New Features in Amazon Managed Grafana

The latest in Grafana updates

During late August 2021, AWS made Amazon Managed Grafana generally available. At re:Invent, they launched some new features, specifically for new plugins. This AWS insight provides you with the high-level overview and what to expect.

Amazon Managed Grafana is a fully managed service that handles the provisioning, setup, scaling and maintenance of Grafana servers. It is generally available in US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), Europe (Ireland), Europe (Frankfurt), Europe (London), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), Asia Pacific (Sydney) and Asia Pacific (Seoul).

At re:Invent 2021, AWS upgraded the Amazon Managed Grafana data plane to use Grafana 8.2 (from 8.0) as well as making it support CloudFlare, Zabbix and other monitoring data sources. They worked with Grafana Labs to make a series of plugins available as open source (more later on in this post) for self-managed Grafana.

Grafana Geomap visualisation showing a map of Las Vegas with restaurant locations plotted.

Geomap Visualisations

You can now use the Geomap panel visualisation to visualise geospatial data in a map view. You can configure multiple overlay styles to visually represent important location-based characteristics of your data, such as the heatmap overlay to cluster data points for visualising hotspot locations with high data densities.

The example above shows the OpenStreetMap on AWS open data set (OSM) in action, using the Geomap panel that’s readily available on the left-hand side drop down within the Amazon Managed Grafana workspace.

Using Amazon Athena & S3 Data Sources

Amazon Athena is a distributed query engine (think: PrestoDB as a service) that lets you query a range of structured data formats (including JSON, CSV, ORC and Parquet) using SQL, with the data stored in Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) buckets. This means that for a number of non-relational datasets, from security (VPC flow logs) to budgeting (Cost and Usage Report (CUR)) to the previously mentioned OpenStreetMap geo data, you can now use Grafana to query and visualise your data.

The default dashboard that AWS have bundled with the Athena data source is for the CUR data (and it looks like this):

AWS Cost and Usage Report dashboard in Grafana.

Full Integration with Amazon Redshift and Cloudwatch

What we find exciting with these Grafana updates is the ability to fully embed Amazon Redshift and Cloudwatch features into the Managed Grafana dashboards. This leads to exceptional data intelligence overviews and dashboards, using the very latest in cloud tools provided by AWS.

Amazon Redshift is a fully managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse service in the cloud (which now is also serverless). This data source now lets you perform analytical SQL queries against all of your Redshift clusters.

Amazon CloudWatch announced the preview availability CloudWatch Metrics Insights, a powerful high-performance SQL query engine that you can use to query your metrics at scale. Using the updated CloudWatch datasource plugin, you can query CloudWatch Metrics using SQL.

These collaborative tools lead to high level performance monitoring capabilities like the screenshot below:

Grafana visualization showing the performance monitoring dashboard of a Redshift cluster.

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