Grafana 8.1 gets new panel for location-based data, ramps up transform help

Grafana Loki

Observability and data visualisation platform Grafana 8.1 has been released, providing ops teams with new geomap and annotations panels, while also adding contextual help for using transformations — to make things easier for those just getting started with the tool.

The geomap panel is meant to help operations teams get a grip on important location-based data. It consists of a blank world map as a base layer and a data layer which defines how geospatial data is visualised in said map. The data in question is retrieved via a database query and can, for now, be displayed through shape markers or heatmaps.

While this can, for example, be helpful to catch local spikes or outages quickly, the annotation panel has been added to get an overview of available annotations — which is meant to make organisation-wide searches a bit easier.

Users who’ve run into limitations when being connected to different Grafana instances without a shared state can try their luck with the experimental high-availability setup for Grafana Live with Redis. Once the Redis engine is configured, Grafana Live keeps its state in Redis and uses the database’s pub/sub function to deliver messages to all subscribers.

Transformations not only come with inline help that includes examples for transformation use and document links in v8.1, but also introduce two new betas in the form of config from query and rows to fields. Those can be used to derive panel configurations from query results, and turn returned data rows into separate, configurable fields.

Data sources have been updated as well and now come with timezone support when working with MySQL, the ability to format JSON for better clarity, and a new default behaviour for the trace to logs feature. Other enhancements include some tweaks to make the TimeRangePicker more accessible, an Alertmanager notifications tab, and a mechanism to scrap duplicate alert receivers during a migration process, which should get the number of contact points down for easier debugging.

Teams working with the Grafana Enterprise edition are treated to finer access control in version 8.1, as the update allows additional customisation of the permissions associated with the viewer, editor, and admin roles. Like this, teams are more flexible to choose who can use Explore mode, configure LDAP or SAML settings, or view the admin/stats page.

The reporting scheduler in Grafana Enterprise has been reworked to allow custom sending intervals and the definition of start and end dates — should reports only be distributed during a specific time period. The update also knows how to map Generic OAuth groups to teams in Grafana and adds encryption to the recently included query caching feature, which makes scenarios that rely on cache sharing a bit more secure. Details are available through the Grafana documentation.