Custom dashboards

Introduced in GitLab 12.1.

By default, all projects include a GitLab-defined Prometheus dashboard, which includes a few key metrics, but you can also define your own custom dashboards.

You may create a new dashboard from scratch or duplicate a GitLab-defined Prometheus dashboard.

Add a new dashboard to your project

UI option introduced in GitLab 13.3.

You can configure a custom dashboard by adding a new YAML file into your project’s .gitlab/dashboards/ directory. For the dashboard to display on your project’s Monitor > Metrics page, the files must have a .yml extension and be present in your project’s default branch.

To create a new dashboard from the GitLab user interface:

  1. Sign in to GitLab as a user with Maintainer or Owner permissions.
  2. Navigate to your dashboard at Monitor > Metrics.
  3. In the top-right corner of your dashboard, click the More actions menu, and select Create new: Monitoring Dashboard actions menu with create new item
  4. In the modal window, click Open Repository, then follow the instructions for creating a new dashboard from the command line.

To create a new dashboard from the command line:

  1. Create .gitlab/dashboards/prom_alerts.yml under your repository’s root directory. Each YAML file should define the layout of the dashboard and the Prometheus queries used to populate data. This example dashboard displays a single area chart:

    dashboard: 'Dashboard Title'
    panel_groups:
      - group: 'Group Title'
        panels:
          - type: area-chart
            title: 'Chart Title'
            y_label: 'Y-Axis'
            y_axis:
              format: number
              precision: 0
            metrics:
              - id: my_metric_id
                query_range: 'http_requests_total'
                label: 'Instance: {{instance}}, method: {{method}}'
                unit: 'count'
    
  2. Save the file, commit, and push to your repository. The file must be present in your default branch.
  3. Navigate to your project’s Monitor > Metrics and choose the custom dashboard from the dropdown.

Your custom dashboard is available at https://example.com/project/-/metrics/custom_dashboard_name.yml.

note
Configuration files nested under subdirectories of .gitlab/dashboards aren’t supported or available in the UI.

Add a new metrics panel to a dashboard

UI option introduced in GitLab 13.3.

The metrics dashboard supports various multiple panel types. You can quickly test how a panel configuration would display in your metrics dashboard with the Add Panel page:

  1. Sign in to GitLab as a user with Maintainer or Owner permissions.
  2. Click Add panel in the More actions menu.

    note
    You can only add panels to custom dashboards.

    Monitoring Dashboard actions menu with add panel item

  3. In the Define and preview panel section, paste in the YAML you want to preview in the Panel YAML field.
  4. Click Preview panel, and GitLab displays a preview of the chart below the Define and preview panel section: Monitoring Dashboard Add Panel page

Duplicate a GitLab-defined dashboard

Version history

You can save a complete copy of a GitLab-defined dashboard along with all custom metrics added to it. The resulting .yml file can be customized and adapted to your project. You can decide to save the dashboard .yml file in the project’s default branch or in a new branch. To duplicate a GitLab-defined dashboard:

  1. Click Duplicate current dashboard in the More actions menu.
  2. Enter the filename and other information, such as the new commit’s message, and click Duplicate.
  3. Select a branch to add your dashboard to:
    • If you select your default branch, the new dashboard becomes immediately available.
    • If you select another branch, this branch should be merged to your default branch first.

Your custom dashboard is available at https://example.com/project/-/metrics/custom_dashboard_name.yml.

Manage the metrics dashboard settings

Introduced in GitLab 13.2.

Users with project Maintainer or Administrator permissions can manage the settings for your metrics dashboard.

Chart Context Menu

You can take action related to a chart’s data by clicking the More actions dropdown box above the upper right corner of any chart on a dashboard:

Context Menu

The options are:

  • Expand panel - Displays a larger version of a visualization. To return to the dashboard, click the Back button in your browser, or press the Escape key. (Introduced in GitLab 13.0.)
  • View logs - Displays Logs, if they are enabled. If used in conjunction with the timeline zoom feature, logs narrow down to the selected time range. (Introduced in GitLab 12.8.)
  • Download CSV - Data from Prometheus charts on the metrics dashboard can be downloaded as CSV.
  • Copy link to chart

Timeline zoom and URL sharing

Introduced in GitLab 12.8.

You can use the Timeline zoom function at the bottom of a chart to zoom in on a date and time of your choice. When you click and drag the sliders to select a different beginning or end date of data to display, GitLab adds your selected start and end times to the URL, enabling you to share specific time frames more easily.

Dashboard Annotations

Version history

You can use Metrics Dashboard Annotations to mark any important events on every metrics dashboard by adding annotations to it. While viewing a dashboard, annotation entries assigned to the selected time range are automatically fetched and displayed on every chart within that dashboard. On mouse hover, each annotation presents additional details, including the exact time of an event and its description.

You can create annotations by making requests to the Metrics dashboard annotations API

Annotations UI

Annotation retention policy

Introduced in GitLab 13.01.

To avoid excessive storage space consumption by stale annotations, records attached to time periods older than two weeks are removed daily. This recurring background job runs at 1:00 a.m. local server time.

Introduced in GitLab 13.1.

You can embed links to other dashboards or external services in your custom dashboard by adding Related links to your dashboard’s YAML file. Related links open in the same tab as the dashboard. Related links can be displayed in the following locations on your dashboard:

Related links can contain the following attributes:

  • url: The full URL to the link. Required.
  • title: A phrase describing the link. Optional. If this attribute is not set, the full URL is used for the link title.
  • type: A string declaring the type of link. Optional. If set to grafana, the dashboard’s time range values are converted to Grafana’s time range format and appended to the url.

The dashboard’s time range is appended to the url as URL parameters.

The following example shows two related links (GitLab.com and GitLab Documentation) added to a dashboard:

Links UI

links:
  - title: GitLab.com
    url: https://gitlab.com
  - title: GitLab Documentation
    url: https://docs.gitlab.com
  - title: Public Grafana playground dashboard
    url: https://play.grafana.org/d/000000012/grafana-play-home?orgId=1
    type: grafana

Troubleshooting

Accessing the UI of Prometheus in Kubernetes

When troubleshooting issues with an in-cluster Prometheus, it can help to view the Prometheus UI. In the example below, we assume the Prometheus server to be the pod prometheus-prometheus-server in the gitlab-managed-apps namespace:

  1. Find the name of the Prometheus pod in the user interface of your Kubernetes provider, such as GKE, or by running the following kubectl command in your terminal. For example:

    kubectl get pods -n gitlab-managed-apps | grep 'prometheus-prometheus-server'
    

    The command should return a result like the following example, where prometheus-prometheus-server-55b4bd64c9-dpc6b is the name of the Prometheus pod:

    gitlab-managed-apps  prometheus-prometheus-server-55b4bd64c9-dpc6b  2/2  Running  0  71d
    
  2. Run a kubectl port-forward command. In the following example, 9090 is the Prometheus server’s listening port:

     kubectl port-forward prometheus-prometheus-server-55b4bd64c9-dpc6b 9090:9090 -n gitlab-managed-apps
    

    The port-forward command forwards all requests sent to your system’s 9090 port to the 9090 port of the Prometheus pod. If the 9090 port on your system is used by another application, you can change the port number before the colon to your desired port. For example, to forward port 8080 of your local system, change the command to:

    kubectl port-forward prometheus-prometheus-server-55b4bd64c9-dpc6b 8080:9090 -n gitlab-managed-apps
    
  3. Open localhost:9090 in your browser to display the Prometheus user interface.

“No data found” error on Metrics dashboard page

If the “No data found” screen continues to appear, it could be due to:

  • No successful deployments have occurred to this environment.
  • Prometheus does not have performance data for this environment, or the metrics are not labeled correctly. To test this, connect to the Prometheus server and run a query, replacing $CI_ENVIRONMENT_SLUG with the name of your environment.
  • You may need to re-add the GitLab predefined common metrics. This can be done by running the import common metrics Rake task.