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ELK vs. Splunk vs. Sumo Logic – Demystifying the Data Management Tools

A variety of tools are available in the market for data processing and the data storage. So, at any time, you may not be able to select the right tool for data processing, like it might be difficult to choose anyone tool among Splunk, Sumo Logic and ELK.

Today, we have brought this blog to provide you with a comparative study of these tools so that you can choose the best one as per your requirements. There are a few differences between these tools. So, by reading this blog post, you will become able to choose anyone as per your choice. So, here we will discuss the difference between these tools and the way by which you can select the best as per your needs.

Splunk, ELK, and Sumo Logic are mostly used in the market and they provide representable and different types of tools in comparison to other available tools like Graylog, PaperTrails, and Loggly.

ELK vs. Splunk vs. Sumo Logic: Features

Splunk vs. ELK vs. Sumo Logic We will discuss the features of all three tools in detail later and which one suits the best as per your Company needs and requirement.

ELK vs. Splunk vs. Sumo Logic: Understanding Data Management Tools     

If you are trying to find the best platform for log analysis and security information along with event management, then the three commonly used tools are Splunk, ELK, and the Sumo Logic comes into mind. So, here we are going to introduce these platforms one by one:


Splunk tool is used to analyze and aggregate data. With Splunk, the data collection can be automated, indexed, alerted, or monitored. Even real-time dashboards and visualization can be created through scheduled searches, moreover scheduled reports can be run and enabled at various intervals. The platforms can be used by technical and non-technical persons and even unlimited amount of data can be scaled per day, it also has built-in disaster recovery and failover capabilities. The major highlights of the tool are mentioned below - Splunk vs. ELK vs. Sumo Logic Splunk enterprise starts at $173 per ingestion GB and billing is done on annual basis.

Sumo Logic

It is a cloud-based machine data analytics service for time series metrics and log management. Many cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and other hybrid applications can be run, maintained and build through this. Unlike Splunk, Sumo Logic is totally cloud-based, so integrations for various platforms are easier and there is no need for constant updates here for the Sumo Logic tool. The major highlights of the tool are shown below - Splunk vs. ELK vs. Sumo Logic Sumo Logic is a SaaS-based solution and scalability, quick run, and other operations can be easily performed here. Some people like the UI of Sumo as well, while other prefer others. But Sumo lacks some of the Splunk’s functionalities. Moreover, it searches old data slowly and does not has community support as well. The price of Sumo Logic is $150 per GB per month and annual payment may be required.


Splunk vs. ELK vs. Sumo Logic  

Read: What Is Hadoop 3? What's New Features in Hadoop 3.0

This is one of the most popular data management platforms and the stack is made up of three different solutions. The Elasticsearch tool is an engine based and provides a multitenant-capable, full-text and distributed search engines with schema-free JSON documents and HTTP web interface. Logstash component is used to collect, parse and store logs. Whether Kibana is a data visualization tool and is a part of the stack and light-weight component that is used by the developers.

With the help of ELK, data can be sourced from anywhere and in any format, moreover, it can be searched and analyzed at any time. As ELK is an open source tool so it can be difficult to set up by users if they are going to do it by themselves.

Moreover, open source tools have more functionality and supporting add-ons and so as ELK. It has a number of add-on tools. The ELK community has a number of experienced and professional users that can help the users when they stuck anywhere. 

Feature-Based Comparison of Splunk, Sumo, and ELK

We can compare these tools on the basis of features that are provided for these tools. Here we are going to discuss the same based on their properties:

1). Open-Source/Proprietary

Among all three tools, Splunk is a proprietary tool that provides a cloud-based and on-premise setup that is known as Splunk Light and Splunk Enterprise. Those who choose a cloud setup of Splunk can opt Splunk cloud that is also a SaaS-based version of Splunk Enterprise. As it is a cloud-based setup, so all data is stored in the cloud. Being a proprietary tool, Splunk uses the cloud setup to store the data.

ELK, on the other hand, is a combination of three tools and all three of them are open-source tools that are Elastic-Logstash-Kibana. Just like Splunk, ELK can also be installed and set-up in cloud and on-premise. The cloud platform is also known as the Elastic Cloud. AWS users can also use AWS Elastic Search. AWS has also released the hosted solution for ELK.

Sumo Logic is like Splunk and is a proprietary tool or software. But Sumo Logic only offers cloud setup. It means that in this tool all data is only stored in the cloud.

Which work best for you?

Read: What Is Apache Oozie? Oozie Configure & Install Tutorial Guide for Beginners

As Sumo Logic and Splunk, both are proprietary tools so the user will have to pay a large amount to use their all functionalities. While ELK is an open-source tool, so with little investment you can buy and use the tool. In other words, we can say that small or medium enterprises can use ELK with all features, while Splunk may cost them higher.

2). Searching, Analysis, and Visualization

With Sumo Logic and Splunk, you have a variety of features and tools to manage data and packages at your disposal. With these tools, if you will store the data or import the data, then you can search and investigate it. Insights can be taken from data and as per them business strategies can also be formed. Through visualized dashboards, these strategies can be visually represented.

As it has been mentioned that ELK is the combination of three tools so searching, analysis and visualization will only be possible when ELK will be set up. Among three tools of data analytics, data storage is being done by Elastic Search that also works as an analytics engine, while Logstash tool is used for data collection and as a transferring agent and Kibana are used to visualize data. All these three tools together are known as ELK.

Which to Choose?

Visualization, searching, and analysis all three operations can be performed with all three tools, but are done in different ways by each tool. So, depending on your requirement you can choose the one which suits your need.

3). Data Type

Data Type is one of the most important aspects for any tool and while comparing the way of handling data by these tools, it can be observed that Splunk and Sumo Logic handle data in a similar manner and can process any type of data including .csv, ‘.json’ and another log format. Sumo Logic claims that it can collect logs from anywhere and nearly from any system at any place and of any format.

In ELK toolset, Logstash is responsible for handling data and does not support all data types. The main difficulty in Logstash is the longtime requirement for startup and difficulty in debugging errors as non-standard configuration languages are being used in this tool.

Which to Choose?

Read: Harnessing the Power of Data Analytics: Exploring Hadoop Analytics Tools for Big Data

All of these tools parse data in a different manner as well. Like in case of Splunk, when data arrives in the system then its configuration and identification are being done, whether in case of ELK and Sumo Logic firstly the data fields are identified and then are configured before shipment takes place. So, as per your requirement and choice, you can go with any of these tools.

4). Plugins and Integration

It is worth to mention that Splunk can be integrated in a great way rather than other tools. Splunk has around 600 plugins. ELK also has a number of plugins but cannot support much integration like Splunk. In ELK Logstash there are only 160 plugins and for more plugins, the research is still going on and may be done soon.

5). Customer Support and Documentation

A big customer base is there in Splunk, so a strong community exists in that tool. Even many questions can be answered in the Splunk community, so in other words, it can be said that better support is expected in Splunk rather than ELK. Moreover, accurate documentation for setting up plugins and clusters can be found in Splunk and in Sumo Logic, no proper documentation can be found.


As we have here given a vast comparison of both the tools but the choice of platform will totally depend on your requirement and decision. The winner of all these will depend on your experience and the features that are provided to the users. The community of Splunk and ELK makes it the more preferred choice for the developers, while lack of such community makes Sump Logic a less preferred tool.

Many other features like security, easy configuration, cost of installation, setup, debugging, and monitoring makes the tools most preferred choice for the developers. Data visualization and automatic clustering are two more features that should be considered while choosing the right tool.

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