Creating and using dashboards

Create dashboards to visually track, analyze, and display key performance metrics. You can also auto-generate dashboards from your existing datasets. For example, create a dashboard to monitor the health of your Kubernetes cluster as a whole.

To access the dashboard feature, log into Observe and click Explore Explore icon. The initial view defaults to Dashboards. You can view existing dashboards or create a new dashboard by choosing New Dashboard.

Before you begin creating and designing your dashboard, learn about all of the capabilities in dashboards. The dashboard consists of two panels:

  • Design

  • Definition

Exploring the Definition panel for dashboards

The Definition panel allows you to create a dashboard from your datasets. You can add specific content and then create visualizations from that content. Customize your dashboard using the Visualize tab or using the Presentation tab to change graph colors or change graph type.

Definition panel for dashboards

Figure 1 - The Definition panel of the dashboard

You can perform the following tasks on the Definition panel:

  • Edit the dashboard name by clicking the Pencil icon Pencil next to the existing name.

  • Selecting Add Content allows you to add a Stage, Parameter, or Filtered Dataset:

    • Stage - select from Parameters, Resource Sets, or Event Streams to add a Stage to the dashboard. Compare different sources of data in the same dashboard.

    • Parameter - allows you to add a parameter to manage the conditions and input for your data. You use them in the same manner as programming variables, and the parameter name represents a value that can change such as a user selection on a form. Also, you can use parameters to create a more interactive experience for your dashboard.

    A simple example is a dropdown parameter that lists the locations of all temperature sensors in your house. When you select a location, the data card visualization changes to reflect the temperature details of the selected value.

    Or you may want to add text that provides a search parameter for multiple stages in a worksheet at one time. If you change the search value, each stage using the new parameter updates and produces a new result.

Follow these steps to add or edit a parameter:

  1. Click Add Content, and then select Parameter.

  2. From the list of Types, select the type of parameter:

    • Dropdown - add parameters for a dropdown menu and allow users to choose one option from the menu. You can create user-friendly names for your metrics by entering them into Name field. Enter the metric_name in the Value field.

    • Text - add text parameters to let dashboard users enter a search term.

    • Number - add a number to ensure dashboard users can only enter a numerical argument.

    • Resource Instance - add a resource set or event stream.

  3. Add the Parameter ID (Token). Enter the parameter ID. For example, you can enter source_id as a parameter. This field allows you to add specific OPAL resource parameters and you can use them as you would use event streams and resource sets. This field only accepts alphanumeric and underscore characters.

  4. Enter a name in Display Name for the Parameter ID.

  5. Select a Data Source from the menu. You can select a custom data source or a parameter from the list.

  6. Optionally, you can create custom values to display.

  7. Select a value to display as the Default Value.

  8. Choose Apply to save the parameter.

  9. Click the Manage Stages icon to select a stage to add to the dashboard.

  • Filtered Dataset - Add a Filtered Dataset to access a resource and create a dashboard from it. Select the resource and enter an Input Name. Your dashboard contains a list of Dataset filters. Select any filter to change the dashboard content.

Dashboard using Filtered Dataset

Figure 2 - Filtered Dataset Dashboard

You can select one of three tabs on the right of the Definition panel to perform additional tasks:

  • Input - drag and drop selected input from the list of Fields into the dashboard.

    • Resource Metrics - drag and drop selected metrics into the dashboard.

  • Visualize - create custom visualizations by changing the type of visualization and changing the settings as well as the value to visualize.

    • Type - select the type of visualization from the list:

      • Time Series - data over a selected time period.

      • Single Stat - a single data point.

      • Value Over Time - a single value over a selected time period.

      • Pie Chart

      • Bar Chart

  • Settings - select one of the following:

    • Over Time - select a Key Field and a Value Field. Click Apply to add it to the dashboard.

    • Summarize - you can only use this with a Single Stat visualization.

    • Advanced - visualize data directly from the table data.

  • Presentation - customize the presentation of your dashboard by editing the following parameters:

    • Axes - create custom labels for X- and Y-Axes.

    • Color - customize the fill colors used for Chart Areas.

    • Chart Style - customize the Line Curve Shape.

    • Legend - change the display of the dashboard legends. You can choose to display or hide the legend. You can also change the position and presentation.

    • Groups - configure the number of groups and how the groups get selected. Select Auto to use the default number groups and the selection method. Select Custom to configure the groups and selection method.

Exploring the Design panel for dashboards

The Design panel allows you to change the way your cards appear on the dashboard by dragging and dropping the cards in a different order. You can also save the dashboard by choosing Save or view the dashboard by selecting View dashboard. If you click on the down arrow next to Save, you can create a Copy of Untitled Dashboard.

If you click on More More next to View dashboard, you can create a duplicate dashboard.

When you click on the date and time, you see a list of preset times to view data. In addition to Presets, you can choose from the following options:

  • Relative - select from an Earliest time to a Latest time.

  • Date Range - select from a range of dates.

  • Date and Time Range - select from a range of dates and times.

  • UNIX Timestamp - select from a range of UNIX timestamps. The UNIX timestamp is the number of seconds between a particular date and the Unix Epoch. Select a Unit from nanoseconds to seconds.

  • Auto Refresh - select to automatically update the dashboard every 15, 30, or 60 seconds.

Design panel for dashboards

Figure 3 - The Design panel of the dashboard

The Design panel allows you to perform the following tasks:

  • Rearrange your data cards by dragging and dropping them on the dashboard.

  • Uncheck the Auto-pack cards checkbox to place your cards in any order and reshape them into any size.

  • Edit the dashboard name by clicking the Pencil icon Pencil next to the existing name.

  • Add a summary of the dashboard by clicking the Pencil icon Pencil next to Summary. You can also delete an existing summary.

  • In the Miscellaneous section, you can perform the following tasks:

    • Add a new section by selecting Section.

    • Add text by selecting Text.

    • Add an image by selecting Image.

  • If you added parameters using the Definition panel, you can select them and add them to the dashboard.

  • If you created stages using the Definition panel, you select and add them to the dashboard.

  • In the Recommended section, you can explore related metrics by the resources used in the parameters of the dashboard. When you choose the related metrics, you can select from a list of fields for the metrics. To return to the Design panel, click Back.

About dashboard cards

The Observe dashboard displays each set of data in a container called a card. You can manipulate the cards on the Design panel and the Definition panel.

Editing cards on the Design panel

Edit cards on the Design panel

Figure 4 - Design card options

Edit the cards on the Design panel using the following options:

  • Double-click Fill area to change the fill type.

  • Choose Open in Definition to edit the card from the Definition panel.

  • Choose Move to section to move the card from the current location to the Parameters or Metrics section.

  • Select Duplicate to create a duplicate card.

  • Select Remove to delete the card from the dashboard.

Editing the cards on the Definition panel

Edit cards on the definition panel

Figure 5 - Definition card options

Edit the cards on the Definition panel by selecting one of the displayed icons:

  • View as table - select to view the data as a table.

  • View as Visualization - click the icon to display data visualization.

Clicking the More More icon displays these options:

  • Create New Resource Set - clicking the option allows you to create a new resource set by selecting from the Fields list, adding a Primary Key, and the Resource Lifetime. Click Create to add the new resource set.

  • Duplicate – create a duplicate of the card.

  • Create a Monitor - add a monitor for the data displayed on the card.

  • Maximize - double-click to maximize the card.

  • Hide - select if you want to remove the card from the dashboard, but not delete it.

  • Export - select to export dashboard data in JSON or CSV format.

  • Delete - select if you want to permanently remove the card from the dashboard.

Creating a dashboard from a Dataset

You can easily autogenerate a dashboard from an existing dataset instead of creating one from scratch. After you create the dashboard, you can add or remove content, change the visualization, or change the presentation. Even though you’ve used existing data, you can customize the dashboard to suit your needs.

Use the following steps to autogenerate a dashboard:

  1. Log into Observe and click Explore icon Explore. By default, Observe displays Dashboards.

  2. Click New Dashboard.

  3. Click Start from dataset, and then select a Resource Set or Event Stream from the list. This example uses the Event Stream, CloudWatch Logs.

Select an Event Stream or Resource Set

Figure 6 - Select from an existing dataset.

4. The dashboard opens in the Design panel.

Edit cards on the definition panel

Figure 7 - CloudWatch dashboard

5. Add a summary if desired, or add a section, text, or image.

6. Move the cards around to change the order in the dashboard.

7. If you want to add metrics to the dashboard, click CloudWatch Logs in the Recommended section.

8. Drag and drop any field from the list into the Metrics section of the dashboard.

9. If you want to modify the dashboard, click Definition.

10. The Input tab displays a list of fields in the dashboard. To add a field, drag and drop the field name into the dashboard.

11. Use the Visualize tab to change the type of visualization.

12. Use the Presentation tab to change the visualization colors and layout.

13. Add more stages by clicking Add Content, and then select Stage.

14. Select a Resource Set or an Event Stream from the list.

15. The dashboard now displays an additional stage. Click Design and then click Add all in the Stages section to add the new stage to the dashboard.

16. Click Save to save as a dashboard.

17. Click View dashboard to view the layout as a dashboard.

Exporting worksheets to a dashboard

If you have existing worksheets that you want to visualize in a dashboard, use the following steps to create a dashboard:

  1. Log into Observe and click Explore, and then click Worksheets.

2. Select a worksheet from your list and open it.

3. Next to Save, click the More More icon.

Export as Dashboard

Figure 8 - Select Export as Dashboard

4. Select Export as Dashboard.

5. To add data to the dashboard, click the Pencil Pencil icon icon in the upper right of the screen.

6. The dashboard opens the Design panel.

7. Next to Stages, click Add All.

8. This adds your worksheet data to the dashboard. To visualize it, click Definition.

9. Drag and drop fields into the dashboard.

10. When the dashboard displays the desired information, rename the dashboard with a new title.

11. Choose Save.

Editing dataset pages in the Definition panel


You cannot edit dashboards created by default in a dataset.

If you want to change the information and appearance of the dashboard displayed for your dataset, use the following steps:

  1. Log into Observe, click Explore icon Explore, and then Datasets.

  2. Select a dataset from your list and open it.

Select dataset

Figure 9 - Open a dataset dashboard

3. Select a dashboard name from the list of dashboards, and click Edit Board.

4. Once you finish changing the dashboard, click Save to save the changes.

Adding a new filter parameter to a column

You can filter data in a column by using an existing filter parameter or you can create a new filter parameter. To create a new filter parameter, use the following steps:

  1. Click on the down arrow in a column name.

Add a new filter parameter

Figure 10 - Adding a new filter parameter

2. Click Create new.

3. A new dropdown list of filters appears at the top of the dashboard.

dropdown menu of filters

Figure 11 - Dropdown list of filter parameters

Using a Filtered Dataset with an existing dashboard

You can apply a Filtered Dataset to an existing dashboard to further define your dashboard information. For this example, a Namespace Filtered Dataset adds more information to a Pods dashboard.

Pods Dashboard

Figure 12 - Pods Dashboard

To add the Namespaces Filtered Dataset to the dashboard, use the following steps.

  1. On the Pods dashboard, click Add Content and select Filtered Data.

  2. On the Edit Filterable Dataset panel, click Data Source.

  3. From the list of available Resources, select Namespaces. For the Input Name, enter Namespaces.

  4. Click Apply. A blue Dataset Filters dropdown menu appears at the top of the Pods dashboard.

Pods Dashboard

Figure 13 - Dataset Filter dropdown menu

5. To add a new Stage with the Namespaces Filtered Dataset, click Add Content and then click Stage.

6. Select Namespaces from the Filtered Dataset list.

7.The Namespaces Filtered Dataset now appears as Stage 2 on your dashboard.

Namespace Stage 2

Figure 14 - Namespace Filtered Dataset added to the Pods dashboard.

8. Now you can apply any filter to the Namespace stage. For instance, you could apply a filter for the name as name = kube-system.

Name Filter for Namespaces

Figure 15 - Create a name filter for Namespaces

9. Apply the filter to the Namespaces stage.

Name Filter for Namespaces

Figure 16 - After applying the name filter

10. You can also filter the Pods worksheet using a parameter from Namespaces. On Stage 1, click the More More icon, and select Add filter parameter.

11. Select [email protected].

Name Filter for Namespaces

Figure 17 - The Pods dataset filtered by Namespaces

12. Visualize the two stages into a dashboard.

Pods dashboard

Figure 18 - The Pods dashboard filtered by Namespaces

Namespaces dashboard

Figure 19 - The Namespaces dashboards

Autofill Units for Visualizations and Dashboards

When you select Visualization or a Dashboard, you can autofill a Unit for the Axes. You can select from any of the following categories:

  • Time - select any unit of seconds, minutes, hours, etc.

  • BinarySI - select any base ten (10) unit of measure such as bits, bytes, kilobytes, etc.

  • BinaryIEC - select any base two (2) unit of measure such as bits, bytes, kibibytes, etc.

  • Temperature - select any unit of temperature such as Celsius, Fahrenheit, Kelvin, etc.

  • Length - select any unit of measure such as inches, meters, feet, etc.

  • Surface Area - select any unit of measure such as m2, sqin, sqft, etc.

  • Volume - select any unit of measure such as m3, liters, cc, etc.

  • Liquid Volume - select any unit of measure such as fluiddrams, fluidounces, cups, etc.

  • Angles - select any unit of measure such as radians, degrees, gradians, etc.

  • Mass - select any unit of measure such as grams, ounces, tons, etc.

  • Other - select any unit of measure such as Hertz, Newtons, Dynes, etc.

Or, you can add a custom unit such as % or $.

Selecting units for Axes

Figure 20 - Selecting units for Axes