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Using AWS CloudWatch in Grafana

Grafana ships with built in support for CloudWatch. You just have to add it as a data source and you will be ready to build dashboards for you CloudWatch metrics.

Adding the data source

  1. Open the side menu by clicking the the Grafana icon in the top header.
  2. In the side menu under the Dashboards link you should find a link named Data Sources.

    NOTE: If this link is missing in the side menu it means that your current user does not have the Admin role for the current organization.

  3. Click the Add new link in the top header.

  4. Select CloudWatch from the dropdown. > NOTE: If at any moment you have issues with getting this datasource to work and grafana is giving you undescriptive errors then dont forget to check your log file (try looking in /var/log/grafana/).

Name Description
Name The data source name, important that this is the same as in Grafana v1.x if you plan to import old dashboards.
Default Default data source means that it will be pre-selected for new panels.
Credentials profile name Specify the name of the profile to use (if you use ~/aws/credentials file), leave blank for default. This option was introduced in Grafana 2.5.1
Default Region Used in query editor to set region (can be changed on per query basis)
Custom Metrics namespace Specify the CloudWatch namespace of Custom metrics
Assume Role Arn Specify the ARN of the role to assume

Authentication

IAM Roles

Currently all access to CloudWatch is done server side by the Grafana backend using the official AWS SDK. If you grafana server is running on AWS you can use IAM Roles and authentication will be handled automatically.

Checkout AWS docs on IAM Roles

AWS credentials file

Create a file at ~/.aws/credentials. That is the HOME path for user running grafana-server. > NOTE: If you think you have the credentials file in the right place but it is still not working then you might try moving your .aws file to ‘/usr/share/grafana/’ and make sure your credentials file has at most 0644 permissions.

Example content:

[default]
aws_access_key_id = asdsadasdasdasd
aws_secret_access_key = dasdasdsadasdasdasdsa
region = us-west-2

Metric Query Editor

You need to specify a namespace, metric, at least one stat, and at least one dimension.

Templated queries

CloudWatch Datasource Plugin provides the following functions in Variables values query field in Templating Editor to query region, namespaces, metric names and dimension keys/values on the CloudWatch.

Name Description
regions() Returns a list of regions AWS provides their service.
namespaces() Returns a list of namespaces CloudWatch support.
metrics(namespace, [region]) Returns a list of metrics in the namespace. (specify region for custom metrics)
dimension_keys(namespace) Returns a list of dimension keys in the namespace.
dimension_values(region, namespace, metric, dimension_key) Returns a list of dimension values matching the specified region, namespace, metric and dimension_key.
ebs_volume_ids(region, instance_id) Returns a list of volume id matching the specified region, instance_id.
ec2_instance_attribute(region, attribute_name, filters) Returns a list of attribute matching the specified region, attribute_name, filters.

For details about the metrics CloudWatch provides, please refer to the CloudWatch documentation.

Example templated Queries

Example dimension queries which will return list of resources for individual AWS Services:

Service Query
ELB dimension_values(us-east-1,AWS/ELB,RequestCount,LoadBalancerName)
ElastiCache dimension_values(us-east-1,AWS/ElastiCache,CPUUtilization,CacheClusterId)
RedShift dimension_values(us-east-1,AWS/Redshift,CPUUtilization,ClusterIdentifier)
RDS dimension_values(us-east-1,AWS/RDS,CPUUtilization,DBInstanceIdentifier)
S3 dimension_values(us-east-1,AWS/S3,BucketSizeBytes,BucketName)

ec2_instance_attribute JSON filters

The ec2_instance_attribute query take filters in JSON format. You can specify pre-defined filters of ec2:DescribeInstances. Specify like { filter_name1: [ filter_value1 ], filter_name2: [ filter_value2 ] }

Example ec2_instance_attribute() query

ec2_instance_attribute(us-east-1, InstanceId, { "tag:Environment": [ "production" ] })

Cost

Amazon provides 1 million CloudWatch API requests each month at no additional charge. Past this, it costs $0.01 per 1,000 GetMetricStatistics or ListMetrics requests. For each query Grafana will issue a GetMetricStatistics request and every time you pick a dimension in the query editor Grafana will issue a ListMetrics request.