The sales leaders at Grafana Labs frequently check in with our customers from a variety of industries. We enjoy hearing – and sharing – why different companies roll out Grafana, so I recently asked team members Graham Moreno and Mitch Quinby to send in some of their customers’ stories. Here are four vignettes for your reading pleasure.
Customer No. 1: Using Grafana to reduce developer time
We asked a long-time customer who is a CIO at a large bank in New York, “What is the core value you get from Grafana?”
His reply: “We have Dynatrace here, which is great. We also have Splunk, which people love. And we have Appdynamics. Each of those platforms have a following inside of our firm and provide a unique value proposition. What Grafana provides us is a way to ‘liberate the data’ and connect natively to each of the various data sources that we have.
“The reason that’s useful is because we have 55,000 developers. Without a way to easily collect the data, view it, and then overlay it onto a single page, our developers would have to go out and seek access, request permission, or potentially build their own view of the data on their own personalized dashboard. Because we are so distributed, this effort is only complicated by time zones and our own segmentation of teams and divisions.
“With Grafana, dashboards are immediately available to a user based on his/her role. The system automatically ensures that the right person gets the right level of access (by checking the employee role against LDAP). Now, that might not seem like a big deal, but if I can save 55,000 developers one minute each, that buys me back a solid month of coding time. That’s a huge value at scale.”
Customer No. 2: Adopting Grafana to speed mean time to innocence
We posed the question above to another executive at a different company. She told us about a new acronym they are using called Mean Time to Innocence (MTTI).
MTTI is the amount of time it takes them to absolve a team of blame during a slowdown or outage, so the fundamental issue can be triaged and resolved. The way that they do that is by putting Grafana on top of both their logging and APM datasources. Because Grafana is agentless and connects natively to the existing applications, it allows the data to be visualized in real time.
Initially, they’d thought about trying to converge all their data into their existing logging system. The risk with doing that? Exporting data from their APM tool into their logging tool takes time. The beauty of an APM solution is that you can see the data as it happens.
On top of that, forklifting all of their APM real-time data into their logging platform would have caused all the critical real-time APM data to become dated and stale. This would have delayed MTTI. It also would have caused the logging system to ingest more data, thereby also creating more expense.
Grafana allowed them to keep the data where it already lived and simply display it together beautifully – no forklift needed. They now view logs right next to their performance metrics and see the data unfold in real time.
Customer No. 3: Relying on Grafana for better and faster understanding of more data – with reduced cost
Our customer in this example is a large gaming company that was heavily invested in a number of closed source enterprise vendors for things like APM, logging, and metrics. They had large estates in both the public cloud and in their own on-prem environments.
As the company’s games grew, so too did their requirement for real-time understanding of their infrastructure performance. And as their systems scaled, so did their costs – to the point that they stopped collecting metrics and logs in order to save money. That was a hard choice, and it opened them up to a huge revenue impact when there was downtime, given that more than 30 percent of their revenue came from live gaming. Ultimately, they chose to have gaps rather than pay for the total visibility that they wanted.
They made the decision to move towards Kubernetes and Prometheus. That was done partially as a bid to reduce costs, but also in an attempt to modernize their infrastructure and enable their development teams to increase output while reducing time spent on maintenance.
By working with Grafana Labs on both Grafana Enterprise and Grafana Cloud, they were able to not only create a single pane of glass incorporating data from Splunk, New Relic, Prometheus, Graphite, and others, but they were also able to fully host their Prometheus metrics. As a result, they had long-term retention, better query performance than when they were doing it themselves, and got 2 FTEs worth of productivity back in their sprints, which further enabled their push to increase developer output.
Customer No. 4: Using Grafana Cloud Hosted Prometheus/Cortex to shine a light into the darkness
A Big Four firm that specializes in consulting had issues identifying MTTR, MTTI, and even simply identifying when they had any issue at all. Across thousands of apps and with an even larger number of developers and DevOps, they had little-to-no ability to identify what was happening in their cloud infrastructure.
Needless to say, they developed a lack of trust in how they operationalized Kubernetes in the Azure Cloud. It became clear they needed a better way to monitor, beyond the out-of-the-box tool sets that Azure could provide.
Because the company didn’t want to have to use up valuable developer hours to build, test, and maintain the technology to fix their issue, they trusted Grafana Labs to deliver it for them. They opted for our hosted Prometheus/Cortex offering. The combination was able to run at scale (thanks to Cortex) and allowed them to get the insight they were missing so they could make critical decisions and respond to issues drastically quicker.
The result has been an eye-opening experience for the teams involved, and a majority of the remaining teams at the customer’s company have also started to adopt Prometheus and Cortex.
We talk to companies everyday about their challenges and goals. If you have questions about how Grafana Labs can help your business, please drop me an email at email@example.com – I promise, I won’t bite (it’s sort of hard to get close enough these days anyway).