Monitoring Your System with Graphite and a Grafana Dashboard
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What are Graphite and Grafana?
Graphite is an open-source monitoring tool for storing and viewing time series data. It does not collect data, but has a simple interface and integrates easily with third-party tools. Grafana allows you to connect to a Graphite installation (or other data source) and build dashboards to view and analyze the data.
This guide uses Docker Compose to run the official Grafana and Graphite containers and connect them to a user-defined network. This makes it easy to securely connect a Grafana dashboard to the Graphite database.
Why use Grafana over Graphite’s visualization?
Graphite has a built-in Composer for the user to view metrics visually and also offers a rich render API. That being said, Graphite’s built-in visualization is rudimentary, and the developers suggest Grafana for a “more modern UI,” that is “another great way to interact with Graphite data and it offers many more visualization types than the native Composer” (see the bottom of the page at https://graphiteapp.org/quick-start-guides/graphing-metrics.html).
Installing Graphite and Grafana
Both Docker and Docker Compose are necessary to complete this guide.
To install Docker CE (Community Edition), follow the instructions within one of the guides below:
For complete instructions on even more Linux distributions, reference the Install Docker Engine section of Docker’s official documentation.
Install Docker Compose
Docker Compose is available in plugin and standalone variants. However, Docker’s official documentation prioritizes the plugin. Further, the plugin has a straightforward installation and works well with past Docker Compose commands.
These steps thus show how to install the Docker Compose plugin. If you are interested in installing the standalone Docker Compose application, follow Docker’s official installation guide.
Many tutorials retain the Docker Compose standalone command format, which looks like the following:
Be sure to replace this with the plugin’s command format when using this installation method. This typically just means replacing the hyphen with a space, as in:
docker compose [command]
Enable the Docker repository for your system’s package manager. The repository is typically already enabled after you have installed the Docker engine. Follow our relevant guide on installing Docker to enable the repository on your system.
Update your package manager, and install the Docker Compose plugin.
- On Debian and Ubuntu systems, use the following commands:
sudo apt update sudo apt install docker-compose-plugin
- On CentOS, Fedora, and other RPM-based distributions, use the following commands:
sudo yum update sudo yum install docker-compose-plugin
Docker Compose Configuration for Graphite and Grafana
Create a directory:
mkdir ~/grafana && cd ~/grafana
In a text editor, create
docker-compose.ymland add the following content:
- File: docker-compose.yml
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
version: "3" services: grafana: image: grafana/grafana container_name: grafana restart: always ports: - 3000:3000 networks: - grafana-net volumes: - grafana-volume graphite: image: graphiteapp/graphite-statsd container_name: graphite restart: always networks: - grafana-net networks: grafana-net: volumes: grafana-volume: external: true
This Compose file uses the official Docker images for both Graphite and Grafana. It also specifies a network to connect the containers.
Since the data volume is external, create it manually:
docker volume create --name=grafana-volume
Bring up the configuration:
docker-compose up -d
Check that both containers started successfully:
CONTAINER ID IMAGE COMMAND CREATED STATUS PORTS NAMES 494e45f7ab56 grafana/grafana "/run.sh" 19 seconds ago Up 7 seconds 0.0.0.0:3000->3000/tcp grafana 49881363d811 graphiteapp/graphite-statsd "/sbin/my_init" 19 seconds ago Up 7 seconds 80/tcp, 2003-2004/tcp, 2023-2024/tcp, 8080/tcp, 8125-8126/tcp, 8125/udp graphite
Add a Data Source for Graphite and Create a Grafana Dashboard
In a browser, navigate to port
3000on the Linode’s FQDN or public IP address (
192.0.2.0:3000). The Grafana login page loads:
Log in using the default admin account (username and password are both
Click Create data source in the main dashboard and fill in the form as follows:
- Version: Select the newest available.
1.1.3in this example.
Click Save & Test.
Click New dashboard to create and customize a new panel:
To import a sample Dashboard, try the Internal Grafana Stats.
- Click New dashboard at the top, then Import dashboard.
55into the Grafana.com Dashboard box, and click Load.
- Select Graphite in the data source dropdown, and click Import.
Click the floppy disk icon or press CTRL+S to save.
Click Add users to access the user management configuration tab.
Hover over the user icon in the lower-left corner of the sidebar and click Preferences to open a menu where you can replace the default admin username and password with something more secure:
Graphite does not collect data by itself. See the Graphite documentation for a list of third-party tools to add data for visualization. A larger, distributed deployment of Graphite may not be suitable for the containerized approach taken in this guide. If this is your use case, see their documentation on installing Graphite from scratch.
You may wish to consult the following resources for additional information on this topic. While these are provided in the hope that they will be useful, please note that we cannot vouch for the accuracy or timeliness of externally hosted materials.
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