Let the Data speak for itself. A better Grafana dashboard

Make better decisions based on data. Consolidate signals. Important information front-and-center. Use Grafana dashboards to track your performance metrics and easily visualize the health of your system.

Why you should have a dashboard

  • Make better decisions based on data
  • Consolidate signals into a single location
  • Important information is front-and-center
  • Even non-technical audiences can use it
  • You can solve problems in your system faster
  • You will see problems you never knew about before, before they cause lasting harm
  • Reduces the need for ad-hoc querying

Our objective

Use Grafana dashboards to track your performance metrics and easily visualize the health of your system

How to create better dashboards

5 Second Rule
The most important metrics should immediately pop from the screen

Be Picky

  • Don’t overload!
  • What will help you spot issues quickly?
  • Move the more detailed panels to the bottom

Tell A Story

  • Choose metrics that work together
  • Consider multiple audiences

What is worth monitoring?

Okay Examples

  • Any time-series data you can get your hands on
  • General metrics that are available, but that you’re unfamiliar with
  • Really cool looking charts

Better Examples

  • Use metrics that tell a story when put together
    • What questions will they answer?
  • Cover the Four Golden Signals [1]
    • Latency, Traffic, Errors, Saturation
  • Indicator of issues
  • High level metrics
    • Detailed views are okay, but should be lower on the page or just linked to
  • Don’t assume you’ll know the problem you’re looking for
    • Quickly point the user in the right direction

Drilling in with variables

  • Variables add interactivity to your dashboard
  • Toggle data sources, environments, regions, customers, etc.
  • Hide the data you don’t care about - focus on what you do.
    • Can be static or dynamic list based on live queries against your data sources
    • Can be nested to drill-in deeper

Use the metrics you’re already alerting on

  • Cloudwatch Metrics
  • Many of the graphs you find in the AWS console can be easily recreated in Grafana.
  • Multiple metrics can be combined into a single chart.

Your DB as a Data Source

  • Connect to Postgres, MySQL, or other DB
  • Design your own queries around tabular or time series data
    • Lots of flexibility
    • Write your own SQL with template variables to build visualizations right on top of your data

Other Interesting Data Sources

Grafana supports many additional data sources. Here’s a few more to try: