What are metrics and visualizations?
Metrics tell you how much of something exists, such as how much memory a computer system has available or how many centimeters long a desktop is. In the case of Grafana, metrics are most useful when they are recorded repeatedly over time. This permits us to compare things like how running a program affects the availability of system resources.
Metrics like these are stored in a time series database (TSDB), like Prometheus, by recording a metric and pairing that entry with a time stamp. Each TSDB uses a slightly different data model, but all combine these two aspects and Grafana Cloud can accept their different metrics formats for visualization.
For example, one might be interested in comparing system I/O performance as the number of users increases during a morning while many users in a company come online to start their work days.
A chart showing this change of resource use across time is an example of a visualization. Comparing these time-stamped metrics over time using visualizations makes it quick and easy to see changes to a computer system, especially as events occur.
Grafana and Grafana Cloud offer a variety of visualizations to suit different use cases. See the Grafana documentation on visualization options for more information.
Related Grafana Cloud resources
How to set up and visualize synthetic monitoring at scale with Grafana Cloud
Learn how to use Kubernetes, Grafana Loki, and Grafana Cloud’s synthetic monitoring feature to set up your infrastructure's checks in this GrafanaCONline session.
Using Grafana Cloud to drive manufacturing plant efficiency
This GrafanaCONline session tells how Grafana helps a 75-year-old manufacturing company with product quality and equipment maintenance.