Grafana: Connecting to an ElasticSearch datasource

The ElasticSearch stack (ELK) is popular open-source solution that serves as both repository and search interface for a wide range of applications including: log aggregation and analysis, analytics store, search engine, and document processing.

Its standard web front-end, Kibana, is a great product for data exploration and dashboards.  However, if you have multiple data sources including ElasticSearch, want built-in LDAP authentication, or the ability to annotate graphs, you may want to consider Grafana to surface your dashboards and visualizations.

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Grafana: Connecting to a Zabbix datasource

Zabbix is an open-source monitoring solution that provides metrics collection, dynamic indexes, alerting, dashboards, and an API for external integration.  But graphing is arguably one Zabbix’s weak points; it still builds static images while other enterprise and consumer applications have set end users’ expectations for graph visualization and interactivity very high.

Luckily, the Zabbix plugin for Grafana can put a facelift on the valuable data stored in Zabbix.  With this new data source, your end users can get the beautiful dashboard view they expect from a modern application.

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Grafana: Installation on Ubuntu 14.04

Grafana is an open-source visualization suite that is able to generate graphs and dashboards, in addition to alerting.

It is designed to retrieve data from various backends including: Graphite, ElasticSearch, Prometheus, and Zabbix.

This article will lead you through an installation of the latest stable version on Ubuntu 14.04.

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Zabbix: Enabling API fetch of Trend data in Zabbix2

Until Zabbix3, trend data was not available via the Zabbix API.  This meant that you could retrieve the  raw values of a key over time, but not the aggregated historical trends of that value (e.g. CPU average over 5 minute intervals).

The only way to monitor trends was to look at the visual graph generated by Zabbix or query the underlying database directly.  Meanwhile, graphs are arguably one of Zabbix’s weak points, especially given newer solutions like Grafana.

This was a major oversight in Zabbix2 functionality, and led to community patches that enabled this functionality in Zabbix 2.x.  With this trend data now exposed, the community was free to write custom alerting, graphing, and capacity planning tools.  For example, the Zabbix plugin for Grafana relies on this patch when the data source is Zabbix 2.x.

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