Prometheus is a time series database, meaning it’s optimized to store and work with data organized in time order. It includes in it’s single binary:
- Database engine
- Simple web-based user interface
This allows you to collect and manage data with fewer tools and less complexity than other solutions.
End-points normally expose metrics to Prometheus by making a web page available that it can poll. This is done by including a instrumentation library (provided by Prometheus) or simply adding a listener on a high-level port that spits out some text when asked.
For systems that don’t support Prometheus natively, there are a few add-on services to translate. These are called ’exporters’ and translate things such as SNMP into a web format Prometheus can ingest.
You can also alert on the data collected. This is through the Alert Manager, a second package that works closely with Prometheus.
You still need a dashboard tool like Grafana to handle visualizations, but you can get started quite quickly with just Prometheus.
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