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Introducing Grafana OnCall OSS, on-call management for the open source community

14 Jun 2022 5 min read

Last November, we announced the launch of Grafana OnCall, an easy-to-use on-call management tool that helps reduce toil through simpler workflows and interfaces tailored for developers.

Born out of Grafana Labs' acquisition of Amixr Inc., Grafana OnCall began as a cloud-only solution that became generally available to all Grafana Cloud users, on both paid and free plans, in February. DevOps and site reliability engineering (SRE) teams were able to easily integrate on-call management into their existing Grafana deployments, alerting sources, and monitoring tools. The result? Monitoring incident response from a central view helped resolve incidents faster.

But we also realized a hosted option wasn’t the best on-call management solution for many in our community. Whether it was because of security requirements, third-party sensitive data, remote locations with limited connectivity, or other reasons, we received a lot of questions since our initial launch about if and when we were planning to open source Grafana OnCall. 

Our answer is yes and now: During the GrafanaCONline 2022 opening keynote today, we announced that Grafana OnCall is the latest open source project from Grafana Labs. Joining Grafana, Grafana Loki, Grafana Tempo, and Grafana Mimir, Grafana OnCall OSS extends our open and composable observability stack by offering an open source on-call management tool for self-managed and on-premises deployments.

Why Grafana OnCall started in Grafana Cloud

We offered Grafana OnCall to users as a SaaS tool first for a few reasons. It’s a commonly shared belief that the more independent your on-call management system is, the better it will be for your entire operation. If something goes wrong, there will be a “designated survivor” outside of your infrastructure to help identify any issues. 

But while Grafana OnCall remains separate from your internal systems, the tool must remain consistently connected. Grafana Cloud provides a global 24/7 team that tests and monitors connections, so Grafana OnCall users never have to worry if notifications will reach the right people via SMS, Slack, or various other ChatOps tools. 

Plus Grafana OnCall has helped DevOps and SRE teams collaborate more efficiently, optimize on-call workflows, and resolve incidents faster — all while benefiting from deep integration with Grafana Cloud, our fully managed observability stack. 

On-call management for the OSS community

Open sourcing Grafana OnCall shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Ever since I started Amixr with Ildar Iskhakov, we wanted to make our on-call management tool open source and available to the wider community. 

But before we did that, we worked hard to make sure that the product was easy to operate so that users could deploy it on their own without friction. We also wanted to ensure it was highly resilient and reliable in a self-managed environment. Similar to what we did with scaling Grafana Mimir to 1 billion active series, we tested our software in Grafana Cloud extensively using Grafana k6, and we are so confident in Grafana OnCall’s overall performance that we are launching Grafana OnCall open source with version 1.0.0. 

Now, as one of the few open source on-call management tools available to the community, Grafana OnCall OSS gives users the flexibility to implement the product in their own local environments for pet projects, production, and more. 

And even if you do self-host Grafana OnCall, a few of the Grafana Cloud features might be interesting for you. You can use Grafana Cloud as a gateway to send SMS and phone calls. And Grafana Cloud can also be leveraged to monitor your Grafana OnCall installation.

Like our other open source projects at Grafana Labs, we will now default to having the majority of the code, issues, and product discussions available to the public. We are excited to invite the open source community to hack, build features, share feedback, and play a much larger role in the future of Grafana OnCall with a direct impact on our backlog as well as better visibility into our roadmap. 

You can join our first Grafana OnCall community call on Wednesday, June 22, at 14:00 UTC. 

For Grafana Cloud users, you will continue to benefit from the work that goes into Grafana OnCall OSS in addition to having access to some Cloud-only features, such as integrations with commercial systems like Datadog, New Relic, Amazon SNS, and more.

Try Grafana OnCall today!

Grafana OnCall has come a long way, from being founded as an independent startup in 2018 to getting acquired by Grafana Labs in 2021. Since then, it has been amazing to accelerate our roadmap and help even more users reduce on-call toil as part of Grafana Cloud.

Now together with the community, we want to build a truly accessible and affordable on-call management tool that everyone can use. Not to mention help engineers around the world sleep well at night, knowing that (finally!) only the most relevant notifications will reach them.  

To learn more about the OSS version of Grafana OnCall, go to the GitHub repo and read our Grafana OnCall documentation and our Grafana OnCall Getting Started guide

If you are interested in trying Grafana OnCall on Grafana Cloud, you can sign up for a free Grafana Cloud account, which includes 3 active users of Grafana OnCall for free, or check out our plans for every use case.