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'The Story of Grafana' documentary: Celebrating OSS, community, and innovation

'The Story of Grafana' documentary: Celebrating OSS, community, and innovation

5 Dec, 2023 3 min

On Dec. 5, 2013, Torkel Ödegaard made the first commit in GitHub for a personal project that would become Grafana. “It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since Torkel launched Grafana, growing from a small man with a big dream to becoming the most popular data visualization software in the world,” says Grafana Labs co-founder and CEO Raj Dutt.

“The Story of Grafana” chronicles that meteoric journey. A year in the making, “The Story of Grafana” is a four-part documentary that dives into the origin story of Grafana, which started with one engineer who wanted to visualize time series data and grew to become a thriving open source project with a community of more than 20 million users worldwide.

The Grafana documentary features more than 20 interviews, including Ödegaard and his Grafana Labs co-founders Raj Dutt and Anthony Woods; early Grafana engineers Carl Bergquist and Daniel Lee; and other voices from across the global open source community who have made contributions and continue to shape Grafana.

“It’s been a pleasure getting to meet some of the most influential contributors to Grafana’s success, and an honor to take part in telling their story,” says Grafana Labs Video Producer Collins Pace, who directed, produced, and edited the Grafana documentary.

About the Grafana documentary

The first episode, “Democratize Metrics,” reflects on the early days of Grafana, from Torkel’s initial 14-day commit streak over the holidays in 2013 to the first-ever GrafanaCON in 2015. 

Grafana Labs team in a filming set up for Story of Grafana documentary
Behind the scenes: The Grafana Labs team (including documentary director/producer Collins Pace, far right) interviews co-founder Anthony Woods for ‘The Story of Grafana’ in February.

Over the next three weeks, we will release more episodes of “The Story of Grafana” documentary, which will highlight our community, the business of open source, and the innovation that’s powering the next 10 years and beyond. 

(P.S. You’ll also learn some Gra-folklore like how Grafana got its name and the story behind the “night sandwich.”)

“I have been working on Grafana for a very long time, but it’s been incredible,” says Ödegaard.  “In some ways nothing has changed that much. I still wake up almost every day and work on Grafana — fixing bugs, looking at PRs, reviewing issues.”

But when you look at the scale of the project, the community that has supported it, and the dynamic dashboards that have been created to do everything from monitoring NASA rocket launches to caring for a pet python, there’s no doubt that Grafana has become much more than a visualization tool. 

As Grafana Labs Principal Engineer Carl Berquist puts it: “It was a cultural revolution.”