Grafana- A Quick Overview

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Grafana is an open source visualization and analytics software.It is a solution for running data analytics, pulling up metrics and monitor our apps with the help of dashboards.Grafana allows you to query, alert on, visualize and explore your metrics no matter wherever they are stored.It also helps us track the user behaviour , application behaviour, frequency of errors present in production or pre-prod environment etc.

It provides you with tools to turn your time-series database (TSDB) data into graphs and visualizations. With the help of the tools we study, analyse and monitor data over a particular period of time technically known as time series analytics.

However the greatest thing about grafana is that you can have your data anywhere. Let’s say it can be in –

  • Kubernetes cluster
  • Raspberry pi
  • Different cloud services
  • Google sheets

With grafana you can visualize all of it from a single dashboard. It connects with every possible data source.Such as

  • Graphite,
  • Prometheus
  • Influxdb
  • ElasticSearch
  • MySQL
  • PostgreSQL

These are some of the many data sources which Grafana support by default.

Snapshot of Dashboard

Grafana dashboard

In conclusion, the dashboards pull data from the plugged-in data sources.

  • Moreover, it contain visualization options such as geo maps, heat maps, histograms etc.
  • A dashboard contains different individual panels on the grid. Each panel has different functionalities.The panel is the main visualization building block.
  • However, every panel has a query editor specific to the data source selected in the panel.
  • Above all, the query editor allows you to extract the perfect visualization to display on the panel.There are multiple ways of styling and formatting panels.
  • Panels can be dragged and dropped and rearranged on the dashboard. They can also be resized.

Features of Grafana

  • Panels

For example heatmaps, histograms,Graphs.Grafana consist of a fast and flexible visualizations that allows you to visualize your data the way you want.

  • Plugins

Meanwhile you can connect your tools and your teams with Grafana plugins. In addition, data source plugins hook into existing data sources through APIs and render the data in real time without the need to migrate or ingest your data.

  • Alerts

Likewise, with alerting you can create, manage and silence all of your alerts within one simple UI.That allows you to consolidate and centralize all your alerts.

  • Transformations

Moreover with transformations you can rename, summarize, combine, and perform calculations across different queries and data sources.

  • Annotations

In addition annotate graphs with rich events from different data sources.You can Hover over events and see the full event metadata and tags.

  • Panel Editor

Above all the panel editor makes it easy to configure, customize and explore all your panels with a consistent UI. With which you can set data options across all of your visualizations.

Use cases of Grafana

  • Digital Ocean uses Grafana to share visualization data between their teams & have in place a common visual data sharing platform.
  • Salesforce uses Grafana dashboard to monitor their service health and drive the overall product availability insights across the company
  • In addition companies using grafana include grofers, PayPal, eBay, Intel etc.

Monitoring is essential to complete the infinite loop of DevOps.

Written by 

Shivani Sarthi is a Software Consultant at Knoldus Software. She has completed her MCA from BCIIT and Bachelors in Electronic Science from Delhi University. She has a keen interest toward learning new technologies. Her practice area is Devops. When not working, you will find her watching anime or with a book.

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