Chapter 7. Dashboards

In the preceding chapters, we’ve learned how to build custom graphs using the Graphite Composer and render API. The resulting charts can be used to trend and observe almost any metric you can throw at Graphite. But more often than not, you and your team will need to visualize a number of graphs all at once. Correlating disparate data in a single shared view is what dashboards do well, and it’s why so many of us rely on them for our daily operations.

Why Do I Need a Dashboard?

There are some fantastic books out there extolling the virtues of dashboards, how to design them properly, and what makes them effective tools for communicating information. They compel the reader to think about the story being told and how to design around the user experience. Above all, their full-color, glossy pages make me yearn for some great data, a sketchpad, a cup of coffee, and a few spare hours to sit down and sketch out ideas for new visualization concepts.

This is not one of those books.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy all of those things. I absolutely do, and I treasure my collection of books by Edward Tufte, Stephen Few, and Nathan Yau. But realistically, the readers of this book have a far more pressing need for monitoring Docker containers than they do for inspecting political trends across the Midwest.

Regardless, I love that Graphite is impartial towards the type of data it stores—you could just as easily track gourmet doughnut sales in Portland with the same data ...

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