Building custom dashboards

While Instana provides curated dashboards to support common use-cases and remove the necessity for custom dashboards, there are situations where a custom dashboard is the right tool for the job.

There are three custom dashboarding options with Instana:

  1. Build native custom dashboards from directly within Instana as described in the rest of this page.

  2. Leverage our Grafana plugin when you'd like to combine Instana data with other data sources, or if you have advanced dashboarding needs.

  3. Query our Web REST API and build dashboards in the tool of your choice for complete flexibility.

Native Custom Dashboard

Create a Custom Dashboard

To create a custom dashboard, simply navigate to the landing page and click on the "Instana" dropdown, then give the dashboard a name. The best names are easy to remember and if you plan to share it, carry meaning to others in your organization.

This dashboard will by default only be accessible to you, but you may choose to share it with others later.

Create a Custom Dashboard

Adding a Widget

Click on the "Add Widget" button to start creating a new widget. You will be able to place it and resize it freely on your dashboard once it is created. Select a widget type. We are constantly adding new widget types. Check out the examples section.

Add Widget

Choose the Data

All your high-cardinality data and the underlying correlation (leveraging the Dynamic is also available to you within custom dashboarding.

For some widget types, it is possible to display several datasets, each with its own datasource.

Select a data source and a metric to render a preview at the bottom of the dialog.

  • For Applications, Events, Websites and Mobile Apps, select a metric from the dropdown list.
  • For Infrastructure & Platforms Metrics, a catalog is available. Not all metrics may be listed. You can use the search bar to find a specific metric. It is also possible to filter the catalog on relevant metrics using the widget's filter.

Select an Aggregation

Matching data points representing the selected metric are aggregated in different ways. In case a single value is requested, such as for a single number widget or a pie chart, the aggregation spans over the whole timeframe. For time series widgets, the aggregation is done per bucket.

Buckets or single values aggregate values in these different ways:

  • mean: average value
  • min: minimum value
  • max: maximum value
  • sum: sum of values
  • percentile (25th, 50th, ...): value for which x percent of values are lower, with x as the percentile.

For the infrastructure data source, you can choose to perform a sum over all the individual metric data series that are included in your chart. For instance, if you are showing CPU usage for docker containers, you may want to calculate the mean CPU usage for each container over a time-bucket, but show the sum of these numbers across all containers.

Cross-series Sum

For more details, see the aggregation documentation.

Add a Filter

Data rendered by widgets can be filtered on specific tags using the query builder.

The following widget is filtered on the Test application for service cart on the GET /card/:id endpoint and only for successful HTTP calls with a status of 200.

Filter Configurator

Select a Group

Depending on the type of widget, it may be possible to display groups.

The following widget is grouped on Service Name.

Grouping Configurator

After choosing a tag to group by, you can specify whether you want to show the top or bottom results in the chart. The groups are sorted by the metric and aggregation that are displayed on the chart. You may also choose to show the aggregation of all other groups (that are not part of the Top or Bottom groups) as a separate value on the chart. The other groups are also aggregated using this metric and aggregation.

Please note that grouping is disabled when configuring non-stacked charts or when configuring multiple metrics for one chart.

Compare to the Past

To compare widgets to past timeframes, we provide a Time Shift functionality as can be seen in the image above.


Here are a few examples depending on the type of data to display

Advanced Features

Make It Your Landing Page

If there is a custom dashboard you view frequently, you may want to make it your default dashboard. That way, every time you visit Instana it will be the first thing you see. This is a per-user preference, so don't worry – it will not affect your colleagues.

Share a Dashboard

To make your dashboard accessible to others, simply specify it as a public dashboard. You may also add others as editors, but otherwise it will remain view-only.

Share a Custom Dashboard

Display on a Big Screen

Select TV Mode if you want to display the dashboard on a big screen or TV. We hide the main navigation and header for an optimal large-format viewing experience.

TV Mode

Custom Dashboards API

You can use the Web Rest API to manage custom dashboards. We recommend that you leverage the Edit as JSON feature found within our user interface to construct the desired request payloads. Specifically to help you build correct widget configurations and access rules.