Learning InfluxDB and Grafana

First thing first, you need a machine to install InfluxDB and Grafana. I’ve chosen Debian 9, you may choose something else.


These following commands are condensed from here. I also took a lot from this article and put my own spin on it.

~$ wget -qO- https://repos.influxdata.com/influxdb.key | sudo apt-key add -
~$ echo "deb https://repos.influxdata.com/debian stretch stable" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/influxdb.list
~$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install influxdb -y
~$ sudo systemctl unmask influxdb.service
~$ sudo systemctl start influxdb

Now test your influxdb instance with something like the following:

~$ influx
Connected to http://localhost:8086 version 1.7.6
InfluxDB shell version: 1.7.6
Enter an InfluxQL query
name: databases

Success! We now have InfluxDB up and running and listening on localhost:8086.

Now lets create a new database to play around in.

name: databases

Select the database via the next command:

> USE testdata
Using database testdata

Lets inject some data!

> INSERT temp,Name=data1 value=1.5
> SELECT * FROM temp
name: temp
time                Name  value
----                ----  -----
1559663365410519231 data1 1.5

And as you can see, running a typical SELECT * FROM allows you to see the date we put in and the automatic time stamp.

Ok, so lets make a remote injection to our testdata database into the temp table.

Come to a command prompt like above, and make sure curl in installed.

~$ curl -i -XPOST 'http://localhost:8086/write?precision=s&db=testdata' --data-binary 'temp,Name=data1 value=101'

Lets talk about what’s happening here. You are making a POST to the 8086 endpoint. Then you have a precision declaration at s which means seconds. (you can change that, and I’m pretty sure it defaults to ms but please read the docs ;) ). You point to the testdata database, and inject the values like you did at the command line. Success! You now have a way to remotely add data to InfluxDB. (Bonus, try from remote machine to see if it works too :) )

Ok, so we now can inject data both locally and remotely. Now lets get some real data so we can start playing with our Grafana instance.

Go ahead and wget down the NOAA_data.txt file to your influxdb local machine. Then run the following command to import the data into a new database.

~$ wget https://s3.amazonaws.com/noaa.water-database/NOAA_data.txt
~$ influx -import -path=NOAA_data.txt -precision=s -database=NOAA_water_database
~$ influx
name: databases

Lets go ahead and explore the data, first lets see what tables we can look at:

> USE NOAA_water_database
Using database NOAA_water_database
name: measurements

And now lets look at some data from h2o_temperature.

> SELECT * FROM h2o_temperature LIMIT 5
name: h2o_temperature
time                degrees location
----                ------- --------
1439856000000000000 60      coyote_creek
1439856000000000000 70      santa_monica
1439856360000000000 65      coyote_creek
1439856360000000000 60      santa_monica
1439856720000000000 68      coyote_creek

Awesome! We now have data injected into our database and we can read from it. Now lets open up Grafana.


We need to install it first, if you noticed before hand we just installed InfluxDB. This was on purpose in case you wanted to decoulpe the software. Both use HTTP to talk, so as long as they have network access you can talk each of them. First thing first, lets install Grafana. (I’m choosing stable here because I want this to be long lived.)

~$ echo "deb https://packages.grafana.com/oss/deb stable main"| sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/grafana.list
~$ curl https://packages.grafana.com/gpg.key | sudo apt-key add -
~$ sudo apt-get update
~$ sudo apt-get install grafana -y

Now set to auto-start and start now:

~$ sudo /bin/systemctl daemon-reload
~$ sudo /bin/systemctl enable grafana-server
~$ sudo /bin/systemctl start grafana-server

This will start the grafana-server process as the grafana user, which was created during the package installation. The default HTTP port is 3000 and default user and group is admin.

Default login and password admin/admin.

https://localhost:3000 is where you should be able to see the grafana dashboard.

You should now default to the Add Datasource page. If you don’t see it, click Configuration->Data Source and set your values.

NOTE: Even though the localhost is grey’d out and seems to default for the URL, you have to put in the full thing: http://localhost:8086

Click Save & Test and you should have a Green bar.

Now, lets create a new Graph, click Create->New DashBoard->Choose Visualization.

It will give you a good amount of options, stick with Graph for now.

Click Panel Title->Edit so you get a Query field and edit the “A” so it looks like:

FROM default h2o_temperature WHERE +
SELECT field(degrees) mean() +
GROUP BY time($__interval) fill(null) +
FORMAT AS Time Series

After that you will need to change your range up in the right hand corner to Aug 16 2015 to Sept 19 2015, then click apply. You should see your graph!

Success! You now have a way to inject data into InfluxDB, then visualize it with Grafana!