puts significant resource strain on managing an ELK user’s ingestion pipeline and puts it at risk of failing when it’s needed most.

Circonus ensures you have the capacity to handle log bursts and application chatter and manages your ingestion pipeline for you. Our platform can ingest, analyze, and store metrics, logs, and traces from any stack with unlimited scale, allowing it to easily handle your organization’s data growth without impacting performance.

Storage Costs and Historical Analysis

Storing logs gets very expensive, very fast — which means many ELK users throw out data sooner, even after 24 hours in some cases — when you would have preferred to hold onto that longer.

Circonus converts most of your logs to metrics and provides infinite data retention at low cost, giving you an opportunity to analyze historical data and as a result, gain deeper insights for proactive performance monitoring and capacity planning.

Embrace an Upgrade

ELK has been a highly effective stack for thousands of organizations and millions of engineers — and continues to be for organizations with smaller data needs. But for those whose data is scaling – especially as they adopt more complex, hybrid architectures and technologies like Kubernetes — ELK can no longer efficiently meet their needs. Circonus removes the risks and fears associated with migration by enabling engineers to use the tools they’re familiar with while gaining the observability capabilities modern IT environments require. Embrace an (easy) change and enjoy a fully-managed, unified monitoring platform that lets you quickly visualize, analyze, and correlate your metrics, traces, and logs at any scale.

Read 5 Key Requirements of Modern Observability Platforms

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