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Grafana Cloud Enterprise Open source

State timeline

A state timeline visualization displays data in a way that shows state changes over time. In a state timeline, the data is presented as a series of bars or bands called state regions. State regions can be rendered with or without values, and the region length indicates the duration or frequency of a state within a given time range.

For example, if you’re monitoring the CPU usage of a server, you can use a state timeline to visualize the different states, such as “LOW,” “NORMAL,” “HIGH,” or “CRITICAL,” over time. Each state is represented by a different color and the lengths represent the duration of time that the server remained in that state:

A state timeline visualization showing CPU usage

The state timeline visualization is useful when you need to monitor and analyze changes in states or statuses of various entities over time. You can use one when you need to:

  • Monitor the status of a server, application, or service to know when your infrastructure is experiencing issues over time.
  • Identify operational trends over time.
  • Spot any recurring issues with the health of your applications.

Configure a state timeline

Give it a try using Grafana Play

With Grafana Play, you can explore and see how it works, learning from practical examples to accelerate your development. This feature can be seen on Grafana State Timeline & Status History.

Supported data formats

The state timeline visualization works best if you have data capturing the various states of entities over time, formatted as a table. The data must include:

  • Timestamps - Indicate when each state change occurred. This could also be the start time for the state change. You can also add an optional timestamp to indicate the end time for the state change.
  • Entity name/identifier - Represents the name of the entity you’re trying to monitor.
  • State value - Represents the state value of the entity you’re monitoring. These can be string, numerical, or boolean states.

Each state ends when the next state begins or when there is a null value.

Examples

The following tables are examples of the type of data you need for a state timeline visualization and how it should be formatted.

Single time column with null values

TimestampsServer AServer B
2024-02-29 8:00:00UpUp
2024-02-29 8:15:00nullUp
2024-02-29 8:30:00Downnull
2024-02-29 8:45:00Up
2024-02-29 9:00:00Up
2024-02-29 9:15:00UpDown
2024-02-29 9:30:00UpDown
2024-02-29 10:00:00DownDown
2024-02-29 10:30:00WarningDown

The data is converted as follows, with the null and empty values visualized as gaps in the state timeline:

A state timeline visualization with null values showing the status of two servers

Two time columns without null values

Start timeEnd timeServer AServer B
2024-02-29 8:00:002024-02-29 8:15:00UpUp
2024-02-29 8:15:002024-02-29 8:30:00UpUp
2024-02-29 8:45:002024-02-29 9:00:00DownUp
2024-02-29 9:00:002024-02-29 9:15:00DownUp
2024-02-29 9:30:002024-02-29 10:00:00DownDown
2024-02-29 10:00:002024-02-29 10:30:00WarningDown

The data is converted as follows:

A state timeline visualization with two time columns showing the status of two servers

If your query results aren’t in a table format like the preceding examples, especially for time-series data, you can apply specific transformations to achieve this.

State timeline options

Use these options to refine the visualization.

Merge equal consecutive values

Controls whether Grafana merges identical values if they are next to each other.

Show values

Controls whether values are rendered inside the state regions. Auto will render values if there is sufficient space.

Align values

Controls value alignment inside state regions.

Row height

Controls how much space between rows there are. 1 = no space = 0.5 = 50% space.

Line width

Controls line width of state regions.

Fill opacity

Controls the opacity of state regions.

Connect null values

Choose how null values, which are gaps in the data, appear on the graph. Null values can be connected to form a continuous line or set to a threshold above which gaps in the data are no longer connected.

Connect null values option

  • Never: Time series data points with gaps in the data are never connected.
  • Always: Time series data points with gaps in the data are always connected.
  • Threshold: Specify a threshold above which gaps in the data are no longer connected. This can be useful when the connected gaps in the data are of a known size and/or within a known range, and gaps outside this range should no longer be connected.

Disconnect values

Choose whether to set a threshold above which values in the data should be disconnected.

Disconnect values options
  • Never: Time series data points in the data are never disconnected.
  • Threshold: Specify a threshold above which values in the data are disconnected. This can be useful when desired values in the data are of a known size and/or within a known range, and values outside this range should no longer be connected.

Value mappings

To assign colors to boolean or string values, you can use Value mappings.

Value mappings side editor
Value mappings side editor

Time series data with thresholds

The visualization can be used with time series data as well. In this case, the thresholds are used to turn the time series into discrete colored state regions.

state timeline with time series
state timeline with time series

Legend options

When the legend option is enabled it can show either the value mappings or the threshold brackets. To show the value mappings in the legend, it’s important that the Color scheme as referenced in Color scheme is set to Single color or Classic palette. To see the threshold brackets in the legend set the Color scheme to From thresholds.

Legend mode

Use these settings to define how the legend appears in your visualization. For more information about the legend, refer to Configure a legend.

  • List - Displays the legend as a list. This is a default display mode of the legend.
  • Table - Displays the legend as a table.
  • Hidden - Hides the legend.

Legend placement

Choose where to display the legend.

  • Bottom - Below the graph.
  • Right - To the right of the graph.

Legend values

Choose which of the standard calculations to show in the legend. You can have more than one.