This section reviews the GroundWork GrafBridge feature.
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1.0 About GrafBridge
GroundWork has added GrafBridge, a new feature in GroundWork Monitor Enterprise 7.2.0. GrafBridge is an integration of several open source components allowing users to take advantage of the advanced features of Grafana, along with other capable packages we have added to enhance the collection and storage of performance metrics, the graphing of these metrics, and their presentation in dashboards.
Having GrafBridge in GroundWork Monitor gets you better graphs and dashboards. The RRD-based graphs we have supplied up till now have been useful and easy to manage, but they have disadvantages as well, including the inherent data summarization that all RRDs commonly enforce. With GrafBridge, performance data is stored in InfluxDB, which saves every point it receives, until it is aged off after 13 months (or optionally longer). No summarization of data occurs.
RRD is also significantly slower to render graphs in GroundWork Monitor, due to the server-side generation of a bitmap image for each updated graph. Grafana uses client-side rendering, and is far less impactful on the GroundWork server for the same kind of operation. This improves the server’s speed and scalability, especially when generating and displaying a lot of graphs. Of course, the transition from RRD is seamless, and the RRD data can be optionally imported into InfluxDB.
The inclusion of the InfluxDB time-series data store also allows GroundWork customers to use other open source agent and analysis packages, including components of the TICK stack to set up data transfers and graphing for in-depth analysis and monitoring. These additional packages take advantage of the APIs for performance data that are inherent in the InfluxDB project, an open source time series database.
In addition, GrafBridge includes the GroundWork data source, making it easy to select the individual hostgroups, servicegroups, hosts, and services that you want to graph on your dashboards. The dashboards themselves can contain not only graphs but histograms, heat maps and other representations. They can be templated, imported and exported between GroundWork servers with the grafbridge-control utility, and even generated automatically from GroundWork profiles.
2.0 InfluxDB Integration
InfluxDB is an open source time series database intended to replace RRD’s in GroundWork Monitor. It is used in GroundWork Monitor to store metrics data produced by GroundWork services. This data is also known as performance data in GroundWork Monitor.
3.0 Grafana Integration
Grafana is a dashboard builder for visualizing time series data. It is used in GroundWork Monitor for building dashboards that visualize GroundWork service performance data.
The Grafana dashboard builder is located in GroundWork Monitor 7.2.0 under Dashboards > Grafana. Also, Grafana graphs are used to replace RRD graphs in Status viewer. Retention of RRD graphs is an option and RRD data can be migrated into InfluxDB, see How to import RRDs into InfluxDB.
Grafana GroundWork Data Source
The Grafana integration comes with a Grafana GroundWork data source that provides a way to query GroundWork performance data using GroundWork host and service groups, hosts and services. This data source is configured to be the default at installation time.
4.0 Command Line Utility
A command line utility called grafbridge-control is included to help with configuring GrafBridge. This utility is used by the GroundWork installer for fresh and upgrade installations. It also provides other useful functions, such as dashboard workflow support and RRD migration. This utility is located in /usr/local/groundwork/grafana/scripts. You can enter ./grafbridge-control --help to view the built-in manual page.