Using Google Stackdriver in Grafana

Grafana ships with built-in support for Google Stackdriver. Just add it as a datasource and you are ready to build dashboards for your Stackdriver metrics. It is only available in Grafana 5.3+. The datasource is currently a beta feature and is subject to change.

Adding the data source to Grafana

  1. Open the side menu by clicking the Grafana icon in the top header.
  2. In the side menu under the Dashboards link you should find a link named Data Sources.
  3. Click the + Add data source button in the top header.
  4. Select Stackdriver from the Type dropdown.
  5. Upload or paste in the Service Account Key file. See below for steps on how to create a Service Account Key file.

NOTE: If you’re not seeing the Data Sources link in your side menu it means that your current user does not have the Admin role for the current organization.

NameThe datasource name. This is how you refer to the datasource in panels & queries.
DefaultDefault datasource means that it will be pre-selected for new panels.
Service Account KeyService Account Key File for a GCP Project. Instructions below on how to create it.


Service Account Credentials - Private Key File

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

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

    Choose role

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

    Choose role

Metric Query Editor

Choose a metric from the Metric dropdown.

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


The aggregation field lets you combine time series based on common statistics. Read more about this option here.

The Aligner field allows you to align multiple time series after the same group by time interval. Read more about how it works here.

Alignment Period/Group by Time

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

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

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 graph panel. Read more about the details here.

It is also possible to choose fixed time intervals to group by, like 1h or 1d.

Group By

Group by resource or metric labels to reduce the number of time series and to aggregate the results by a group by. E.g. Group by instance_name to see an aggregated metric for a Compute instance.

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 PatternDescriptionExample Result
{{metric.type}}returns the full Metric
{{}}returns the metric name partinstance/cpu/utilization
{{metric.service}}returns the service partcompute

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 FormatDescriptionAlias Pattern ExampleExample Result
{{}}returns the metric label value{{metric.label.instance_name}}grafana-1-prod
{{}}returns the resource label value{{}}us-east1-b

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

Example Result: - server1-prod


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

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

Query Variable

Writing variable queries is not supported yet.

Using variables in queries

There are two syntaxes:

  • $<varname> Example: rate(http_requests_total{job=~“$job”}[5m])
  • [[varname]] Example: rate(http_requests_total{job=~”[[job]]“}[5m])

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 allows you to overlay rich event information on top of graphs. You add annotation queries via the Dashboard menu / Annotations view.

Configure the Datasource with Provisioning

It’s now possible to configure datasources using config files with Grafana’s provisioning system. You can read more about how it works and all the settings you can set for datasources on the provisioning docs page

Here is a provisioning example for this datasource.

apiVersion: 1

  - name: Stackdriver
    type: stackdriver
      privateKey: "<contents of your Service Account JWT Key file>"