Tuesday 14 May 2024

Introduction to Grafana


What is Grafana?

  • Web application for:
    • analytics
    • interactive visualization  - often a component in monitoring stacks in combination with:
      • time series databases:
        • InfluxDB
        • Prometheus
        • Graphite
      • monitoring platforms:
        • Sensu
        • Icinga
        • Checkmk
        • Zabbix
        • Netdata
        • PRTG
      • SIEMs (Security Information and Event Management - collects logs and events, normalizing this data for further analysis that can manifest as visualizations, alerts, searches, reports, and more.):
        • Elasticsearch
        • Splunk
      • other data sources.
  • Produces charts, graphs, and alerts for the web when connected to supported data sources
  • Multi-platform
    • Microsoft Windows
    • Linux
    • macOS
  • Licenses:
    • open source
    • licensed Grafana Enterprise
      • additional capabilities
      • sold as a self-hosted installation or through an account on the Grafana Labs cloud service
  • Expandable through a plug-in system
  • Complex monitoring dashboards can be built via interactive query builders

How to start with Grafana Web Application?

Grafana web app shows a list of:
  • Dashboards
    • for data visualization
    • can be grouped into folders
  • Playlists
    • groups of dashboards that are displayed in a sequence
    • they can be used to cycle dashboards on TVs without user control 
  • Snapshots
    • interactive, publicly available, point-in-time representations of dashboards
  • Library panels
    • Reusable panels that can be added to multiple dashboards

How to create a new Dashboard?

We can add a visualisation by selecting a data source and then querying and visualising data with charts, stats and tables or by creating lists, markdowns and other widgets.

There is also a drop-down menu in the context of the dashboard, with the same content:

Adding a visualization actually adds a new panel:

We can toggle a Table view and see data points as rows in a table instead of the graph:

In the right-hand side panel we can choose Visualisation type:

For example, Bar chart would look like this:

Suggestions tab show thumbnails for various visualisations:

Related panels can be grouped into rows.


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