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InfoQ Homepage News New Grafana Releases Tighten Integration between Metrics and Tracing

New Grafana Releases Tighten Integration between Metrics and Tracing

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Grafana Labs have recently released two new minor versions of their multi-platform open source analytics and interactive visualization web application. The release of version 9.1 back in August was followed by 9.2 this week. These two new versions bring a variety of improvements on their major milestone 9.0 release which we reported on earlier this year, and tightens the integration between metrics and tracing.

Tracing

Grafana's distributed tracing product Tempo has new beta functionality. Firstly, metrics queries can now be linked to traces, which lets users quickly see relevant metric trends in user journey traces and spans. Secondly, Application Performance Management (APM) data from Tempo is now available in Grafana itself - in the form of a table showing RED (rate, errors, duration) Metrics, allowing closer correlation between tracing and metrics data.

Visualisations

In response to many support requests needing lots of "back and forth" from admins concerning problems with building panels, there is a new "get help" option available. This is a response to delays in responding to problems, cause by the support team not initially receiving enough information to properly debug a problem. The new option collects a snapshot of configuration and data to send to the support team - helping the team to diagnose and solve problems faster.

In an alpha preview, it's now possible to make public dashboards, with users able to share specific dashboards to anyone - in a read-only view and with just the dashboard's default time range - without authentication. And it's now possible to use SQL-style inner and outer joins to transform data collected from external sources before displaying it in a visualisation.

Loki

Version 9.0 came with a new query editor for Loki - Grafana's log aggregation system - and this has been built upon to provide dropdowns to select variables in the query variable editor. This simplifies the process of creating and editing variables used in log queries.

Authentication and Authorisation

Grafana's Terraform provider has been improved. This allows admins to assign roles to users and teams using a "role_assignment" resource in Terraform.  This allows admins to deploy Grafana in a repeatable and versionable way using configuration-as-code. For those admins using the UI for assigning roles - there is also a new picker in the user interface to make it easier to create teams and assign permissions. A further improvements allows admins to group roles together, helping to reduce admin overhead.

It's now possible to embed Grafana URLs in other applications by adding a JWT token to the URL. This causes Grafana to validate and authenticate the request as a specific user and seamlessly display the dashboard.

In the enterprise versions, further OAuth improvements allow admins using many OAuth providers for SSO to map the groups and roles from that provider onto Grafana admin roles, easing the configuration of privileged users in Grafana. Also, role-based access control (RBAC) is now possible for Grafana plugins, integrations and solutions.

Also containing improvements to the UI for Google Cloud Monitoring, and many other improvements and fixes, Grafana 9.2 is available now.

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