Chris Bargmann

Recap: Attending GrafanaCon 2024 in Amsterdam

I had the pleasure of attending GrafanaCon 2024 in Amsterdam from July 7th to 10th. This marked my first in-person attendance at this event after several years of virtual participation due to the pandemic.I was really looking forward to speak face-to-face with fellow experts in the Grafana community. Given its excellent public transport and overall walkability, Amsterdam proved to be an ideal host city. My colleague and I enjoyed a comfortable train journey from Hamburg directly to Amsterdam, which was both convenient and environmentally friendly.

Upon arriving on Monday evening, we checked into the hotel and ventured out to explore some local cuisine, checking out the city’s lively atmosphere (and beer).

Highlights

The conference commenced at the architecturally striking Muziekgebouw located on Piet Heinkade. The opening keynote on Tuesday morning was led by Raj Dutt, CEO and Co-founder, and Torkel Ă–degaard, the creator of Grafana. They introduced us to the newest features in Grafana and related tools. This session also featured the Grafana Grot awards, a delightful segment where community members were honored for their innovative dashboard creations. Awards ranged from dashboards tracking health data on an Apple Watch to ones designed for parental control, which brought humor and creativity into the spotlight.

One of the standout presentations was by Satoshi Nakahira from JAXA, detailing how Grafana supported real-time monitoring of Japan’s SLIM moon lander. This session provided unique insights into the application of Grafana in critical, non-traditional contexts like space exploration.

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Following that, Owen Diehl and Cyril Tovena from Grafana Labs discussed the significant updates in Grafana Loki, which has reached version 3.0. The new version includes native OTel support and bloom-filter query acceleration, marking it as a more general-purpose tool that aims to offer higher scale, reduced complexity for users, and lower operational costs.

Significant announcements included the release of Grafana version 11.0, which introduces the Explore Metrics feature that I am particularly excited to integrate into our work processes. The keynote also highlighted Grafana’s ongoing integration with AI, which will now assist in generating titles and descriptions for panels and dashboards, an update that promises to enhance user experience significantly.

Another key development discussed was the phasing out of support for AngularJS-based plugins in Grafana 11, a transition led by Mihaela Maior and Mitch Seaman from Grafana Labs. They assured that while these plugins are disabled by default, users could still activate them temporarily until Grafana 12, where support will cease entirely.

The introduction of Grafana Alloy was another highlight. As an open-source OpenTelemetry collector that includes built-in Prometheus pipelines, Alloy supports metrics, logs, traces, and profiles, and promises compatibility with Prometheus scraping rules, Service- & PodMonitors.

An insightful talk on how Heineken uses Grafana to monitor its 83 breweries was presented by Dolf Noordman and Frank Van Boven, showcasing real-world applications of Grafana in large-scale enterprise environments.

New Announcements

The newly introduced “Grafana Application Platform” (GAP) aims to facilitate the development of custom data sources, panels, and applications within Grafana. The GAP appears to adopt a Kubernetes-like approach to managing resources, which should familiarize developers with similar systems and potentially ease their learning curve.

“The Evolution of Alerting” was another transformative session that discussed the overhaul of Grafana’s alerting system. The session outlined the historical clutter in Grafana Alerting and laid out plans for a unified, more efficient future. This new system will deprecate the old alerting mechanism from Grafana 4.0 in favor of a more streamlined and powerful solution.

Summary

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The conference, with an attendance of about 300-400, provided a great scale for in-depth discussions and networking without feeling overwhelming. The “unconference” segment on the second day was particularly effective, as it allowed attendees to propose and lead discussions on topics of their interest, enhancing the collaborative spirit of the event.

Overall, GrafanaCon 2024 was not only a showcase of technological advancements but also a celebration of community. The insights gained and connections made have left me inspired and excited about the future possibilities within the Grafana ecosystem.

#Personal