Open Source Project


Cortex provides horizontally scalable, highly available, multi-tenant, long term storage for Prometheus.


Cortex is a project that extends the capabilities of Prometheus, a popular open-source system monitoring and alerting toolkit, by focusing on solving the challenges associated with long-term storage, scalability, and availability of metrics data. In environments that generate vast amounts of operational telemetry, the storage and query performance of monitoring systems become critical factors. Prometheus, while highly efficient for short-term metrics collection and alerting, was not originally designed to handle very large historical data sets over an extended period.

The Cortex project addresses these limitations by providing a solution that allows for the storage of metrics data over the long term in a way that is both highly available and scalable. This is achieved through a multi-tenant architecture, which means that the system is designed to serve multiple users or clients, each isolated from one another within the same operational instance. Such an architecture is particularly beneficial in cloud environments or for service providers that need to manage metrics for multiple customers or departments within a single infrastructure.

To ensure that the system can scale with the increase in data volume and query load, Cortex employs techniques such as sharding and replication. Sharding involves dividing the data into smaller, manageable pieces that can be distributed across multiple storage instances or nodes. This not only helps in managing large datasets more efficiently but also in parallelizing query processing, leading to faster response times. Replication, on the other hand, ensures that copies of the data are stored across different nodes or instances, which enhances the fault tolerance of the system. If one node fails, the system can still serve data from another node, ensuring high availability.

Cortex’s compatibility with Prometheus’s query API allows users to leverage existing Prometheus queries and dashboards, making it easier to integrate into existing setups without significant changes to monitoring configurations or practices. This seamless integration encourages adoption for those looking to extend the capabilities of their Prometheus installations without losing the familiar tools and interfaces they are accustomed to.

In summary, Cortex expands the Prometheus ecosystem by offering a scalable, highly available solution for long-term metrics storage. It is particularly suited for large-scale environments where the volume of metrics data exceeds the capacity of a standard Prometheus setup. By sharding and replicating data, Cortex ensures that metrics are readily available and queryable, even as data volumes grow, making it an essential tool for organizations looking to scale their monitoring infrastructure efficiently.

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