Mar 1, 2022

Unpacking the Benefits of Elasticsearch and Kibana in Pulse

Pulse 6 brings more flexibility and data capabilities to IBM Planning Analytics (TM1) administrators and developers of all kinds.  We’ve been so excited to see how it is changing the way that our users interact with their organization’s data and in truth, there is so much more value to be unlocked as you start to delve deep into what the application is capable of.

Take, for example, Pulse’s web client.  This is the main component of the application and it’s the portal from which you can access all the key features such as Live Monitoring, Migration, Documentation, Reports, Alerts, and so much more…

There are a wide array of reports available that help developers understand what their users are doing.  For example, in the User Sessions report, you can extract information on all users who logged in between two dates, the total time they spent on the application, and the percentage of time they have been waiting, running, or making others wait. 

This allows for invaluable insights that can transform how a development team operates.  And as our customers have begun to rely more and more on these Pulse reports, they wanted to start getting more detail when it comes to metrics and reporting.  For example, many wanted to see the sessions by hours and with more flexibility like being able to change the chart type or split one chart by series.

It’s for this reason that Pulse 6 comes with the open-source version of Elasticsearch and Kibana already integrated into the application.

Elasticsearch & Kibana in Pulse

For the uninitiated, Elasticsearch is a very powerful search engine that has been built to handle large data sets with ease.  Kibana, in turn, lets you explore and expand on this data with great flexibility.

Thanks to Elasticsearch, Pulse can now store everything that is happening across all your applications on a second-by-second basis.  This data can then be retrieved by Pulse to improve several features.

In the Pulse Live Monitor, you can use this Elasticsearch functionality to rewind what happened and look back on it retroactively.

With Pulse, you can quickly see all your chores with the MIN, AVG, and MAX run time at your fingertips.  This is calculated much more accurately with Pulse 6 thanks to Elasticsearch.

Last, but not least, with Kibana, you can now explore all the data to understand what happened.  This is all possible through the Pulse Explorer which gives you many default dashboards that will get you up and running without fuss.  We’ve written previously about some illustrative real-life examples, so be sure to check that out here.

Opening TM1 to the Observability world.

The Observability community has been very productive in the last few years and it’s transforming how we think about these applications.  In an attempt to improve system observability, many open-source software projects are now available to store the data like in Elasticsearch and Prometheus, or to visualize the data like in Kibana and Grafana.

Elasticsearch and Kibana themselves are at the forefront of observability best practice and now Pulse 6 brings all of those features to the TM1 community, as we discussed in a recent blog post.

Now that Pulse comes with Elasticsearch, you can use any visualization software that you’d like to look at your data in more intuitive formats.  One which is proving very popular is a tool called Grafana.

Grafana is actually very similar to Kibana because it was created from one open-source version of Kibana.  Grafana includes a few features, such as the export to CSV, which are not included in the open-source version of Kibana.  Hence, it’s becoming a widely used tool by many.

It is very quick and easy to connect Grafana to Pulse and you can check out this help article which explains how to do it.  Once Grafana is installed, you will be able to export your data into CSV and leverage that for many different use cases.

As you can see, the power of Elasticsearch and Kibana comes through very strongly in Pulse 6 and it can be a significant point of leverage when it comes to analyzing and visualizing your data with more accuracy, flexibility, and nuance.


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