Loki is derived from Cortex — a CNCF incubator project that Grafana Labs helps drive. Cortex is a scale-out, multi-tenant implementation of Prometheus (another project we help drive) that powers our Grafana Cloud offering. Loki is a new standalone project, but depends on a bunch of Cortex code. It’s a long, but distinguished lineage.
Can I use Loki outside of Kubernetes?
Yes, but our initial use case is very much optimized for Kubernetes. With promtail, all your Kubernetes labels for your logs are automatically set up the same way as in Prometheus. It is possible to manually label log streams, and we will be exploring integrations to make Loki play well with the wider ecosystem.
Loki doesn’t parse my log data. Doesn’t that make this a lot less powerful?
Sort of. Logging has become so expensive to scale that developers are being told to “log less”: something we consider to be an anti-pattern. Loki makes different tradeoffs, allowing it to be orders of magnitude more efficient (and thus cheaper to operate) than other solutions. We think this is the right tradeoff, especially when you pair Loki with an existing metrics backend such as Prometheus.
What about Elasticsearch or Splunk in Grafana?
Grafana is still about bringing your data together, wherever it lives. Loki is meant to be complementary to existing solutions like Elasticsearch and Splunk that do full text indexing. Part of the advantage of Loki is that it allows for seamless switching between logs and metrics, based on your existing labels. This opens up myriad UX benefits of using Loki with Grafana and Prometheus.
Alpha software? Demo Cloud? Why are you announcing Loki now?
Yes, this is all early alpha software. You shouldn’t depend on it for production use. We chose to open source Loki early, and make it available as a demo on Grafana Cloud, because we want to get valuable feedback from the wider community and ecosystem as early as possible. We believe this will help us deliver a higher quality and more on-point production release next year.
Is Loki easy to set up and scale?
We are optimizing for a smooth experience — whether you want to try out Loki on your laptop, on your own clusters, or as a free demo on Grafana Cloud.
What is Grafana Labs monetization strategy with Loki?
An overarching strategy of Grafana Labs is to provide and support a composable stack of independent and cutting edge open source projects, each of which play well in the wider ecosystem. We hope Loki will evolve to be one of those projects, and a key piece of our Cloud and Enterprise offerings.