The Grafana undertaking started in 2013 when Torkel Ödegaard determined to fork Kibana and switch it right into a time-series and graph-focused dashboarding device. His guiding imaginative and prescient: to make every little thing look extra clear and chic, with fewer issues distracting you from the info.
More than 500,000 lively installations later, Grafana dashboards are ubiquitous and immediately recognizable. (Even throughout a SpaceX launch!)
Whether you are a current adopter or an skilled energy person, you is probably not conversant in the entire options that Grafana Labs—the corporate fashioned to speed up the adoption of the Grafana undertaking and to construct a sustainable enterprise round it—and the Grafana group at massive have developed over the previous 6+ years.
Here’s a have a look at a few of the most impactful:
- Dashboard templating: One of the important thing options in Grafana, templating lets you create dashboards that may be reused for many totally different use circumstances. Values aren’t hard-coded with these templates, so as an illustration, when you’ve got a manufacturing server and a check server, you need to use the identical dashboard for each. Templating lets you drill down into your knowledge, say, from all knowledge to North America knowledge, right down to Texas knowledge, and past. You also can share these dashboards throughout groups inside your group—or in the event you create an excellent dashboard template for a preferred knowledge supply, you’ll be able to contribute it to the entire group to customise and use.
- Provisioning: While it is simple to click on, drag, and drop to create a single dashboard, energy customers in want of many dashboards will need to automate the setup with a script. You can script something in Grafana. For instance, in the event you’re spinning up a brand new Kubernetes cluster, you may as well spin up a Grafana routinely with a script that will have the best server, IP tackle, and knowledge sources preset and locked. It’s additionally a means of getting management over quite a lot of dashboards.
- Annotations: This function, which reveals up as a graph marker in Grafana, is beneficial for correlating knowledge in case one thing goes fallacious. You can create the annotations manually—simply control-click on a graph and enter some textual content—or you’ll be able to fetch knowledge from any knowledge supply. (Check out how Wikimedia makes use of annotations on its public Grafana dashboard, and right here is another example from the OpenHAB group.) A very good instance is in the event you routinely create annotations round releases, and some hours after a brand new launch, you begin seeing quite a lot of errors, then you’ll be able to return to your annotation and correlate whether or not the errors began concurrently the discharge. This automation could be achieved utilizing the Grafana HTTP API (see examples here and here). Many of Grafana’s largest clients use the HTTP API for quite a lot of duties, significantly establishing databases and including customers. It’s an alternative choice to provisioning for automation, and you are able to do extra with it. For occasion, the group at DigitalOcean used the API to combine a snapshot feature for reviewing dashboards.
- Kiosk mode and playlists: If you need to show your Grafana dashboards on a TV monitor, you need to use the playlist function to select the dashboards that you just or your group want to take a look at by the course of the day and have them cycle by on the display. The kiosk mode hides all of the person interface components that you do not want in view-only mode. Helpful trace: The Grafana Kiosk utility handles logging in, switching to kiosk mode, and opening a playlist—eliminating the ache of logging in on a TV that has no keyboard.
- Custom plugins: Plugins help you prolong Grafana with integrations with different instruments, totally different visualizations, and extra. Some of the preferred in the neighborhood are Worldmap Panel (for visualizing knowledge on prime of a map), Zabbix (an integration with Zabbix metrics), and Influx Admin Panel (which presents different performance like creating databases or including customers). But they’re solely the tip of the iceberg. Just by writing a little bit of code, you may get something that produces a timestamp and a worth visualized in Grafana. Plus, Grafana Enterprise clients have entry to extra plugins for integrations with Splunk, Datadog, New Relic, and others.
- Alerting and alert hooks: If you are utilizing Grafana alerting, you’ll be able to have alerts despatched by a variety of totally different notifiers, together with PagerDuty, SMS, electronic mail, or Slack. Alert hooks help you create totally different notifiers with a little bit of code in the event you choose another channels of communication.
- Permissions and groups: When organizations have one Grafana and a number of groups, they typically need the flexibility to each hold issues separate and share dashboards. Early on, the default in Grafana was that everyone may see everybody else’s dashboards, and that was it. Later, Grafana launched multi-tenant mode, in which you’ll be able to swap organizations however cannot share dashboards. Some individuals have been utilizing enormous hacks to allow each, so Grafana determined to formally create a neater means to do that. Now you’ll be able to create a group of customers after which set permissions on folders, dashboards, and right down to the info supply stage in the event you’re utilizing Grafana Enterprise.
- SQL knowledge sources: Grafana’s native help for SQL helps you flip something—not simply metrics—in an SQL database into metric knowledge which you can graph. Power customers are utilizing SQL knowledge sources to do a complete bunch of attention-grabbing issues, like creating enterprise dashboards that “make sense for your boss’s boss,” because the group at Percona put it. Check out their presentation at GrafanaCon.
- Monitoring your monitoring: If you are critical about monitoring and also you need to monitor your individual monitoring, Grafana has its personal Prometheus HTTP endpoint that Prometheus can scrape. It’s fairly easy to get dashboards and statics. There’s additionally an enterprise model in improvement that can provide Google Analytics-style easy accessibility to knowledge, akin to how a lot CPU your Grafana is utilizing or how lengthy alerting is taking.
- Authentication: Grafana helps totally different authentication kinds, akin to LDAP and OAuth, and lets you map customers to organizations. In Grafana Enterprise, you may as well map customers to groups: If your organization has its personal authentication system, Grafana lets you map the groups in your inner programs to groups in Grafana. That means, you’ll be able to routinely give individuals entry to the dashboards designated for his or her groups.