Grafana is a data visualisation tool originally authored by Torkel Ödegaard; it allows non-developers to build “dashboards” to make it practical to understand their data sources. It is an OSS project, but can be used as a rented service 1. This text is not focussing on any plugins, which would supply new features. All users are encouraged to use the newest stable release (at time of press 7.3).
It uses some non-standard terminology, but an experienced dashboard user should be able to build themselves a solution starting with zero knowledge inside a working day. This software is more business solution oriented, rather than a generic mechanism
Grafana has the following features (unless noted, all features are links from 2 ):
- [NOTE] Most importantly, the ability to render time-series data easily. Some examples 3. These graphs can be rendered in a variety of formats.
- A fairly smooth wizard for setting up data-sources. Support a long list of relational DB 4 : Graphite, Prometheus, Elasticsearch, InfluxDB, OpenTSDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server and AWS Cloudwatch.
- A framework for running plugins.
- Ability to build dashboards (blah!), using drag and drop (blah!). Most settings are static data; but you can set “variables” for things like the date which obviously should be the current value. Secondly dashboards can be made from other dashboards (both composition and inheritance in OO terms) 5.
- The ability to rules to generate alerts.
- An API to allow creation of any of these features; which I think the GUI uses... Users are authenticated to Grafana with OAuth2 6
- Has some monitoring features 7.
- Grafana has some data transforms 8.
- Grafana supports some adjustments to graphs 9 10. This is where to find the options for histograms and time-series.
- This is a server-side piece of software, that one accesses via a website.
- Grafana has no native maths functions. Grafana supports slices in that you set bounds as variables; then change them in the UI; but not as a stats function.
- Anything to-do with GIS or data displayed on maps, or custom indexes is created by plugins.
- No data projection features; it reports the data that is present.
- There are no notes in NLP in Grafana; but the GUI is quite simple.