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Ask me anything about Grafana during my AMA webinar! (Here’s a preview)

Ask me anything about Grafana during my AMA webinar! (Here’s a preview)

7 Aug, 2020 4 min

The Grafana community has tens of thousands of developers around the world using our open source projects. From time to time, some of you come to the community forums to ask really great questions about how to get started in Grafana, how to solve an issue, or how to implement best practices for various functions.

We’ve decided to reduce your MTTQA (mean time to question answered) by hosting a live “Ask Me Anything” session where I’ll be answering questions about Grafana. Whether it’s about technical issues or UX or Grafana lore, really… ask me anything!

AMA session with Torkel
AMA session with Torkel

Just sign up for the session here. After registering, you will be directed to a form to submit your questions.

To warm up for the AMA, I thought I would choose some questions from the community to answer on the blog. Here goes!

Question 1: What was your design inspiration for the beginning of Grafana?

When I started looking at turning Kibana into a time series and graph-focused dashboarding tool, I felt there was too much visual noise. The buttons for every panel were distracting, for example.

So when I imagined a time series and graph-focused dashboard, I wanted it to look more clean and elegant, with less things distracting you from the data. I removed all the buttons and icons. The view needed to be as simple as possible, because the assumption was that you will look at the dashboards more often than you build and edit the dashboards. That also meant that the dashboards should look extra good on a TV.

This became an early design principle and philosophy for Grafana, which we turned into a poster pretty early on in the company’s history: Don’t get in the way of the data.

Don't get in the way of the data.
Don’t get in the way of the data.

Question 2: How can I remove the “Welcome to Grafana” logo you see when logging into Grafana?

It’s pretty easy to customize your Grafana instance, remove the “Welcome to Grafana” logo, and even add your logo or your customer’s logo using Grafana white labeling, which is available in Grafana Enterprise v6.6+.

Grafana Enterprise has white labeling options in the grafana.ini file. As with all configuration options, you can also set them with environment variables.

You can change the following elements:

  • Application title
  • Login background
  • Login logo
  • Side menu top logo
  • Footer and help menu links
  • Fav icon (shown in browser tab)
  • Login title (will not appear if a login logo is set, Grafana v7.0+)
  • Login subtitle (will not appear if a login logo is set, Grafana v7.0+)
  • Login box background (Grafana v7.0+)

With these changes, your login page can go from this:

Generic login page
Generic login page

To one of these:

White label login pages
White label login pages

Check out the docs for details on how to implement white labeling.

Question 3: What are the engineering problems that you’ve had as the company has scaled that you didn’t have in the beginning?

Grafana has become one of the biggest open source projects, and we get a ton of issues, feature requests, bug reports, and questions that we can’t always get to. Dealing with the scale continues to challenge us in terms of finding better solutions for issue triage and for better ways to solve community support and help users be effective.

In the beginning, it was just Graphite and InfluxDB, and it was quite easy to help users with those two data sources. Now, we support so many different data sources and so many more use cases.That’s a challenge in terms of being able to really provide solid help to users of a data source that you don’t have access to, or some data source plugin that you don’t really know how it works.

The other challenge would be onboarding your developers and getting the community involved, because it’s such a complex domain. Getting people to engage as frequent contributors is something that we have tried to improve with things like our developer guides. We’ve been focusing on creative ways. We continue to develop advocacy and make sure users want to contribute and know how to use Grafana.