How We Differentiate Grafana Enterprise from Open Source Grafana

Published: 4 Sep 2019 by Leonard Gram RSS

We are building Grafana Labs to be a sustainable open source company. In addition to maintaining the open source project and community around Grafana, we offer paid products that help make that possible. Grafana Enterprise was introduced over a year ago and adds features needed by enterprise-level organizations.

In this blog post we’ll discuss some of those features and how we decide what goes into Grafana Enterprise.

Grafana Enterprise Differences

Premium Datasources: The most noteworthy Enterprise-only feature is a set of integrations with other commercial monitoring vendors such as Datadog, Splunk, New Relic, App Dynamics, and Dynatrace. We also have a premium datasource for Oracle. We figure if you are a paying customer of any of these companies, and derive value from having that data available in Grafana, then you can also be a paying customer of Grafana Labs.

We find many customers of ours are also customers of several of these vendors, so we have decided not to offer individual plugins: You get access to all of them with a Grafana Enterprise subscription.

Authentication & Security: For our Enterprise customers, sometimes the biggest challenges exist around access control and reducing the friction to get other people in the company to adopt Grafana. To help them get over these obstacles, Grafana Enterprise includes background synchronization for LDAP, datasource permissions, and team sync features.

Enterprise Support: We have an internal rotation of engineers dedicated to providing support to users of our open source project via GitHub Issues and our community site. Enterprise users demand more, and for them we have a 24x7 follow-the-sun support team, with more aggressive escalation, a response SLA, and a dedicated account manager.

You can read more about Grafana Enterprise features in the docs. In the next post I will talk about them in more detail.

How Do We Decide Which Features Go into Enterprise?

Our goal is to create a great Enterprise product without ever undermining open source Grafana. The features we’re choosing to develop for Grafana Enterprise undergo much internal deliberation; we target capabilities that are unique to enterprise environments and are not necessarily relevant for open source users.

A good example of our thought process when we decide which features become open source and which become Enterprise-only is our recent work on LDAP support, which makes it possible to manage users and permissions outside of Grafana.

While LDAP support exists in Grafana already, the Enterprise version has been extended to synchronize continuously. This provides faster feedback loops and gives users access (or removes it) as changes are made in LDAP. The open source LDAP support does the heavy lifting, but in an Enterprise environment, you get tighter control. For example, users who are removed from LDAP will be logged out automatically as the synchronization happens.

At the same time, in Grafana v6.4, we improved LDAP, adding ways to test what the synchronization from LDAP to Grafana will look like. This makes setting up and making changes to the LDAP config a whole lot easier. We were initially planning to add this feature to Enterprise, but since it’s something that will clearly make a positive impact for anyone using Grafana with LDAP, we decided to move it to open source.

We are dedicated to that kind of decision-making process as we continue to grow both the open source project and our paid products.