Grafana: Open-source data visualization platform

Grafana is an open-source solution for querying, visualizing, alerting, and exploring metrics, logs, and traces regardless of where they are stored.


Grafana provides tools to transform your time-series database (TSDB) data into meaningful graphs and visualizations. Additionally, its plugin framework lets you integrate various data sources, including NoSQL/SQL databases, ticketing tools such as Jira or ServiceNow, and CI/CD platforms like GitLab.

“Grafana was created to address the need for a user-friendly and interactive platform for visualizing time series metrics. Grafana’s founder, Torkel Ödegaard, initially started working on it as a side project in 2013 when he saw a gap in the open-source community: There was no flexible and customizable platform that could effectively display metrics and logs. The open-source project quickly went viral, and today, Grafana dashboards are ubiquitous, spotted everywhere from Wimbledon to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s successful 2024 moon landing. Over the years, Grafana has evolved into a robust observability platform with more than 20 million users worldwide,” Richard Hartmann, Director of Community at Grafana Labs, told Help Net Security.

Grafana features

One of the most unique differentiators is how Grafana approaches interoperability. The creators follow the “big tent” philosophy, prioritizing interoperability with direct competitors. This openness and inclusivity allow organizations to choose their tools and data sources while bringing all their data together in a unified view.

Grafana supports over 100 different data sources, allowing users to own their observability strategy and have the freedom to choose the tools that best suit their needs rather than being locked into a single vendor’s ecosystem.

Since the earliest days of the project and the company, Grafana has had a vibrant and active community that contributes to its development and enhancement.

“Over the past ten years, Grafana has expanded beyond simple visualizations. We created best-in-class databases for metrics (Mimir), logs (Loki), and traces (Tempo). We seamlessly integrate with other tools in the observability stack, such as Grafana IRM for incident management, Grafana Cloud Profiles for continuous profiling, and Grafana Cloud k6 for performance testing. These integrations allow users to build a comprehensive observability solution tailored to their specific needs while having a single pane of glass to manage it all,” Hartmann explained.

Future plans and download

“We’re exploring opportunities to integrate AI/ML in ways that are actually useful. We all see a lot of hype when it comes to AIOps. In our respectful and deliberate approach to ML, we’re focused on helping users reduce toil, make subject matter experts more impactful, and reduce noise. For example, features like our AI-assisted dashboard creation that suggests appropriate titles, descriptions, and change summaries for dashboards and panels and our LLM plugin that centralizes access to LLM services across the Grafana platform. Or with Sift, which searches for changes across all your data and shows you correlations, outliers, etc when you actively want us to. These new tools are click-only – no need for coding unless you choose to code,” Hartmann concluded.

Grafana is available for free on GitHub.

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