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Kibana vs Splunk

If you are in IT operations, you must have heard about Kibana and Splunk: two much-talked-about tools. But, do you know which one would be the right pick for you? This article takes you through a brief comparison between Kibana vs Splunk so you can make a better decision. Let’s have a read ahead.

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An open-source exploration and visualisation tool, Kibana is used for time-series analysis, log analysis and application monitoring. Along with this, it also offers inbuilt features, such as statistical graphs (in the form of line graphs, pie charts, histograms, and more. Kibana is a part of the ELK stack; thus, it even offers built-in integration with the Elasticsearch search engine. 

Talking about Splunk, on the other hand, it is a visualisation software that is used to evaluate machine-generated data and logs, web applications, security, and application monitoring. This tool represents data in the inbuilt dashboard with the help of graphs and more.

While both the tools have outstanding features, choosing one between the two would be a close call. So, in this post, you’ll find an in-depth comparison between Kibana vs Splunk that will help you make a better choice.

Kibana vs Splunk - Table Of Contents

What is Kibana?

Kibana is a data visualisation, source-available dashboard software that is offered by Elasticsearch. This tool offers visualisation capabilities along with content indexed on the Elasticsearch cluster. You can create maps, pie charts, scatter plots, line plots, and bars to represent large volumes of data.

Moreover, Kibana also offers a presentation tool, known as Canvas. With this tool, you can create slide decks that extract live data directly from Elasticsearch. Also, the combination of Kibana, Logstash, and Elasticsearch, known as the Elastic Stack, can be used as a service or product.

Enrol in our Kibana Training and Certification Course today and develop a strong foundation in Kibana.

What is Splunk?

Splunk is one of the famous American softwares that help with searching, monitoring as well as analysing machine-generated data. To accomplish this task, Splunk uses a web-style interface. With this software, you can easily capture, index, and correlate real-time data in a completely searchable repository.

From there, the software effortlessly generates visualisations, dashboards, alerts, reports, and graphs. Splunk makes use of machine data to identify data patterns, offer metrics, diagnose issues and provide intelligence for operations.

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Important Factors to Consider

When it comes to choosing the best tool between Kibana vs Splunk, here are some additional factors that should be considered:

Cost

The Splunk pricing is based on daily consumption of data that starts at a minimum of $5400/GB as a perpetual licence and $200/GB manually. 

On the other hand, Kibana is a free tool. However, if you want to use it as a hosted service, you will have to pay approximately $45 per month. 

Queries

In Kibana, a query is based on the “Lucene query syntax”. However, it is still being made available for customers under the query bar. Updates, such as simplified syntax and scripted field support were introduced in Kibana 7.0. Choosing this legacy query language, users do have the option to use JSON-based Elasticsearch query.

As far as executing a query in Splunk is concerned, the Snap Pack is used there. A Splunk query is generally used in Splunk software to run certain operations. To extract information from data and define log files through machines, this query language is used in Splunk.

Visualisation

In Kibana, visualisation is presented through the methods of tables and charts. In this tool, a query is automatically applied to the dashboard’s elements. User management offered in Kibana is distinct with the assistance of hosted ELK solutions. 

In Splunk, the user interface lets you edit or add new components to the dashboard. Several users can create a customised dashboard. In Splunk, the control for several users can be configured differently. 

Search Capability

In Kibana, if non-configured fields have to be searched, the properties for it will be pre-defined for aggregation over the properties of the log. 

In Splunk, if you have to search non-configured fields, it lets you do so by converting the format according to the same. 

Varieties

In Splunk, you will not find any varieties at present. 

In Kibana, as of now, there are three primary varieties that are linked with the tool, such as

  • AI-powered ELK on the enterprise-grade platform that is maintained by Logz.io
  • Hosted Elasticsearch that is maintained by Amazon Web Service

The open-source ELK stack platform that is maintained by Elastic.

Check Out Kibana Interview Questions

Comparison Between Kibana and Splunk

To understand the difference between Kibana and Splunk in a better way, here is the table you can refer to

Kibana Splunk
It is a part of the ELK stack. It is a proprietary standalone service/software.
It uses Apache Lucene’s syntax for queries. It uses a custom-written Search Processing Language (SPL).
There are a lot of things that require improvement to offer more efficiency. It is powerful as far as data analysation and processing are concerned.
It comes with a variety of detailed documentation and has several open-source platforms for discussion and sharing information.  It has huge documentation and customer support to resolve issues.
It is completely open-source and free. The setup is easy and there are several tutorials available.  It is licensed and charged. The software could be quite expensive for some people. 
It majorly concentrates on monitoring tools. It majorly concentrates on log analysis.
It is quite new and growing quickly. The tool is relevant to the needs of the present era and provides several advanced features.  It is an old product and has an established community.
Kibana is interactive and its UI is user-friendly. Splunk offers a dashboard for the purpose of analysis visualisation but it is not much interactive in comparison to Kibana.
Kibana does not support debugging.  Splunk offers to debug and troubleshooting support. 
Kibana does not support every type of data format but it allows third-party integration to send data in the preferable format.  Splunk supports every data format, such as JSON, log files, .csv, etc. Also, it is flexible with third-party integrations as well. 
StackOverflow, Netflix, and LinkedIn are some organisations using Kibana.  Adobe, Cisco, and Bosch are some organisations using Splunk. 

Things To Keep in Mind About Kibana vs Splunk

To understand the key difference between Kibana and Splunk, here are some points:

  • Splunk was one of the first softwares developed for data visualisations. It is established and maintained quite well. On the contrary, Kibana is one forthcoming tool that is comparatively new to the market. While Splunk has established customer support, Kibana needs to work more on the proficiency of its assistance. 
  • Kibana provides a flexible and seamless platform for visualisation. It comes with an interactive dashboard that is specifically designed to make the experience simpler. Moreover, it even offers real-time summaries and updates of the operating data. Talking about Splunk, it provides a SaaS interface that analyses machine data efficiently. 
  • Splunk comes under the category of log management and analysis while Kibana is known as the monitoring tool.
  • Setting up Kibana is quite easy as it is flexible and comes with easy-to-use interfaces. Splunk has a complex setup process but it offers powerful features with off-premise and on-premise integration.
  • While Splunk is licensed software and charges a fee, Kibana is completely open-source and is available for free. 
  • Splunk is agile and lets you develop PoC and convert the same into a product easily, thanks to its instant conversion support. Kibana comes coupled with the ELK stack. Thus, visualisation and analysis can be done after completing the ELK stack setup. 
  • Splunk lets you create central repositories across the Splunk cloud. You can retrieve the stored data from a variety of sources. 
  • Also, while Splunk offers Solaris portability, Kibana doesn’t offer it.
  • Splunk is developed in C++ and is standalone. Kibana is developed in Java and through Apache Lucene.
  • Splunk provides extra security to the centralised hosted data of users as it is licensed and proprietary. Kibana doesn’t offer any such security.

Conclusion

At a glance, you will find out that both Kibana and Splunk come with their own pros and cons. Choosing a tool is absolutely based on the system and the requirements. If you want a tool for applications that need consistent backend support and robust, fast analysis, you can go with Splunk. However, if you think you will not be able to afford Splunk but still require real-time monitoring, you can go with Kibana.

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Last updated: 27 November 2022
About Author
SaiKumar Kalla

Kalla Saikumar is a technology expert and is currently working as a content associate at MindMajix. Write articles on multiple platforms such as ServiceNow, Business Analysis, Performance Testing, Mulesoft, Oracle Exadata, Azure, and other courses. And you can join him on LinkedIn.

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