Grafana Dashboards

Grafana is another one of those amazing GitHub projects that is completely free and licensed under the permissive, MIT license. I actually never heard of it until I attended a Rockwell Automation Fair in Philadelphia and just started talking with a random attendee at the lunch table. When I explained that I work for an OEM and was trying to find ways of providing some value added web based features to the product he mentioned using InfluxDB and Grafana. The funny part was that he said it kind of on the sly like it was some trade secret. In retrospect I can understand why, now that I’ve had a chance to use it. It basically does, for free, what many of the high-end pay for products do. Many of those products being showcased at the fair.

Because the product is targeted at IT, it seems that no one in the manufacturing automation and data sectors have ever heard of it. With this said, in my opinion Grafana is tremendously useful in these sectors.

Here is an example dashboard for server temperatures and environmental temperatures. (I wish I could show some real life examples from the furnaces I work on, but the information is private.)

Server temperature data captured over SSH using lm-sensor and environmental temperature and humidity data captured with a Raspberry Pi. Local weather information is scraped from the NWS web site.

For our OEM offering, FIN Historian is being used on the back end to do the data collection from a Wonderware OI Server using the DDE plugin. All of this resides on a core i5 HMI PC with 8GB of ram.

Grafana easily connects to any real-time database. This means the data MUST be date time stamped. In the case of most historians this is not a problem.

When I have some time I’ll post the steps required to setup drill down and move your Grafana dashboards from static images to real reporting tools.

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