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Operations

GrafanaCon 2023: Fewer Pain Points Promised for the Observability Tool

Grafana has placed a strong emphasis on refining and simplifying the user panel and tool experience. Efforts have been made to improve usability and provide a seamless experience for users at all skill levels.
Jul 10th, 2023 1:14pm by and
Featued image for: GrafanaCon 2023: Fewer Pain Points Promised for the Observability Tool

This year’s GrafanaCon, the annual user’s conference, showcased a range of exciting updates and additions to Grafana’s flagship open source observability software. Notable highlights included enhancements to Grafana panels, Loki and other Grafana monitoring tools for observability.

The conference also featured intriguing projects demonstrating the versatility of Grafana panels, spanning from home temperature and humidity monitoring to real-time data visualization showcased during a previous GrafanaCon from the SpaceX command center during a rocket launch.

However, alongside the usual excitement, this year’s conference shed light on certain challenges faced by users. Grafana speakers and representatives acknowledged these pain points and expressed their commitment to addressing them through new features, such as those expected in Grafana 10.

The irony lies in the fact that despite these challenges may be overplayed, given that Grafana is certainly not associated with being difficult to use. Quite the contrary, as Grafana’s user base continues to grow rapidly, surpassing 20 million users at the time of the conference — a remarkable doubling within just a couple of years.

Regardless, to cater to both beginner and advanced users, Grafana has placed a strong emphasis on refining and simplifying the panel and tool experience. Efforts have been made to improve usability and provide a seamless experience for users at all skill levels.

“The fact that Grafana is now utilized by over 20 million users astounds me and fills me with immense pride for being part of this journey. However, it has also been a challenging endeavor, requiring substantial effort from myself, my colleagues and the community,” Grafana Labs CGO and co-founder Torkel Ödegaard, said during the keynote.

“Sometimes, the struggles seem never-ending as I constantly identify areas for improvement and envision a better and more user-friendly Grafana. Nevertheless, it is the untapped potential that keeps me motivated after all these years.”

The launch of Grafana 10 represented the culmination of more than a year’s worth of work:

“We conducted user interviews, engaged with the community, and gathered feedback to identify key areas for improvement,” Ödegaard said. “The majority of our efforts have been aimed at simplifying the user journey, from setting up the first data source to exploring and creating visually appealing dashboards.”

Of particular note, the team worked on accelerating the process of visualizing data, reducing the number of steps required from 14 to just five. The search and navigation system has been overhauled and a new approach to creating dashboards has also been introduced.

The UI in Grafana 10 has also been updated. Most of the navigation elements have been moved to the top (“Top Nav”). The introduction of breadcrumbs on every page provides easy access to global navigation through the menu. Some pages feature section navigation, allowing seamless movement across different pages within a section, noted Mihaela Maior, Grafana director of engineering, during the keynote.

Users also have a “command palette” (accessed through Command K), which offers an array of shortcuts for navigation and performance, Maior noted.

TNS Staff helped freelance reporter B. Cameron Gain complete this post.

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