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Welcome to 'Grafana's Big Tent' — a podcast about people, community, tech, and tools around observability

4 Apr 2022 4 min read

We talk a lot about “the big tent” at Grafana Labs — not because we are obsessed with camping. (Though who doesn’t love a good campfire?) But because we believe you should be able to access your data, no matter where it lives, and choose the tools that best suit your observability strategy. This is why Grafana is interoperable with more than 100 data sources today.

Over the years, as Grafana Labs rapidly scaled and expanded our catalog to include more open source tools, data sources, and services, we started an internal podcast hosted by VP of Culture Matt Toback that featured some of the incredible people working within the company discussing open source, observability, and our approach to both with this big tent philosophy in mind. 

We quickly felt it was time to open up that conversation to our broader community. So we’re excited to invite everyone into “Grafana’s Big Tent” — our new podcast about people, community, tech, and tools around observability. 

Grafana's Big Tent podcast: hosts

Hosted by Toback, Engineering Director Mat Ryer, and VP Technology Tom Wilkie, “Grafana’s Big Tent” podcast is our opportunity to invite members from our community and from competing tools to engage in honest, thoughtful, and fun conversations around observability.

“At Grafana Labs, it’s way more than just about the technology we build,” says Wilkie in the introductory episode. “Grafana is one of the few pieces of software in the world that touches hundreds of different projects. And we want to use this platform we’ve got as a way of shining a spotlight on some of those projects.”

Not just a “Grafana podcast” 

Every two weeks, a new episode of “Grafana’s Big Tent” will drop, and they’re not just long product plugs.

“It’s going to be broader than just technology,” says Wilkie. 

We’re kicking off the inaugural season by dropping two episodes. In episode 1, the hosting trio tackle defining what modern observability means today. Frederic Branczyk, co-founder and CEO of Polar Signals, then joins the Big Tent podcast for a candid conversation around continuous profiling and the open source project Parca in episode 2. 

In future episodes, “I want to go outside of the vendor side or the project side, because the people who are actually using all these tools, their story is very different than even the story that we tell,” adds Toback. “I want them to have a voice here.”

Sometimes the focus will even be on what doesn’t work. “Someone had an idea of doing an episode called ‘Not Just Newbs’ where we talk about mistakes that we still make today,” says Ryer. “When I first started out, every time I made a mistake, I would think that I failed, and I would feel shame from that. Over the years you realize, ‘Oh no, that’s just normal,’ and it’s more about how you react to those mistakes and how you adapt and fix and learn from them.”

After all, being “right” has never been the goal at Grafana Labs. “When we talk to our users, we don’t necessarily tell them, ‘Well, you’ve gotta change everything you’re doing,'” says Wilkie. “We try to work in a much more inclusive way and accommodate their current practices inside of our existing technologies and projects.”

Just as Grafana brings together different technologies, systems, and communities onto one platform to visualize and analyze data, “we are trying to apply the same technique to all of our projects and basically every interaction we have,” says Wilkie. “The approach we’ve got is to be more inclusive to new ideas.”

Which is why “Grafana’s Big Tent” podcast also wants to hear from you. If you have a great story to share, want to join the conversation, or have any feedback, please contact the Big Tent team at bigtent@grafana.com.

A huge thank you goes out to Jerod Santo and Adam Stacoviak at Changelog Media for their guidance in creating and producing “Grafana’s Big Tent” podcast. If you want to learn more about how “Grafana’s Big Tent” came together, our Grafana Labs hosts recently joined Jerod and Adam on Changelog’s Backstage podcast to talk about the process.

Don’t want to miss the latest episodes? You can now subscribe to “Grafana’s Big Tent” podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.