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Graph explorer

A highly interactive dashboard to satisfy varying ad-hoc information needs across a multitude of metrics in a very powerful way:

  • The core of graph-explorer is a database containing your metrics extended with tags (key-value pairs that represent server, service, type, unit, ...)
  • You can use expressive queries which leverage this metadata to filter targets, group them into graphs, process and aggregate them on the fly. Something like SQL but metrics for rows and a list of graph definitions as a result set. All graphs are built dynamically.

The graphs themselves support annotated events and are also interactive because it uses timeserieswidget Furthermore, we aim for minimal, hackable code and as simple as possible deploy/install.


It also has:

  • dashboards which are pages that show N queries along with their results (0-N graphs each) and a (url-driven) field that gets applied to all queries, which you can use to narrow down to a specific server, apply a timeframe, etc.
  • an alerting system allowing you to set thresholds on queries or plain old graphite query strings.

Learn the basics

Metrics 2.0

In graphite, a metric has a name and a corresponding time series of values. Graph-explorer's metrics are structured: they contain key-value tags that describe all their attributes, the unit, the metric type, etc. You can generate the tag database by using plugins that parse metrics using regular expressions, or by tagging them as they flow into graphite. See the Structured Metrics page

GEQL, the Graph-Explorer Query Language

the Graph-Explorer Query Language is designed to:

  • be minimal, use a simple syntax and get a lot done with little input.
  • let you compose graphs from metrics in a flexible way: you can use tags and pattern matching to filter, group, process and aggregate targets and manipulate how the graph gets displayed.
  • let you create custom views of the exact information you need, and let you compare and correlate across different aspects.

At the most basic level you start by typing patterns that will filter out the metrics you're looking for. Then, you can extend the query by typing statements that have special meanings.

For more information see the Graph-Explorer Query Language page


  • python2: python2.6 or higher
  • install elasticsearch and run it (super easy, see docs just set a unique cluster name)
  • Graphite 0.9.10 or higher (tested with 0.9.12)
  • python2-pysqlite (if you want to use the alerting feature)


Using docker

you can easily use docker and the vimeo/graph-explorer docker image. Follow the instructions there

Via operating system packages

not sure which distros have graph-explorer packages. TBA.

Via python

There's two ways to go about this, from source and via pypi (see below).

But first an optional, though recommended step. Using virtualenv, you can install all packages in an isolated directory, so that you never have issues with conflicting library versions, conflicts with packages from other package managers, you can easily remove the install, etc.

path=/where/do/you/want/to/install  # this can be anywhere
virtualenv $path
source $path/bin/activate

The actual installation takes care of all dependencies and works the same whether you use virtualenv or not. See below for either the pypi or the git source approach.

From pypi

Pypi is the python package repository.

pip install graph-explorer

From source

Get a code checkout, initialize all git submodules and go in the directory, like so:

git clone --recursive && cd graph-explorer

This will give you the latest bleeding edge code (master branch), which may be buggy. You can switch to the latest stable release with git checkout v<version>

The releases page has more info, but don't download from there, the downloads don't contain the needed submodules! Graph Explorer version numbering is based on semver.


python install

Instead of that, if you want to hack on Graph-Explorer, you can run.

python develop

This is like an installation, but it links back to the code. So when you run graph-explorer, it will automatically reload the server when you modify any python file, and changes in assets (js, css, ...) are visible for new requests. Templates however are cached by bottle and still need a manual restart for changes to become effective.

Configuration of graph-explorer

Configuration of graphite server

you'll need a small tweak to allow this app to request data from graphite. For apache2 this works:

Header set Access-Control-Allow-Origin "*"
Header set Access-Control-Allow-Methods "GET, OPTIONS, POST"
Header set Access-Control-Allow-Headers "origin, authorization, accept"


Make sure Graph-Explorer can write to the directories that you configured the log (and if enabled, alerting database file) to be in.

Linux / Unix

  • default, with Paste (included): my_config_file.cfg and your page is available at <ip>:8080

  • alternatively, if you use gunicorn, you can run it with multi-workers like so: gunicorn -w 4 app:'default_app()' -b


python %VIRTUAL_ENV%\scripts\ my_config_file.cfg and your page is available at <ip>:8080

or with Powershell:

python $env:VIRTUAL_ENV/scripts/ my_config_file.cfg


  • no graphs show up and I don't know why.

first check in the top section if there are target matching and 'total graphs' is > 0.
if not, your query expression might be too restricting, or maybe it didn't find your metrics from metrics.json (see 'targets matching: x/total')
if yes, check for any errors in the javascript console, (in firefox you need firebug, in chrome and such 'tools->javascript console')

also check all network requests in the network tab, and make sure they return http 200 or 304 especially, check that the http requests to graphite/render/?<...> return actual data. you may be suffering from this graphite bug or this graphite bug or maybe your graphite version is too old.

  • I get some error wrt graphite/apache cors access restriction

see section 'Configuration of graphite server' above

  • Graph Explorer pulls too much data over the network

This is because graphite doesn't support consolidation on its data API yet.


wiki page

Unit tests

python test

Getting in touch

  • irc: #graph-explorer on freenode
  • github issues for bugs, feature requests, questions, feedback