Grafana Configuration

Grafana is a tool that enables you to visualize time series metrics through graphs and dashboards. GitLab writes performance data to Prometheus, and Grafana allows you to query the data to display useful graphs.


Omnibus GitLab can help you install Grafana (recommended) or Grafana supplies package repositories (Yum/Apt) for easy installation. See Grafana installation documentation for detailed steps.

Before starting Grafana for the first time, set the administration user and password in /etc/grafana/grafana.ini. If you don’t, the default password is admin.


  1. Log in to Grafana as the administration user.
  2. Select Data Sources from the Configuration menu.
  3. Select the Add data source button.
  4. Select the required data source type. For example, Prometheus.
  5. Complete the details for the data source and select the Save & Test button.

Grafana should indicate the data source is working.

Import Dashboards

You can now import a set of default dashboards to start displaying useful information. GitLab has published a set of default Grafana dashboards to get you started. To use them:

  1. Clone the repository, or download a ZIP file or tarball.
  2. Follow these steps to import each JSON file individually:

    1. Log in to Grafana as the administration user.
    2. Select Manage from the Dashboards menu.
    3. Select the Import button, then the Upload JSON file button.
    4. Locate the JSON file to import and select Choose for Upload. Select the Import button.
    5. After the dashboard is imported, select the Save dashboard icon in the top bar.

If you don’t save the dashboard after importing it, the dashboard is removed when you navigate away from the page. Repeat this process for each dashboard you wish to import.

Alternatively, you can import all the dashboards into your Grafana instance. For more information about this process, see the README of the Grafana dashboards repository.

Integration with GitLab UI

Introduced in GitLab 12.1.

After setting up Grafana, you can enable a link to access it easily from the GitLab sidebar:

  1. Go to the Admin Area > Settings > Metrics and profiling.
  2. Expand Metrics - Grafana.
  3. Check the Enable access to Grafana checkbox.
  4. Configure the Grafana URL:
    • If Grafana is enabled through Omnibus GitLab and on the same server, leave Grafana URL unchanged. It should be /-/grafana.
    • Otherwise, enter the full URL of the Grafana instance.
  5. Click Save changes.

GitLab displays your link in the Admin Area > Monitoring > Metrics Dashboard.

Security Update

Users running GitLab version 12.0 or later should immediately upgrade to one of the following security releases due to a known vulnerability with the embedded Grafana dashboard:

  • 12.0.6
  • 12.1.6

After upgrading, the Grafana dashboard is disabled, and the location of your existing Grafana data is changed from /var/opt/gitlab/grafana/data/ to /var/opt/gitlab/grafana/data.bak.#{}/.

To prevent the data from being relocated, you can run the following command prior to upgrading:

echo "0" > /var/opt/gitlab/grafana/CVE_reset_status

To reinstate your old data, move it back into its original location:

sudo mv /var/opt/gitlab/grafana/data.bak.xxxx/ /var/opt/gitlab/grafana/data/

However, you should not reinstate your old data except under one of the following conditions:

  1. If you’re certain that you changed your default administration password when you enabled Grafana.
  2. If you run GitLab in a private network, accessed only by trusted users, and your Grafana login page has not been exposed to the internet.

If you require access to your old Grafana data but don’t meet one of these criteria, you may consider:

  1. Reinstating it temporarily.
  2. Exporting the dashboards you need.
  3. Refreshing the data and re-importing your dashboards.
cautionThese actions pose a temporary vulnerability while your old Grafana data is in use. Deciding to take any of these actions should be weighed carefully with your need to access existing data and dashboards.

For more information and further mitigation details, please refer to our blog post on the security release.

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