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How We Differentiate Grafana Enterprise from Open Source Grafana

September 4, 2019 4 min

We are building Grafana Labs to be a sustainable open source company. In order to support both the open source project and vibrancy of the Grafana community, we offer a suite of paid products and services. Grafana Enterprise was introduced over a year ago and adds critical features that extend Grafana’s functionality for mature or maturing organizations with enterprise requirements.

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

Grafana Enterprise Differences

Premium Plugins: A key component of Grafana Enterprise is a set of integrations with other commercial monitoring tools including Datadog, Splunk, New Relic, AppDynamics, Oracle and Dynatrace created, maintained, and supported by the Grafana Labs team. We are constantly adding new data sources.

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.

Because we’ve found so many of our customers leverage several of these tools, you get access to all of them with a Grafana Enterprise subscription. That way, teams across the business can derive value from Grafana, and up and down the business you can get closer to centralized observability with Grafana providing a single pane of glass.

Authentication & Security: For Enterprises, one of the biggest challenges in adopting a tool across the business is managing access control for existing users and reducing the friction of managing new and previous users. To help overcome these obstacles, Grafana Enterprise includes background synchronization for LDAP, datasource permissions, and team sync features.

By taking advantage of these components collectively, Grafana Enterprise admins can quickly expand access to all relevant stakeholders, lock down sensitive data sources and dashboards, all without having to completely separate the Grafana instances. As of v6.4, we have also released SAML integration to help meet our customers where they are.

Enterprise Support: While we believe it’s important to have our engineers sharing their expertise on the open source project via GitHub Issues and our community site, Enterprise users demand more. That’s why, included within Grafana Enterprise, we provide 24x7x365 follow-the-sun support with more aggressive escalation, a response SLA, and a dedicated account management team.

Because we want all of our customers and projects to succeed in production, we can even extend that support to our on-premises customers using Prometheus, Loki, and Cortex.

You can read more about these and other 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 extreme internal deliberation; we target capabilities that are uniquely valuable to enterprise requirements and are especially important when used in production and at scale.

A good example of our thought process behind an Enterprise-only feature is our recent work on LDAP support, which makes it possible to manage users and permissions outside of Grafana.

While a version of LDAP support exists in the open source Grafana, 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. Because of the number of users in a typical enterprise, and the need for ongoing user management, we wanted to ensure tighter control than was feasible with open source. For example, users (like a departing colleague) who are removed from LDAP will be logged out automatically upon synchronization.

At the same time, in Grafana v6.4, we made efforts to improve LDAP for everyone, 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. Although many other vendors would have immediately segmented this as Enterprise-only, we decided to move it to open source since it will clearly make a positive impact for anyone using Grafana with LDAP.

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