💻 Persisting Grafana

First Published: 2024-01-15

Grafana is a visualization frontend for many metrics based monitoring solutions like prometheus. Persisting its dashboards is far from trivial, so I thought I'd share how I'm doing it.

Prerequisites

docker-compose.yml

I'm using docker-compose, both on my server as well as for this article.
You should be able to extrapolate to your preferred infrastructure-as-code solution.

version: '3'

networks:
  default:
    internal: true
  proxy:
    internal: false

services:
  grafana:
    image: grafana/grafana:10.2.3
    networks:
      - default
      - proxy
    ports:
      - "3000:3000"
    volumes:
      - ./grafana.ini:/etc/grafana/grafana.ini
      - ./grafana-datasources.yml:/etc/grafana/provisioning/datasources/datasources.yml
      - ./grafana-dashboard.yml:/etc/grafana/provisioning/dashboards/dashboard.yml
      - ./grafana-dashboard.json:/etc/grafana/provisioning/dashboards/dashboard.json

  prometheus:
    image: prom/prometheus:v2.49.0
    volumes:
      - ./prometheus.yml:/etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml

  node-exporter:
    image: prom/node-exporter:v1.7.0
    command:
      - '--path.rootfs=/host'
      - '--path.procfs=/host/proc'
      - '--path.sysfs=/host/sys'
      - --collector.filesystem.ignored-mount-points
      - "^/(sys|proc|dev|host|etc|rootfs/var/lib/docker/containers|rootfs/var/lib/docker/overlay2|rootfs/run/docker/netns|rootfs/var/lib/docker/aufs)($$|/)"
    volumes:
      - /proc:/host/proc:ro
      - /sys:/host/sys:ro
      - /:/rootfs:ro
      - /:/host:ro,rslave

prometheus.yml

scrape_configs:
  - job_name: "node-exporter"
    static_configs:
      - targets: ["node-exporter:9100"]

The Global Config

Make sure to check the docker-compose file for where these files need to go.

grafana.ini

[server]
serve_from_sub_path = true
root_url = http://example.com/
#[auth]
#disable_login_form = true
[auth.anonymous]
enabled = true
org_role = Viewer
[dashboards]
default_home_dashboard_path = /etc/grafana/provisioning/dashboards/dashboard.json
[analytics]
enabled = false
check_for_updates = false

The server section is necessary to get Grafana to return, this doesn't matter on localhost.
I recommend terminating TLS on a reverse proxy in front of Grafana.
serve_from_sub_path is only necessary if you locate your dashboard on a subpath like example.com/grafana.
default_home_dashboard_path sets the default dashboard to display.
Also, since this is corporate software, you have to opt-out of update checks and analytics.

disable_login_form = true is a useful setting for when your dashboard is exposed to the public.
If it is, also add the [auth.anonymous] block. Otherwise you're locking yourself out of Grafana.
disable_login_form is commented out so we can edit the dashboard, but I recommend it for "production". The default Grafana login credentials are admin admin.

grafana-datasources.yml

The url will differ if you're not using my docker-compose setup.

apiVersion: 1
datasources:
  - name: Prometheus
    type: prometheus
    access: proxy
    url: http://prometheus:9090

grafana-dashboard.yml

apiVersion: 1
providers:
  - name: 'Node Load'
    options:
      path: /etc/grafana/provisioning/dashboards

Persisting a dashboard

Dashboards can be exported and imported as a large json blob.
In this example it lives in a dashboard.json, remember that you can set the default dashboard in the grafana.ini. You can browse your available dashboards from the Grafana web ui.

When you are done editing your dashboard, persist it back into a version controlled json file as follows:

¹I recommend adding a timestamp, as you can't have two dashboards of the same name.
Alternatively, you can find the dashboard name in your git diff and manually revert the name back.

What now?

You can browse public dashboards on Grafanas website.
You can also check out my vps setup
The code for this article is available here

If you run into any problems, feel free to reach out.


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