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How to integrate Hubot with Grafana

Grafana 2.0 shipped with a great feature that enables it to render any graph or panel to a PNG image. No matter what data source you are using, the PNG image of the Graph will look the same as it does in your browser.

This guide will show you how to install and configure the Hubot-Grafana plugin. This plugin allows you to tell hubot to render any dashboard or graph right from a channel in Slack, Hipchat or Basecamp. The bot will respond with an image of the graph and a link that will take you to the graph.

Amazon S3 Required: The hubot-grafana script will upload the rendered graphs to Amazon S3. This is so Hipchat and Slack can show them reliably (they require the image to be publicly available).

What is Hubot?

Hubot is an universal and extensible chat bot that can be used with many chat services and has a huge library of third party plugins that allow you to automate anything from your chat rooms.

Install Hubot

Hubot is very easy to install and host. If you do not already have a bot up and running please read the official Getting Started With Hubot guide.

Install Hubot-Grafana script

In your Hubot project repo install the Grafana plugin using npm:

npm install hubot-grafana --save

Edit the file external-scripts.json, and add hubot-grafana to the list of plugins.

[
"hubot-pugme",
"hubot-shipit",
"hubot-grafana"
]

Configure

The hubot-grafana plugin requires a number of environment variables to be set in order to work properly.

export HUBOT_GRAFANA_HOST=http://play.grafana.org
export HUBOT_GRAFANA_API_KEY=abcd01234deadbeef01234
export HUBOT_GRAFANA_S3_BUCKET=mybucket
export HUBOT_GRAFANA_S3_ACCESS_KEY_ID=ABCDEF123456XYZ
export HUBOT_GRAFANA_S3_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY=aBcD01234dEaDbEef01234
export HUBOT_GRAFANA_S3_PREFIX=graphs
export HUBOT_GRAFANA_S3_REGION=us-standard

Grafana server side rendering

The hubot plugin will take advantage of the Grafana server side rendering feature that can render any panel on the server using phantomjs. Grafana ships with a phantomjs binary (linux only).

To verify that this feature works try the Direct link to rendered image link in the panel share dialog. If you do not get an image when opening this link verify that the required font packages are installed for phantomjs to work.

Grafana API Key

You need to set the environment variable HUBOT_GRAFANA_API_KEY to a Grafana API Key. You can add these from the API Keys page which you find in the Organization dropdown.

Amazon S3

The S3 options are optional but for the images to work properly in services like Slack and Hipchat they need to publicly available. By specifying the S3 options the hubot-grafana script will publish the rendered panel to S3 and it will use that URL when it posts to Slack or Hipchat.

Hubot commands

  • hubot graf list
    • Lists the available dashboards
  • hubot graf db graphite-carbon-metrics
    • Graph all panels in the dashboard
  • hubot graf db graphite-carbon-metrics:3
    • Graph only panel with id 3 of a particular dashboard
  • hubot graf db graphite-carbon-metrics:cpu
    • Graph only the panels containing “cpu” (case insensitive) in the title
  • hubot graf db graphite-carbon-metrics now-12hr
    • Get a dashboard with a window of 12 hours ago to now
  • hubot graf db graphite-carbon-metrics now-24hr now-12hr
    • Get a dashboard with a window of 24 hours ago to 12 hours ago
  • hubot graf db graphite-carbon-metrics:3 now-8d now-1d
    • Get only the third panel of a particular dashboard with a window of 8 days ago to yesterday
  • hubot graf db graphite-carbon-metrics host=carbon-a
    • Get a templated dashboard with the $host parameter set to carbon-a

Aliases

Some of the hubot commands above can lengthy and you might have to remember the dashboard slug (url id). If you have a few favorite graphs you want to be able check up on often (let’s say from your mobile) you can create hubot command aliases with the hubot script hubot-alias.

Install it:

npm i --save hubot-alias

Now add hubot-alias to the list of plugins in external-scripts.json and restart hubot.

Now you can add an alias like this:

  • hubot alias graf-lb=graf db loadbalancers:2 now-20m
Using the alias:

Summary

Grafana is going to ship with integrated Slack and Hipchat features some day but you do not have to wait for that. Grafana 2 shipped with a very clever server side rendering feature that can render any panel to a png using phantomjs. The hubot plugin for Grafana is something you can install and use today!