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Grafana Connector

Molecula provides a Grafana plugin, which can be used to interact with FeatureBase (4.0 or higher ) to run queries and view visualizations of results. Note that this is unrelated to using Grafana for operational monitoring of the FeatureBase cluster. For details on that, see the monitoring reference page


Install Grafana

For the best experience, install Grafana version 7 using the binary, not brew. The plugin requires version 7 or greater, but version 7 works best. For convenience, here are the commands for mac. For other platforms, check the link.

curl -O
tar -zxvf grafana-enterprise-7.5.13.darwin-amd64.tar.gz

Install Plugin

As of FeatureBase 4.3, a Grafana plugin archive should be included in your release archive. Unpack and note the location of the /dist folder.

In Grafana’s configuration file grafana-7-x.x/conf/defaults.ini point the plugins field to the /dist folder.

plugins = /path/to/grafana-plugin/molecula/dist

Uncomment and add the plugin id to allow_loading_unsigned_plugins:

allow_loading_unsigned_plugins = featurebase-datasource

The port which defaults to 3000 can be modified by setting the http_port field if necessary.

Launch Grafana

From grafana-7-x.x/ run the following command:

./bin/grafana-server web
  • Direct your browser to Grafana which should be running on localhost:3000 by default.

Add Datasource

  • Sign in or create credentials (you can use admin/admin if logging in for the first time)
  • Add Molecula as a datasource in Grafana and enter FeatureBase server information
    • The welcome page should include a link to the Add data source page.
    • If your molecula-datasource plugin is installed, it should appear in the data source list.

Grafana Welcome
Click “Add your first data source”

Grafana Add Datasource
Select the “Molecula” option. The “unsigned” label is expected

Configure Server

Point Grafana to a running FeatureBase server

  • Default FeatureBase address: localhost
  • Default FeatureBase GRPC port: 20101
  • Max Query Results limits the number of records returned by the server if no Limit call is provided.

Grafana Configure Datasource
If Featurebase server is running, you will see a similar message indicating success

Configure Authentication

If FeatureBase server has authentication enabled, select Auth Enabled Server in the Grafana configuration page for the FeatureBase data source. Three new fields will be displayed: Email, Password, and Server CA Cert .

  • Email: the email for the user account associated with the configured IDP.
  • Password: the password for the user account associated with the configured IDP.
  • Server CA Cert: the contents of the certificate used for TLS on the FeatureBase server

Grafana Configure Authentication
These are secure fields. Contents will be hidden once saved and will require resetting to change the value

Other Installation Methods

To install Grafana using Docker:

Run the Grafana Docker image with this command:

docker run -d  \
    -p 3000:3000 \   # app http port
    -p 20101:20101 \ # FeatureBase grpc port
    -v "$(pwd)":/var/lib/grafana/plugins \   # plugin directory volume mount
    --name=grafana \
    -e "GF_PLUGINS_ALLOW_LOADING_UNSIGNED_PLUGINS=molecula-datasource" \   # grafana configuration environment variable

After any changes to the plugin directory, restart the container with docker restart grafana.

Configure the datasource using host.docker.internal for the server and 20101 the grpc port

Other methods:

If your environment requires a different installation method, please refer to the Grafana documentation.

Creating Panels


The plugin supports any SQL and PQL queries that FeatureBase supports. When using PQL, the index must be selected from the respective drop down.

Query FeatureBase through Grafana
Enter your SQL or PQL query

Fetching Ids

By default, _id will be filtered out in query results. Use the ‘Fetch _id’ toggle if required.

Data Series (Format As)

Query results can be broken up in different ways to aid the creation of different types of visualizations.

Single Series

Typically used for a single data-series on a time based plot such as, the ‘Graph’ panel. This will require a TimestampField and a numeric field in the query results.

Special Consideration:

  • DateInt fields will be interpreted as the number of seconds from the Unix epoch if it is named ‘timestamp’.
Extract(Limit(All(), limit=1000), Rows(data_size), Rows(timestamp))

Series By Row

Typically used for aggregation queries where each row is a distinct category with a statistic.


As single series, this would return the count of each distinct city in a single table. But as ‘Series By Row’, it will promote each row to be its own data series.

Series By Metric

Typically used when you want to break up the query results into different data-series by the distinct values in a particular column. The column itself must be included in the query and selected as the ‘metric’.

Extract(Limit(All(), limit=1000), Rows(data_size), Rows(timestamp), Rows(customer))

If ‘customer’ contains the distinct values of ‘CVS’ and ‘Sprint’, the result will be two separate data series.

Use Grafana Variables

  • You can insert Grafana variables in your query to serve as placeholders. The variable is prepended with a $: $var_name.
Extract(Limit(Row(customer=$customer), limit=1000), Rows(data_size), Rows(timestamp), Rows(customer))
  • You can define the values this variable can take in Dashboard Settings > Variables > New.
  • Name the variable to match what you used in the query
  • For ‘Type’ select ‘Custom’ or ‘Query’
    • If ‘Custom’, provide a comma separated list of values
    • If ‘Query’, select Molecula as the datasource and provide a SQL query, e.g. SELECT DISTINCT level FROM logs. PQL cannot be used here.
      • To use field names for variable values, use a query like (useful for Rows calls):
        • show fields from <index>
      • To use field values for variable values, use a query like (useful for Row calls):
        • select distinct <field> from <index> limit <integer>
  • Under Selection Options, you can choose if you would like users to be able to select multiple (or all) values for the variable

Grafana Variables Edit
Define your variable by setting the Name, Type, Query (or Custom values), and whether you would like the variable to take multiple values

At the top of the dashboard, you can now dynamically select a value with which to process your query.

Grafana Variable Select
Select a value for your variable in the drop down on the dashboard

Variable Interpolation

Variables can be used in the following calls. Interpolation of the variable differs for each call and is demonstrated below:


  • $var1 has the values: [“Informational”, “Debug”].
  • User input: Count(Row(level=$var1))
  • Interpolated query: Count(Union(Row(level="Informational"), Row(level="Debug")))
  • Conceptually, this is an OR of all selected values


  • $var2 has the values: [“customer”, “region”].
  • User input: GroupBy(Rows($var2))
  • Interpolated query: GroupBy(Rows("customer"), Rows("region"))

NOTE: Considering how multi-valued variables are interpolated in Rows calls, you will not want to use it standalone like this: Rows($var) since you’ll get: Rows(value1), Rows(value2),… which is not a valid query. Instead, you’ll want to use it as a child of another call like GroupBy.


  • $var3 has the values: [5,10,15]
  • User input: Intersect(ConstRow(columns=$var3), Row(region="NW"))
  • Interpolated query: Intersect(ConstRow(columns=[5,10,15]), Row(region="NW"))

Time Range Controls

Grafana has time range controls at the top of each graph and dashboard.

Grafana Variable Select
Grafana time range selector

To utilize these controls, you must associate it with a field in your dataset. This can be done by adding the field name to TimeField in the query editor. The type of this field must be timestamp.

Grafana Variable Select
Select the field you would like to associate with Grafana’s time range controls