Today is the day! We are pleased to announce that Grafana 3.0 beta is released along with a preview of Grafana.net! Since our last release approximately 3 months ago, we’ve been extremely busy. This is the biggest update to Grafana ever, with over 1500 commits by over 30 contributors.
Read on below to learn more about what’s new in 3.0 or:
Commercial Support subscriptions for Grafana are now generally available.
Raintank is committed to a 100% open-source strategy for Grafana. We do not want to go down the “open core” route. If your organization finds Grafana valuable, please consider purchasing a subscription. Get direct support, bug fixes, and training from the core Grafana team.
With the popularity of Grafana continuing to accelerate, it has been challenging to keep up with all the requests for new features, new panels, new data sources, and new functionality. Saying “no” so often has been frustrating, especially for an open source project with such a vibrant community.
The team felt that it was time to dramatically improve extensibility through plugin support. Grafana 3.0 comes with a completely revamped plugin SDK / API.
We’ve refactored our Data Source plugin architecture and added two new plugin types:
- Panel plugins let you add new panel types for your Dashboards.
- App plugins bundle Panels plugins, Data Sources plugins, Dashboards, and Grafana Pages. Apps are a great way to provide an entire experience right within Grafana.
A preview of Grafana.net is launching along with this release. We think it’s the perfect compliment to Grafana.
Grafana.net currently offers a central repository where the community can come together to discover and share plugins (Data Sources, Panels, Apps) and Dashboards for Grafana 3.0 and above.
We are also working on a hosted Graphite-compatible Data Source that will be optimized for use with Grafana. It’ll be easy to combine your existing Data Source(s) with this OpenSaaS option.
Finally, Grafana.net will also be a hub to manage all your Grafana instances. You’ll be able to monitor their health and availability, perform Dashboard backups, and more.
Grafana.net will officially launch along with the stable version of Grafana 3.0, but check out the preview and sign up for an account in the meantime.
Grafana 3.0 comes with a new command line tool called grafana-cli. You can easily install plugins from Grafana.net with it. For example:
grafana-cli install grafana-pie-chart-panel
Personalization & Preferences
The home dashboard, timezone and theme can now be customized on Organization and user Profile level. Grafana can also track recently viewed dashboards, which can then be displayed in the dashboard list panel.
You can now save Playlists, and start them by using a Playlist URL. If you update a running Playlist, it will update after its next cycle.
This is powerful as it allows you to remote control Grafana. If you have a big TV display showing Grafana in your company lobby, create a playlist named Lobby, and start it on the computer connected to the Lobby TV.
You can now change the Lobby playlist and have the dashboards shown in the Lobby update accordingly, automatically.
The playlist does not even have to contain multiple Dashboards; you can use this feature to reload the whole Dashboard (and Grafana) periodically and remotely.
You can also make Playlists dynamic by using Dashboard tags to define the Playlist.
We’ve always tried to focus on a good looking, usable, and responsive UI. We’ve continued to pay a lot of attention to these areas in this release.
Grafana 3.0 has a dramatically updated UI that not only looks better but also has a number of usability improvements. The side menu now works as a dropdown that you can pin to the side. The Organization / Profile / Sign out side menu links have been combined into an on hover slide out menu.
In addition, all the forms and the layouts of all pages have been updated to look and flow better, and be much more consistent. There are literally hundreds of UI improvements and refinements.
Here’s the new side menu in action:
And here’s the new look for Dashboard settings:
Check out the Play Site to get a feel for some of the UI changes.
It is now possible to define a link in each annotation. You can hover over the link and click the annotation text. This feature is very useful for linking to particular commits or tickets where more detailed information can be presented to the user.
Prometheus, InfluxDB, and OpenTSDB improvements
All three of these popular included Data Sources have seen a variety of improvements in this release. Here are some highlights:
The Prometheus Data Source now supports annotations.
You can now select the InfluxDB policy from the query editor.
Grafana 3.0 also comes with support for InfluxDB 0.11.
OpenTSDB 2.2 is better supported and now supports millisecond precision.
Improved code, and reduced technical debt
The styling system has seen a massive update and clean-up. Grafana 1.x and 2.x were built on a shaky and old style foundation based on Bootstrap 2.3, followed by a Bootswatch dark theme, followed by many custom overrides. This has been completely removed, and we have switched to a modern and custom SASS based style foundation. In addition, much of the code has been migrated to ES6 and Typescript.
These changes dramatically improve the maintainability of the code going forward.
We are aware that many of you are waiting for the alerting feature, and regrettably it didn’t make it into this beta.
While we understand that many are disappointed, and anxious to get alerting in Grafana, the team strongly felt that improving extensibility and addressing technical debt were more important in the short term, and will give us a stronger base to build alerting on top of. We have spent a lot of effort making sure that the code base remains modern and of high quality.
We did not take this decision lightly, and hope that our users understand the logic behind our choice. Once Grafana 3.0 stable is released, we will be circling back on Alerting.
Dashboards from v2.6 are compatible; no manual updates should be necessary. There could be some edge case scenarios where dashboards using templating could stop working. If that is the case just enter the edit view for the template variable and hit Update button. This is due to a simplification of the variable format system where template variables are now stored without any formatting (glob/regex/etc), this is done on the fly when the variable is interpolated.
Plugin API: The plugin API has changed so if you are using a custom data source (or panel) they need to be updated as well.
InfluxDB 0.8: This data source is no longer included in releases, you can still install manually from Grafana.net
KairosDB: This data source has also no longer shipped with Grafana, you can install it manually from Grafana.net
For a detailed list and link to github issues for everything included in the 3.0 release please view the CHANGELOG.md file.