How do Prometheus and Grafana differ from native AWS observability solutions?

Blog By Sep 10, 2023 No Comments

Differences Between Prometheus/Grafana and AWS Observability Tools

Prometheus and Grafana are open-source observability tools for collecting and visualizing metrics. They differ from AWS observability tools in several key ways:

Metrics vs Traces

Prometheus collects metrics, while AWS X-Ray collects traces. Traces provide more detailed information about requests flowing through distributed systems, while metrics provide high-level performance data.


Prometheus and Grafana are highly customizable and configurable. You can define your own metrics, dashboards, and alerting rules. AWS tools like CloudWatch offer less customization and are more opinionated.


Prometheus and Grafana integrate with a wide variety of data sources. AWS observability tools tightly integrate with AWS services and resources.


Prometheus can struggle to scale to very large environments. AWS tools are designed to scale with AWS’ infrastructure.


Grafana provides more customizable dashboards and visualization options compared to AWS dashboards.


Prometheus offers basic alerting capabilities, while AWS tools offer more robust alerting with notifications to various channels.

Open source vs proprietary

Prometheus and Grafana are open source, while AWS observability tools are proprietary.

In summary, Prometheus/Grafana and AWS observability tools have different strengths:

  • Prometheus/Grafana: High customizability, integration, visualization
  • AWS Tools: Purpose-built for AWS, scale well, robust alerting

Using both together can provide a more complete view of your AWS environment. Prometheus/Grafana can monitor individual services and resources, while AWS tools provide a higher-level view of your entire AWS infrastructure.



I'm Abhay Singh, an Architect with 9 Years of It experience. AWS Certified Solutions Architect.

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