Data sourcesGoogle Cloud Monitoring

Using Google Cloud Monitoring in Grafana

Grafana ships with built-in support for Google Cloud Monitoring. Add it as a data source to build dashboards for your Google Cloud Monitoring metrics. For instructions on how to add a data source, refer to Add a data source. Only users with the organization admin role can add data sources.

Note Before Grafana v7.1, Google Cloud Monitoring was referred to as Google Stackdriver.

Google Cloud Monitoring settings

To access Google Cloud Monitoring settings, hover your mouse over the Configuration (gear) icon, then click Data Sources, and then click the Google Cloud Monitoring data source.

Name Description
Name The data source name. This is how you refer to the data source in panels and queries.
Default Default data source means that it is pre-selected for new panels.
Service Account Key Upload or paste in the Service Account Key file for a GCP Project. For more information, refer to Using a Google Service Account Key File.

Authentication

There are two ways to authenticate the Google Cloud Monitoring plugin - either by uploading a Google JWT file, or by automatically retrieving credentials from Google metadata server. The latter option is only available when running Grafana on GCE virtual machine.

Using a Google Service Account Key File

To authenticate with the Google Cloud Monitoring API, you need to create a Google Cloud Platform (GCP) Service Account for the Project you want to show data for. A Grafana data source integrates with one GCP Project. If you want to visualize data from multiple GCP Projects then you need to create one data source per GCP Project.

Enable APIs

The following APIs need to be enabled first:

Click on the links above and click the Enable button:

Enable GCP APIs

Create a GCP Service Account for a Project

  1. Navigate to the APIs and Services Credentials page.

  2. Click on the Create credentials dropdown/button and choose the Service account key option.

    Create service account button
  3. On the Create service account key page, choose key type JSON. Then in the Service Account dropdown, choose the New service account option:

    Create service account key
  4. Some new fields will appear. Fill in a name for the service account in the Service account name field and then choose the Monitoring Viewer role from the Role dropdown:

    Choose role
  5. Click the Create button. A JSON key file will be created and downloaded to your computer. Store this file in a secure place as it allows access to your Google Cloud Monitoring data.

  6. Upload it to Grafana on the data source Configuration page. You can either upload the file or paste in the contents of the file.

    Upload service key file to Grafana
  7. The file contents will be encrypted and saved in the Grafana database. Don’t forget to save after uploading the file!

    Service key file is uploaded to Grafana

Using GCE Default Service Account

If Grafana is running on a Google Compute Engine (GCE) virtual machine, it is possible for Grafana to automatically retrieve default credentials from the metadata server. This has the advantage of not needing to generate a private key file for the service account and also not having to upload the file to Grafana. However for this to work, there are a few preconditions that need to be met.

  1. First of all, you need to create a Service Account that can be used by the GCE virtual machine. For more information, refer to Create new service account.
  2. Make sure the GCE virtual machine instance is being run as the service account that you just created. For more information, refer to using service account for instance.
  3. Allow access to the Cloud Monitoring API scope.

For more information about creating and enabling service accounts for GCE VM instances, refer to enable service accounts for instances.

Using the Query Editor

The Google Cloud Monitoring query editor allows you to build two types of queries - Metric and Service Level Objective (SLO). Both types return time series data.

Metric Queries

The metric query editor allows you to select metrics, group/aggregate by labels and by time, and use filters to specify which time series you want in the results.

To create a metric query, follow these steps:

  1. Choose the option Metrics in the Query Type dropdown
  2. Choose a project from the Project dropdown
  3. Choose a Google Cloud Platform service from the Service dropdown
  4. Choose a metric from the Metric dropdown.
  5. Use the plus and minus icons in the filter and group by sections to add/remove filters or group by clauses. This step is optional.

Google Cloud Monitoring supports different kinds of metrics like GAUGE, DELTA, and CUMULATIVE. They support different aggregation options, for example, reducers and aligners. The Grafana query editor displays the list of available aggregation methods for a selected metric and sets a default reducer and aligner when you select the metric.

Filter

To add a filter, click the plus icon and choose a field to filter by and enter a filter value e.g. instance_name = grafana-1. You can remove the filter by clicking on the trash icon.

Simple wildcards

When the operator is set to = or != it is possible to add wildcards to the filter value field. E.g us-* will capture all values that starts with “us-” and *central-a will capture all values that ends with “central-a”. *-central-* captures all values that has the substring of -central-. Simple wildcards are less expensive than regular expressions.

Regular expressions

When the operator is set to =~ or !=~ it is possible to add regular expressions to the filter value field. E.g us-central[1-3]-[af] would match all values that starts with “us-central”, is followed by a number in the range of 1 to 3, a dash and then either an “a” or an “f”. Leading and trailing slashes are not needed when creating regular expressions.

Pre-processing

Preprocessing options are displayed in the UI when the selected metric has a metric kind of delta or cumulative. If the selected metric has a metric kind of gauge, no pre-processing option will be displayed.

If you select Rate, data points are aligned and converted to a rate per time series. If you select Delta, data points are aligned by their delta (difference) per time series.

Grouping

You can reduce the amount of data returned for a metric by combining different time series. To combine multiple time series, specify a grouping and a function.

Group by

Group by resource or metric labels to reduce the number of time series and to aggregate the results by a group. For example, group by instance_name to view an aggregated metric for a Compute instance.

Metadata labels

Resource metadata labels contain information that can uniquely identify a resource in Google Cloud. Metadata labels are only returned in the time series response if they’re part of the Group By segment in the time series request.

There’s no API for retrieving metadata labels. As a result, you cannot populate the group by list with the metadata labels that are available for the selected service and metric. However, the Group By field list comes with a pre-defined set of common system labels.

User labels cannot be predefined, but you can enter them manually in the Group By field. If a metadata label, user label, or system label is included in the Group By segment, then you can create filters based on it and expand its value on the Alias field.

Group by function

Select a grouping function to combine the time series in the group into a single time series.

Alignment

The process of alignment consists of collecting all data points received in a fixed length of time, applying a function to combine those data points, and assigning a timestamp to the result.

Alignment function

During alignment, all data points are received in a fixed interval. Within each interval (determined by the alignment period) and for each time series, the data is aggregated into a single point. The value of that point is determined by the type of alignment function used. For more information on alignment functions, refer to alignment metric selector.

Alignment period

The Alignment Period groups a metric by time if an aggregation is chosen. The default is to use the GCP Google Cloud Monitoring default groupings (which allows you to compare graphs in Grafana with graphs in the Google Cloud Monitoring UI). The option is called cloud monitoring auto and the defaults are:

  • 1m for time ranges < 23 hours
  • 5m for time ranges >= 23 hours and < 6 days
  • 1h for time ranges >= 6 days

The other automatic option is grafana auto. This will automatically set the group by time depending on the time range chosen and the width of the time series panel. For more information about grafana auto, refer to the interval variable.

You can also choose fixed time intervals to group by, like 1h or 1d.

Alias patterns

The Alias By field allows you to control the format of the legend keys. The default is to show the metric name and labels. This can be long and hard to read. Using the following patterns in the alias field, you can format the legend key the way you want it.

Metric type patterns

Alias Pattern Description Example Result
{{metric.type}} returns the full Metric Type compute.googleapis.com/instance/cpu/utilization
{{metric.name}} returns the metric name part instance/cpu/utilization
{{metric.service}} returns the service part compute

Label patterns

In the Group By dropdown, you can see a list of metric and resource labels for a metric. These can be included in the legend key using alias patterns.

Alias Pattern Format Description Alias Pattern Example Example Result
{{metric.label.xxx}} returns the metric label value {{metric.label.instance_name}} grafana-1-prod
{{resource.label.xxx}} returns the resource label value {{resource.label.zone}} us-east1-b
{{metadata.system_labels.xxx}} returns the meta data system label value {{metadata.system_labels.name}} grafana
{{metadata.user_labels.xxx}} returns the meta data user label value {{metadata.user_labels.tag}} production

Example Alias By: {{metric.type}} - {{metric.label.instance_name}}

Example Result: compute.googleapis.com/instance/cpu/usage_time - server1-prod

It is also possible to resolve the name of the Monitored Resource Type.

Alias Pattern Format Description Example Result
{{resource.type}} returns the name of the monitored resource type gce_instance

Example Alias By: {{resource.type}} - {{metric.type}}

Example Result: gce_instance - compute.googleapis.com/instance/cpu/usage_time

Deep linking from Grafana panels to the Metrics Explorer in Google Cloud Console

Note: Available in Grafana v7.1 and later versions.

Google Cloud Monitoring deep linking

Click on a time series in the panel to see a context menu with a link to View in Metrics Explorer in Google Cloud Console. Clicking that link opens the Metrics Explorer in the Google Cloud Console and runs the query from the Grafana panel there. The link navigates the user first to the Google Account Chooser and after successfully selecting an account, the user is redirected to the Metrics Explorer. The provided link is valid for any account, but it only displays the query if your account has access to the GCP project specified in the query.

Automatic unit detection

Grafana issues one query to the Cloud Monitoring API per query editor row, and each API response includes a unit. Grafana will attempt to convert the returned unit into a unit that is understood by the Grafana time series panel. If the conversion was successful, then the unit will be displayed on the Y-axis on the panel. If the query editor rows returned different units, then the unit from the last query editor row is used in the time series panel.

SLO (Service Level Objective) queries

Note: Available in Grafana v7.0 and later versions.

The SLO query builder in the Google Cloud Monitoring data source allows you to display SLO data in time series format. To get an understanding of the basic concepts in service monitoring, please refer to Google Cloud Monitoring’s official docs.

How to create an SLO query

To create an SLO query, follow these steps:

  1. Choose the option Service Level Objectives (SLO) in the Query Type dropdown.
  2. Choose a project from the Project dropdown.
  3. Choose an SLO service from the Service dropdown.
  4. Choose an SLO from the SLO dropdown.
  5. Choose a time series selector from the Selector dropdown.

The friendly names for the time series selectors are shown in Grafana. Here is the mapping from the friendly name to the system name that is used in the Service Monitoring documentation:

Selector dropdown value Corresponding time series selector used
SLI Value select_slo_health
SLO Compliance select_slo_compliance
SLO Error Budget Remaining select_slo_budget_fraction

Alias patterns for SLO queries

The Alias By field allows you to control the format of the legend keys for SLO queries too.

Alias Pattern Description Example Result
{{project}} returns the GCP project name myProject
{{service}} returns the service name myService
{{slo}} returns the SLO latency-slo
{{selector}} returns the selector select_slo_health

Alignment period/group by time for SLO queries

SLO queries use the same alignment period functionality as metric queries.

MQL (Monitoring Query Language) queries

Note: Available in Grafana v7.4 and later versions.

The MQL query builder in the Google Cloud Monitoring data source allows you to display MQL results in time series format. To get an understanding of the basic concepts in MQL, refer to Introduction to Monitoring Query Language.

Create an MQL query

To create an MQL query, follow these steps:

  1. In the Query Type list, select Metrics.
  2. Click <> Edit MQL right next to the Query Type field. This will toggle the metric query builder mode so that raw MQL queries can be used.
  3. Choose a project from the Project list.
  4. Add the MQL query of your choice in the text area.

Alias patterns for MQL queries

MQL queries use the same alias patterns as metric queries.

{{metric.service}} is not supported. {{metric.type}} and {{metric.name}} show the time series key in the response.

Templating

Instead of hard-coding things like server, application and sensor name in your metric queries you can use variables in their place. Variables are shown as dropdown select boxes at the top of the dashboard. These dropdowns make it easy to change the data being displayed in your dashboard.

Check out the Templating documentation for an introduction to the templating feature and the different types of template variables.

Query Variable

Variable of the type Query allows you to query Google Cloud Monitoring for various types of data. The Google Cloud Monitoring data source plugin provides the following Query Types.

Name Description
Metric Types Returns a list of metric type names that are available for the specified service.
Labels Keys Returns a list of keys for metric label and resource label in the specified metric.
Labels Values Returns a list of values for the label in the specified metric.
Resource Types Returns a list of resource types for the specified metric.
Aggregations Returns a list of aggregations (cross series reducers) for the specified metric.
Aligners Returns a list of aligners (per series aligners) for the specified metric.
Alignment periods Returns a list of all alignment periods that are available in Google Cloud Monitoring query editor in Grafana
Selectors Returns a list of selectors that can be used in SLO (Service Level Objectives) queries
SLO Services Returns a list of Service Monitoring services that can be used in SLO queries
Service Level Objectives (SLO) Returns a list of SLO’s for the specified SLO service

Using variables in queries

There are two syntaxes:

  • $<varname> Example: metric.label.$metric_label
  • [[varname]] Example: metric.label.[[metric_label]]

Why two ways? The first syntax is easier to read and write but does not allow you to use a variable in the middle of a word. When the Multi-value or Include all value options are enabled, Grafana converts the labels from plain text to a regex compatible string, which means you have to use =~ instead of =.

Annotations

Annotations allow you to overlay rich event information on top of graphs. You add annotation queries via the Dashboard menu / Annotations view. Annotation rendering is expensive so it is important to limit the number of rows returned. There is no support for showing Google Cloud Monitoring annotations and events yet but it works well with custom metrics in Google Cloud Monitoring.

With the query editor for annotations, you can select a metric and filters. The Title and Text fields support templating and can use data returned from the query. For example, the Title field could have the following text:

{{metric.type}} has value: {{metric.value}}

Example Result: monitoring.googleapis.com/uptime_check/http_status has this value: 502

Patterns for the Annotation Query Editor

Alias Pattern Format Description Alias Pattern Example Example Result
{{metric.value}} value of the metric/point {{metric.value}} 555
{{metric.type}} returns the full Metric Type {{metric.type}} compute.googleapis.com/instance/cpu/utilization
{{metric.name}} returns the metric name part {{metric.name}} instance/cpu/utilization
{{metric.service}} returns the service part {{metric.service}} compute
{{metric.label.xxx}} returns the metric label value {{metric.label.instance_name}} grafana-1-prod
{{resource.label.xxx}} returns the resource label value {{resource.label.zone}} us-east1-b

Configure the data source with provisioning

You can configure data sources using config files with Grafana’s provisioning system. Read more about how it works and all the settings you can set for data sources on the provisioning docs page

Here is a provisioning example using the JWT (Service Account key file) authentication type.

apiVersion: 1

datasources:
  - name: Google Cloud Monitoring
    type: stackdriver
    access: proxy
    jsonData:
      tokenUri: https://oauth2.googleapis.com/token
      clientEmail: stackdriver@myproject.iam.gserviceaccount.com
      authenticationType: jwt
      defaultProject: my-project-name
    secureJsonData:
      privateKey: |
        -----BEGIN PRIVATE KEY-----
        POSEvQIBADANBgkqhkiG9w0BAQEFAASCBKcwggSjAgEAAoIBAQCb1u1Srw8ICYHS
        ...
        yA+23427282348234=
        -----END PRIVATE KEY-----

Here is a provisioning example using GCE Default Service Account authentication.

apiVersion: 1

datasources:
  - name: Google Cloud Monitoring
    type: stackdriver
    access: proxy
    jsonData:
      authenticationType: gce