Query and visualize Amazon Redshift operational metrics using the Amazon Redshift plugin for Grafana
Grafana is a rich interactive open-source tool by Grafana Labs for visualizing data across one or many data sources. It’s used in a variety of modern monitoring stacks, allowing you to have a common technical base and apply common monitoring practices across different systems. Amazon Managed Grafana is a fully managed, scalable, and secure Grafana-as-a-service solution developed by AWS in collaboration with Grafana Labs.
Amazon Redshift is a fast, petabyte-scale cloud data warehouse delivering the best price–performance. You can view your Amazon Redshift cluster’s operational metrics on the Amazon Redshift console, use AWS CloudWatch, and query Amazon Redshift system tables directly from your cluster. The first two options provide a set of predefined general metrics and visualizations. The last one allows you to use the flexibility of SQL to get deep insights into the details of the workload. However, querying system tables requires knowledge of system table structures. To address that, we came up with a consolidated Amazon Redshift Grafana dashboard that visualizes a set of curated operational metrics and works on top of the Amazon Redshift Grafana data source. You can easily add it to an Amazon Managed Grafana workspace, as well as to any other Grafana deployments where the data source is installed.
This post guides you through a step-by-step process to create an Amazon Managed Grafana workspace and configure an Amazon Redshift cluster with a Grafana data source for it. Lastly, we show you how to set up the Amazon Redshift Grafana dashboard to visualize the cluster metrics.
The following diagram illustrates the solution architecture.
The solution includes the following components:
- The Amazon Redshift cluster to get the metrics from.
- Amazon Managed Grafana, with the Amazon Redshift data source plugin added to it. Amazon Managed Grafana communicates with the Amazon Redshift cluster via the Amazon Redshift Data Service API.
- The Grafana web UI, with the Amazon Redshift dashboard using the Amazon Redshift cluster as the data source. The web UI communicates with Amazon Managed Grafana via an HTTP API.
We walk you through the following steps during the configuration process:
- Configure an Amazon Redshift cluster.
- Create a database user for Amazon Managed Grafana on the cluster.
- Configure a user in AWS Single Sign-On (AWS SSO) for Amazon Managed Grafana UI access.
- Configure an Amazon Managed Grafana workspace and sign in to Grafana.
- Set up Amazon Redshift as the data source in Grafana.
- Import the Amazon Redshift dashboard supplied with the data source.
To follow along with this walkthrough, you should have the following prerequisites:
- An AWS account
- Familiarity with the basic concepts of the following services:
- Amazon Redshift
- Amazon Managed Grafana
- AWS SSO
Configure an Amazon Redshift cluster
If you don’t have an Amazon Redshift cluster, create a sample cluster before proceeding with the following steps. For this post, we assume that the cluster identifier is called
redshift-demo-cluster-1 and the admin user name is
- On the Amazon Redshift console, choose Clusters in the navigation pane.
- Choose your cluster.
- Choose the Properties tab.
To make the cluster discoverable by Amazon Managed Grafana, you must add a special tag to it.
- Choose Add tags.
- For Key, enter GrafanaDataSource.
- For Value, enter true.
- Choose Save changes.
Create a database user for Amazon Managed Grafana
Grafana will be directly querying the cluster, and it requires a database user to connect to the cluster. In this step, we create the user
redshift_data_api_user and apply some security best practices.
- On the cluster details page, choose Query data and Query in query editor v2.
- Choose the
redshift-demo-cluster-1cluster we created previously.
- For Database, enter the default
- Enter the user name and password that you used to create the cluster.
- Choose Create connection.
- In the query editor, enter the following statements and choose Run:
CREATE USER redshift_data_api_user PASSWORD '<password>' CREATEUSER; ALTER USER redshift_data_api_user SET readonly TO TRUE; ALTER USER redshift_data_api_user SET query_group TO 'superuser';
The first statement creates a user with superuser privileges necessary to access system tables and views (make sure to use a unique password). The second prohibits the user from making modifications. The last statement isolates the queries the user can run to the superuser queue, so they don’t interfere with the main workload.
In this example, we use service managed permissions in Amazon Managed Grafana and a workspace AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) role as an authentication provider in the Amazon Redshift Grafana data source. We create the database user redshift_data_api_user using the AmazonGrafanaRedshiftAccess policy.
Configure a user in AWS SSO for Amazon Managed Grafana UI access
Two authentication methods are available for accessing Amazon Managed Grafana: AWS SSO and SAML. In this example, we use AWS SSO.
- On the AWS SSO console, choose Users in the navigation pane.
- Choose Add user.
- In the Add user section, provide the required information.
In this post, we select Send an email to the user with password setup instructions. You need to be able to access the email address you enter because you use this email further in the process.
- Choose Next to proceed to the next step.
- Choose Add user.
An email is sent to the email address you specified.
- Choose Accept invitation in the email.
You’re redirected to sign in as a new user and set a password for the user.
- Enter a new password and choose Set new password to finish the user creation.
Configure an Amazon Managed Grafana workspace and sign in to Grafana
Now you’re ready to set up an Amazon Managed Grafana workspace.
- On the Amazon Grafana console, choose Create workspace.
- For Workspace name, enter a name, for example grafana-demo-workspace-1.
- Choose Next.
- For Authentication access, select AWS Single Sign-On.
- For Permission type, select Service managed.
- Chose Next to proceed.
- For IAM permission access settings, select Current account.
- For Data sources, select Amazon Redshift.
- Choose Next to finish the workspace creation.
You’re redirected to the workspace page.
Next, we need to enable AWS SSO as an authentication method.
- On the workspace page, choose Assign new user or group.
- Select the previously created AWS SSO user under Users and Select users and groups tables.
You need to make the user an admin, because we set up the Amazon Redshift data source with it.
- Select the user from the Users list and choose Make admin.
- Go back to the workspace and choose the Grafana workspace URL link to open the Grafana UI.
- Sign in with the user name and password you created in the AWS SSO configuration step.
Set up an Amazon Redshift data source in Grafana
To visualize the data in Grafana, we need to access the data first. To do so, we must create a data source pointing to the Amazon Redshift cluster.
- On the navigation bar, choose the lower AWS icon (there are two) and then choose Redshift from the list.
- For Regions, choose the Region of your cluster.
- Select the cluster from the list and choose Add 1 data source.
- On the Provisioned data sources page, choose Go to settings.
- For Name, enter a name for your data source.
- By default, Authentication Provider should be set as Workspace IAM Role, Default Region should be the Region of your cluster, and Cluster Identifier should be the name of the chosen cluster.
- For Database, enter dev.
- For Database User, enter
- Choose Save & Test.
A success message should appear.
Import the Amazon Redshift dashboard supplied with the data source
As the last step, we import the default Amazon Redshift dashboard and make sure that it works.
- In the data source we just created, choose Dashboards on the top navigation bar and choose Import to import the Amazon Redshift dashboard.
- Under Dashboards on the navigation sidebar, choose Manage.
- In the dashboards list, choose Amazon Redshift.
The dashboard appear, showing operational data from your cluster. When you add more clusters and create data sources for them in Grafana, you can choose them from the Data source list on the dashboard.
To avoid incurring unnecessary charges, delete the Amazon Redshift cluster, AWS SSO user, and Amazon Managed Grafana workspace resources that you created as part of this solution.
In this post, we covered the process of setting up an Amazon Redshift dashboard working under Amazon Managed Grafana with AWS SSO authentication and querying from the Amazon Redshift cluster under the same AWS account. This is just one way to create the dashboard. You can modify the process to set it up with SAML as an authentication method, use custom IAM roles to manage permissions with more granularity, query Amazon Redshift clusters outside of the AWS account where the Grafana workspace is, use an access key and secret or AWS Secrets Manager based connection credentials in data sources, and more. You can also customize the dashboard by adding or altering visualizations using the feature-rich Grafana UI.
Because the Amazon Redshift data source plugin is an open-source project, you can install it in any Grafana deployment, whether it’s in the cloud, on premises, or even in a container running on your laptop. That allows you to seamlessly integrate Amazon Redshift monitoring into virtually all your existing Grafana-based monitoring stacks.
For more details about the systems and processes described in this post, refer to the following:
- Amazon Managed Grafana Documentation (in particular, its Amazon Redshift section)
- Amazon Redshift Documentation
- AWS Single Sign-On Documentation
- Redshift data source for Grafana on the Grafana Labs website
- Monitor all your Redshift clusters in Grafana with the new Amazon Redshift data source plugin
- Redshift data source for Grafana on GitHub
About the Authors
Milind Oke is a Data Warehouse Specialist Solutions Architect based out of New York. He has been building data warehouse solutions for over 15 years and specializes in Amazon Redshift.