Grafana Time-Sequence Dashboards with the Rockset-Grafana Plugin


What Is Grafana?

Grafana is an open-source software program platform for time collection analytics and monitoring. You possibly can join Grafana to a lot of information sources, from PostgreSQL to Prometheus. As soon as your information supply is related, you need to use a built-in question management or editor to fetch information, and construct dashboards out of your information supply. Grafana is steadily deployed for all kinds of use circumstances, together with DevOps and AdTech.

At Rockset, we primarily use Grafana for monitoring our manufacturing techniques, in addition to for DevOps functions. We observe all kinds of metrics, from the variety of question errors to the CPU utilization of our manufacturing machines. Each time a graph deviates from a predefined band of anticipated values, we set off an alert which might hook up with one thing like a PagerDuty integration that might ping an on-call engineer.

cpu usage graph

Why Construct a Plugin?

As energy customers of Grafana ourselves, we had floated the concept of constructing a Rockset connector for Grafana for a very long time. Due to the realtime nature of Rockset as an operational analytics engine, we believed {that a} Grafana plugin may very well be match for a variety of issues and queries. We realized that we may start monitoring lots of time collection metrics that might permit for higher transparency into our engineering practices (by monitoring the heart beat of our GitHub commits into grasp, for instance), in addition to our inside techniques that we’re monitoring via Rockset (reminiscent of occasions in our Kubernetes cluster). One more reason a Rockset-Grafana plugin is useful is as a result of an software developer can use customary SQL to fetch any sort of information via Rockset. Lastly, it was one thing that our clients had beforehand expressed curiosity in. Taking these factors under consideration, constructing a Grafana connector appeared like an apparent and helpful software of Rockset to boost an already highly effective software.

How To Construct A Grafana Connector

To construct a working Grafana connector, one must implement a group of Typescript strategies, in addition to a customized person interface for retrieving information out of your given datasource. After the plugin has been carried out and check circumstances written, it’s reviewed by the Grafana maintainer staff and built-in into the official listing of plugins.

The performance that any Grafana connector must implement is:

  1. Datasource Specification

    When constructing a plugin, it’s worthwhile to first truly be capable to fetch the information you may be developing dashboards out of. This typically entails having the person specify an API key, password, or database connection URL to fetch the information from.

  2. Customized Question Interface

    As soon as a datasource has been specified, a person wants to have the ability to question that datasource. Within the case of Rockset, this concerned implementing a customized question editor in HTML and AngularJS that’s proven to the person when they’re making a dashboard with Rockset.

  3. Question Execution via the API layer

    After the person has typed in a question, the information itself wants to truly be fetched and handed to the visualization layer in a really particular format. This entails speaking with the frontend via the person’s question modifying, in addition to question execution via the Rockset API and post-processing of outcomes such that they’re handed to the visualization within the correct timeseries format.

Constructing the Rockset-Grafana Plugin

Going again to the steps outlined above, the very first thing that I wanted to do when constructing out the Rockset Connector was to truly join the Rockset Datasource. I constructed out a kind that allowed a person to specify the identify of the plugin, in addition to the Rockset API key. This concerned constructing out the shape on the frontend, in addition to writing a testDatasource technique that validated the correct API key with a check question to the Rockset backend via a fast name to the /v1/orgs/self/customers/self/apikeys endpoint within the Rockset API that ensured the API key itself was legitimate.

dashboard api ui

As soon as the important thing was validated, it was time to construct out the question editor. Within the case of Rockset, we’ve to permit a person to sort in arbitrary SQL to any of their collections. Moreover, it is very important present informative error messages for syntactically invalid queries or if a person is querying on a group that doesn’t exist.

grafana query editor

I carried out the question editor with a debounce perform that allowed a person to sort their question, then pause so it may very well be executed via the Rockset API. The queries are checked for validity on the backend, and the error is handed to the person on the frontend to allow them to obtain an informative error message. Moreover, Grafana requires a timeseries column if you wish to specific the information by way of an over-time graph. The Timeseries column field permits a person to specify a column of their SQL outcomes that they select to pivot their graph axes on. The Format as field is an easy dropdown that enables a person to precise a Rockset question as a timeseries or as a desk, and this modifications the formatting of the information handed to the graph layer.

After a question has been typed in, validated, and executed, the information is acquired by the Grafana connector. Sadly, we can not merely cross the information to a desk or graph and show it within the Grafana dashboard. We have to extract the user-specified timeseries column, convert it into Unix seconds, and cross an array of JSON objects into the visualization layer of Grafana. We will additionally neatly counsel the timeseries column if a person specifies just one column that’s of sort datetime.

Lastly, as soon as all the question and validations steps have been accomplished, it’s now attainable for a person of the plugin to visualise their information, and we instantly set about doing that after the plugin had completed being developed.

Use Circumstances and Future Work

As soon as our plugin was full, we began to make use of it for attention-grabbing queries at Rockset. One factor we began out was our inside GitHub metrics. Particularly, we began trying on the variety of open points each hour, the variety of closed points and the variety of recordsdata added or modified throughout the course of a day in our firm.

github commits graph

We additionally started monitoring metrics just like the variety of Kubernetes occasions in our dev cluster for higher understanding outages and utilization spikes.

kubernetes events graph

These queries are only a few examples of how Rockset can be utilized with Grafana to supply realtime insights into arbitrary collections of knowledge, and we’re excited to roll this plugin out extra extensively and see how our clients use it. To see a extra detailed view of the plugin and to get began utilizing it, try the documentation.


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