Use Grafana as a BI tool

Hello everyone,
I am new in Grafana and I was wondering if it can be used as a generic BI tool. Has anyone tried something like that in the real world? I realize that my question is really generic and abstract in nature but I am just starting out with this tool.

Thank you so much in advance and
best regards.

You can, but you will suffer. Grafana is designated for time series data first, which can be a problem for BI reports.

Hi @pam2,

Welcome to the :grafana: community support forums !!

As @jangaraj said that you can but it depends totally on the use case. Also, you will need to make the backend (especially the database) high availability and also for disaster recovery. A simple example is that Grafana by default comes with SQLite3 database to store the data but it is not idle to use for larger scope and therefore you might need to see other options.

Also, some advanced features are only available in Grafana Enterprises so that might be where you want to go when it especially comes to security and additional support.

I would say that do more research and see what fits best for your organization and then test it out before completely going live.

I hope this helps.

Many people use the term BI very loosely.
What does it mean to you and what are you trying to accomplish/your requirements from tool xyz?

1 Like

Grafana is a great tool for a wide variety of BI observations. Yes, you need your 1 or more datasources accessible.
Break your long term needs into smaller tasks.
Think 1 query or 1 panel at a time. Experiment. Is each question is best represented as a table (sorting different columns ascending / descending / threshold colors / returning filtered rows only full dataset).
As you tackle the basics…and multiple panels (bar charts, line charts, lines / stacked lines / pie charts) you will want to figure out the great flexibility available in mapping legend, colors, use of multiple y-axis, etc.
Then proceed to incorporating dashboard variables. Gives user ability to isolate specific things they want to observe.
Advanced dashboard variable ideas - create your variable list sorted (from some data source) then elegant use of “repeating on variable” within collapsible rows would have each panel return in the sorted order your variable was created with.
Hyperlinks to additional dashboard (all parameterized) and you’re a rock star before you know it.
Final thought - turn off auto-refresh if your queries take longer to process than your refresh rate it will frustrate you. Don’t be afraid to try things out even if you abandon them in short term.
Hope your journey with grafana and data will be as rewarding as mine.
Share some of your successes when you can!