Blog Kibana – An Overview of the Data Visualization Tool

Kibana – An Overview of the Data Visualization Tool


It’s often claimed that data has overtaken oil as the world’s most valuable resource. Whether or not this is true, it’s important to note that, just like oil, data is useless until it’s mined and handled (i.e., analyzed) correctly. At Knowi, and, I suppose, everyone in the Data Analytics space agrees and values data the most. The next question is analyzing vast amounts of data from businesses and organizations. Enter Visualization tools.

Visualization tools make use of Data analytics to visualize data. Data analytics converts raw data into actionable insights. It includes various tools, technologies, and processes to find trends and solve problems using data. Data analytics can shape business processes, improve decision-making, and foster growth.

What is Kibana?

Kibana is an open-source data visualization and exploration tool designed to work seamlessly with Elasticsearch, a distributed search and analytics engine. Developed by Elastic, Kibana provides a user-friendly interface to interact with Elasticsearch and transform raw data into visually appealing and informative dashboards, charts, and reports.

Kibana is part of the ELK (Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana) stack. ELK stack is a complete solution for collecting, processing, and visualizing data. Logstash extracts the logging data or other events from different input sources in the ELK stack. It processes and stores the events in Elasticsearch, a search-based data solution. Kibana is the visualization tool that accesses the logs from Elasticsearch and displays them to the user through line graphs, bar graphs, pie charts, etc.

Here is how the ELK stack works:

Flow chart showing how ELK stack works.

Kibana Features

Kibana enables you to shape your raw data and transform it into meaningful insights. Some of the key features include:

  1. Real-time Data Exploration: Kibana allows users to explore and interact with their data in real-time. With its intuitive search and filter capabilities, users can drill down into specific datasets and gain instant insights.
  2. Visualizations: Kibana supports various visualization options, including line charts, bar charts, pie charts, and maps. Users can create customized visualizations to represent their data most meaningfully.
  3. Dashboards: Users can combine multiple visualizations into interactive dashboards, providing a comprehensive view of their data. Dashboards are highly customizable, allowing users to arrange and resize visualizations to suit their needs.
  4. Elasticsearch Query Integration: Kibana seamlessly integrates with Elasticsearch queries, enabling users to retrieve and analyze data using Elasticsearch’s powerful search capabilities.
  5. Machine Learning Integration: Kibana incorporates machine learning features to detect anomalies, forecast trends, and gain deeper insights into data patterns, enhancing predictive analytics capabilities. Kibana uses machine learning features such as anomaly and outlier detection, making it easier to notice suspicious activities with minimal human interference.
  6. Timelion: Timelion is a time-series data visualization feature in Kibana that enables users to create composite charts, making it easier to analyze trends and patterns over time.
  7. Dev Tools: The dev tools contain tools that let you interact with data. Tools such as:
    1. Console – Interact with the REST APIs of Elasticsearch and Kibana, including sending requests and viewing API documentation.
    2. Search Profiler – Inspect and analyze your search queries.
    3. Grok debugger – Build and debug grok patterns.
    4. Painless lab – Test and debug scripts in real-time.
  8. Report: All the data in the visualization and dashboard can be converted to reports (CSV format), embedded in the code, or in the form of URLs to be shared with others.
  9. Plugins: Kibana provides several plugins for apps, Timelion, and visualizations. Check their documentation for more details.
  10. Maps: You can create unique maps with Kibana from your geographical data. With Kibana Maps, you can:
  • Build maps with multiple layers and indices.
  • Animate spatial-temporal data.
  • Upload GeoJSON files and shapefiles for analysis.
  • Embed your map in dashboards to generate visualizations.
  • Symbolize features using data values.
  1. Canvas: Canvas is yet another powerful feature in Kibana. Using canvas visualization, you can represent your data in different color combinations, shapes, texts, and multiple pages called a workpad.
  2. APM: The APM app in Kibana is an application monitoring feature that allows you to monitor your software services and applications in real time, visualize detailed performance information on your services, identify and analyze errors, and monitor host-level and APM agent-specific metrics like JVM and Go runtime metrics.
  3. REST API: Some Kibana features are provided via a REST API, ideal for creating an integration with Kibana or automating certain aspects of configuring and deploying Kibana.

Pros and Cons

Kibana comes with a lot of advantages:

  • The ELK advantage: It contains a browser-based visualization tool mainly used to analyze large volumes of logs in line graphs, bar graphs, pie charts, heat maps, etc. It easily integrates with Elasticsearch, Beats, and Logstash.
  • Not a steep learning curve: Simple and easy for beginners to understand.
  • Ease of conversion of visualization and dashboard into reports.
  • Canvas visualization helps to analyze complex data efficiently.
  • Timelion visualization in Kibana helps to compare data backward to understand the performance better.


  • Adding plugins to Kibana can be tedious if a version mismatch exists.
  • You face issues when you want to upgrade from an older version to a new one.
  • Kibana provides no native integration with relational databases or NoSQL.
  • Changes in Elastic’s open-source license terms have left many users on two roads.

Read a detailed comparison of Kibana vs. Knowi here: Kibana alternative Knowi.

At Knowi

Knowi has firmly established itself as an elastic search analytics and data visualization leader. It integrates with elastic search and allows you the flexibility to integrate natively with NoSQL databases or RDBMS and NLP queries.

As the business landscape continues evolving, so does Knowi, ensuring our offerings remain cutting-edge and relevant. If you want to elevate your data-driven decision-making, there’s no better time to explore what Knowi offers. Ready to experience the power of Knowi firsthand? Book a demo today and embark on a transformative analytics journey.


Kibana stands as a versatile and powerful tool in the world of data visualization. Its seamless integration with Elasticsearch, extensive range of features, and user-friendly interface make it a top choice for businesses seeking to derive actionable insights from their data. Whether used for log analysis, business intelligence, or security monitoring, Kibana empowers users to transform raw data into meaningful visualizations, unlocking the full potential of their data analytics journey.

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