Create a Grafana dashboard for Rackspace Metrics

  • Last updated on: 2016-12-13
  • Authored by: Constanze Kratel

Rackspace Metrics lets you build a Grafana dashboard to visualize your metrics. Instead of using a stand-alone Graphite back end, you can point your Grafana instance to the Rackspace Metrics service. You can complete all these steps directly from the Cloud Control Panel by importing a custom template and then creating a stack from this template.

This article describes how to deploy a Grafana instance for Rackspace Metrics by using a custom Cloud Orchestration template. It also provides instructions on how to upload a Grafana dashboard for a database instance.

If you would prefer to deploy Grafana without the custom Cloud Orchestration template or upgrade your existing Grafana instance, see the project wiki page: https://github.com/rackerlabs/blueflood/wiki/Grafana-3.0-with-Blueflood-datasource.

Deploy the Grafana instance for Rackspace Metrics

To create a Grafana dashboard, complete the following steps:

  1. Log in to the Rackspace Cloud Control Panel with your user name and password.
  2. In the Servers section, click Create Stack.
  3. Click Create Custom Template.
  4. Go to https://bitly.com/heat-grafana, and copy the content on the page. This is the template that you will use to create your stack.
  5. Go back to the Cloud Control Panel.
  6. On the Create Custom Template page, perform the following steps: a. Enter a name for the template. b. Paste the template content that you just copied c. Click Validate Syntax at the bottom of the page. After the template has been successfully validated, an It works! message is displayed beside the button.

  7. Click Create Template. Your template is created, which might take a few minutes. After the template is complete, a details page displays that shows information about your custom template, including a description.

  8. From the Actions menu, choose Create Stack from Template.
  9. On the Create Stack page, enter a name for the stack and then enter values for the following fields under Server Settings. Use the values for your Rackspace account, and overwrite the “not valid” values that are populated by default.
    • API key
    • username
    • tenant ID (your account number)
  10. Click Create Stack. The stack details page is displayed. While the stack is being built, the Status is Building.

When the stack has finished building, the Status field changes to Up. The page also displays an IP address, a Grafana auth password, and a Grafana auth username that you can use to access your Grafana dashboard. Be sure to record this information.

Use the Grafana dashboard

Now that you have created your stack, you can access the Grafana dashboard that contains all the relevant information for your stack.

To access the Grafana dashboard, perform the following steps:

  1. Open a web browser.

  2. Type the IP address in the address bar.

    You are prompted with an authentication page.

  3. Type the username and password that were displayed after you created the stack and click Log In.

  4. Create your Grafana dashboard from Rackspace Monitoring data by pasting the JSON code found in this orchestration template.

Note that all of the metrics submitted by Rackspace Monitoring are displayed in the following format:

rackspace.monitoring.entities.<entityid>.checks.<checktype>.<checkid>.<metricname>

As seen in the preceding example, Rackspace Monitoring generates entity IDs and check IDs to guarantee the uniqueness of the metrics. You can use the entity IDs and check IDs to identify the format of the metric you want to see.

You can locate the entity ID and check ID on the Rackspace Intelligence Monitoring Details and Check Details pages.

For more information, see Getting Started with Rackspace Intelligence for the cloud, Monitoring entities with Rackspace Intelligence, and Working with checks.

The following screenshot shows where you can locate the entity ID on the Monitoring Details page.

You can also locate the monitoring and check IDs by looking at the Rackspace Intelligence URL for a particular check. Following is an example of such a URL:

https://intelligence.rackspace.com/cloud/entities/enrmO7n1hX/checks/ch6fvLIaMC

The entity ID directly follows the entities parameter. Entity IDs always start with the letters en. The check ID directly follows the checks parameter. Check IDs always start with the letters ch.

Upload a Grafana dashboard for database instances

Rackspace has created a Grafana dashboard to help you set up your Cloud Databases MySQL instances.

To upload a Grafana dashboard that shows your MySQL instances, complete the following steps:

  1. Download the Grafana dashboard JSON file from http://bit.ly/mysql-grafana.
  2. Modify the JSON to match your instance by replacing all the instances of \_rax\_entity\_id\_ in the file with the entity ID of your database instance.

  3. On the Grafana dashboard, click the folder icon in the top-right corner, click Import, click Choose File, and then upload the file to Grafana.

    The dashboard automatically appears and displays your MySQL database instances.

(Optional) Use Annotation

With annotation support, users can submit change event to show along with the graph, adding additional information for the graph on the dashboard. See Use annotation metrics for additional information.

Grafana FAQ

How much does Grafana cost?

You pay only for the cost of the server that you create. Everything else is no cost.

Grafana is an open-source metrics dashboard and graph editor. There is no cost to the software itself. You can choose to deploy it anywhere and you are responsible only for maintaining and paying for the server it runs on.

We want you to have access to your metrics so you can make informed decisions about your infrastructure. Our monitoring service is no cost, and so are the metrics that we store.

Should I use Rackspace Intelligence or Grafana?

Rackspace Intelligence is another no-cost option that we provide to help you make your infrastructure choices. It is designed to answer the most obvious questions that anyone asks about their servers. Although it covers many use cases and has a certain amount of customization, if you want total customizability, you can use Grafana as an alternative.

As an additional comparison, Rackspace Intelligence does more than just graphs; it is a control panel that enables you to manage your Rackspace Monitoring configuration. Although Grafana might give you total control over your graphs, Rackspace Intelligence gives you total control to create, delete, and edit your monitoring configuration.

Rackspace Intelligence and Grafana are using the same metrics stored in the Rackspace Metrics service. This means that you can try both and choose the one that works well for you. For more information, see Getting started with Rackspace Intelligence for the cloud.

Continue the conversation in the Rackspace Community.