Choosing the right database is a critical choice when building any software application. All databases have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to performance, so deciding which database has the most benefits and the most minor downsides for your specific use case and data model is an important decision. Below you will find an overview of the key concepts, architecture, features, use cases, and pricing models of Prometheus and VictoriaMetrics so you can quickly see how they compare against each other.
The primary purpose of this article is to compare how Prometheus and VictoriaMetrics perform for workloads involving time series data, not for all possible use cases. Time series data typically presents a unique challenge in terms of database performance. This is due to the high volume of data being written and the query patterns to access that data. This article doesn’t intend to make the case for which database is better; it simply provides an overview of each database so you can make an informed decision.
Prometheus vs VictoriaMetrics Breakdown
Time series database
Time series database
Prometheus uses a pull-based model where it scrapes metrics from configured targets at given intervals. It stores time series data in a custom, efficient, local storage format, and supports multi-dimensional data collection, querying, and alerting. It can be deployed as a single binary on a server or on a container platform like Kubernetes.
VictoriaMetrics can be deployed as a single-node instance for small-scale applications or as a clustered setup for large-scale applications, offering horizontal scalability and replication.
Monitoring, alerting, observability, system metrics, application metrics
Monitoring, observability, IoT, real-time analytics, DevOps, application performance monitoring
Prometheus is designed for reliability and can scale vertically (single node with increased resources) or through federation (hierarchical setup where Prometheus servers scrape metrics from other Prometheus servers)
Horizontally scalable, supports clustering and replication for high availability and performance
Prometheus is an open-source monitoring and alerting toolkit initially developed at SoundCloud in 2012. It has since become a widely adopted monitoring solution and a part of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) project. Prometheus focuses on providing real-time insights and alerts for containerized and microservices-based environments. Its primary use case is monitoring infrastructure and applications, with an emphasis on reliability and scalability.
VictoriaMetrics is an open source time series database developed by the company VictoriaMetrics. The database aims to assist individuals and organizations in addressing their big data challenges by providing state-of-the-art monitoring and observability solutions. VictoriaMetrics is designed to be a fast, cost-effective, and scalable monitoring solution and time series database.
Prometheus for Time Series Data
Prometheus is specifically designed for time series data, as its primary focus is on monitoring and alerting based on the state of infrastructure and applications. It uses a pull-based model, where the Prometheus server scrapes metrics from the target systems at regular intervals. This model is suitable for monitoring dynamic environments, as it allows for automatic discovery and monitoring of new instances. However, Prometheus is not intended as a general-purpose time series database and might not be the best choice for high cardinality or long-term data storage.
VictoriaMetrics for Time Series Data
VictoriaMetrics is designed for time series data, making it a solid choice for applications that involve the storage and analysis of time-stamped data. It provides high-performance storage and retrieval capabilities, enabling efficient handling of large volumes of time series data.
Prometheus Key Concepts
- Metric: A numeric representation of a particular aspect of a system, such as CPU usage or memory consumption.
- Time Series: A collection of data points for a metric, indexed by timestamp.
- Label: A key-value pair that provides metadata and context for a metric, enabling more granular querying and aggregation.
- PromQL: Prometheus uses its own query language called PromQL (Prometheus Query Language) for querying time series data and generating alerts.
VictoriaMetrics Key Concepts
- Time Series: VictoriaMetrics stores data in the form of time series, which are sequences of data points indexed by time.
- Metric: A metric represents a specific measurement or observation that is tracked over time.
- Tag: Tags are key-value pairs associated with a time series and are used for filtering and grouping data.
- Field: Fields contain the actual data values associated with a time series.
- Query Language: VictoriaMetrics supports its own query language, which allows users to retrieve and analyze time series data based on specific criteria.
Prometheus is a single-server, standalone monitoring system that uses a pull-based approach to collect metrics from target systems. It stores time series data in a custom, highly compressed, on-disk format, optimized for fast querying and low resource usage. The architecture of Prometheus is modular and extensible, with components like exporters, service discovery mechanisms, and integrations with other monitoring systems. As a non-distributed system, it lacks built-in clustering or horizontal scalability, but it supports federation, allowing multiple Prometheus servers to share and aggregate data.
VictoriaMetrics is available in two forms: Single-server-VictoriaMetrics and VictoriaMetrics Cluster. The Single-server-VictoriaMetrics is an all-in-one binary that is easy to use and maintain. It vertically scales well and can handle millions of metrics per second. On the other hand, VictoriaMetrics Cluster consists of components that allow for building horizontally scalable clusters, enabling high availability and scalability in demanding environments. The architecture of VictoriaMetrics enables users to choose the deployment option that best suits their needs and scale their database infrastructure as required.
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Prometheus collects metrics by actively scraping targets, enabling automatic discovery and monitoring of dynamic environments.
The powerful Prometheus Query Language allows for expressive and flexible querying of time series data.
Prometheus supports alerting based on user-defined rules and integrates with various alert management and notification systems.
VictoriaMetrics is optimized for high-performance storage and retrieval of time series data. It can efficiently handle millions of metrics per second and offers fast query execution for real-time analysis.
The architecture of VictoriaMetrics allows for both vertical and horizontal scalability, enabling users to scale their monitoring and time series database infrastructure as their data volume and demand grow.
VictoriaMetrics provides a cost-effective solution for managing time series data. Its efficient storage and query capabilities contribute to minimizing operational costs while maintaining high performance.
Prometheus Use Cases
Prometheus is widely used for monitoring the health and performance of containerized and microservices-based infrastructure, including Kubernetes and Docker environments.
Application Performance Monitoring (APM)
Prometheus can collect custom application metrics using client libraries and monitor application performance in real-time.
Alerting and Anomaly Detection
Prometheus enables organizations to set up alerts based on specific thresholds or conditions, helping them identify and respond to potential issues or anomalies quickly.
VictoriaMetrics Use Cases
Monitoring and Observability
VictoriaMetrics is widely used for monitoring and observability purposes, allowing organizations to collect, store, and analyze metrics and performance data from various systems and applications. It provides the necessary tools and capabilities to track and visualize key performance indicators, troubleshoot issues, and gain insights into system behavior.
IoT Data Management
VictoriaMetrics is suitable for handling large volumes of time series data generated by IoT devices. It can efficiently store and process sensor data, enabling real-time monitoring and analysis of IoT ecosystems. VictoriaMetrics allows for tracking and analyzing data from factories, manufacturing plants, satellites, and other IoT devices.
VictoriaMetrics enables retrospective analysis and forecasting of metrics for capacity planning purposes. It allows organizations to analyze historical data, identify patterns and trends, and make informed decisions about resource allocation and future capacity requirements.
Prometheus Pricing Model
Prometheus is an open-source project, and there are no licensing fees associated with its use. However, costs can arise from hardware, hosting, and operational expenses when deploying a self-managed Prometheus server. Additionally, several cloud-based managed Prometheus services, such as Grafana Cloud and Weave Cloud, offer different pricing models based on factors like data retention, query rate, and support.
VictoriaMetrics Pricing Model
VictoriaMetrics is an open source project, which means it is available for free usage and doesn’t require any licensing fees. Users can download the binary releases, Docker images, or source code to set up and deploy VictoriaMetrics without incurring any direct costs. VictoriaMetrics also has paid offerings for on-prem Enterprise products and managed VictoriaMetrics instances.
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