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Grafana Open Sources OnCall, Releases Grafana Mimir

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With the broader mission of bringing a ‘Big Tent’ vision to observability, allowing users to pick and choose the best tools and compose them together into a kind of coherent and easy-to-use observability tool, Grafana Labs recently launched two new offerings — Grafana OnCall OSS and Grafana Mimir. In this episode, I sat down with Tom Wilkie, VP of Technology at Grafana Labs, to learn more about these new offerings.

As usual, we talked about different challenges developers face in the modern cloud-native world, how the observability space is evolving and how Grafana Labs is solving some of the most challenging problems of the space. It was a very deep discussion with Wilkie.

Highlights from this video interview are:

  • Wilkie explains that they have completed their original vision of building and launching Mimir, the horizontally scalable time series database. He discusses the new projects the company is working on such as the release of Grafana OnCall, the company’s incident response tool.
  • Grafana Labs aims to allow users to pick and choose the best easy-to-use observability tools. Observability can be problematic to define since it is not one tool or technology. Wilkie sees it as understanding the behavior of an application and some infrastructure. He goes into detail about why observability is so important.
  • Wilkie feels that many organizations do not know what is going on in their production systems, such as what is their SLO performance, and the utilization of their resources. Grafana Labs provides users with the observability tools to do this with a beautiful UX. Wilkie goes into detail about how they are making observability more enjoyable for developers.
  • Mimir is an improvement on the Cortex open source project, which was started five years ago to make it more scalable and easier to use. Wilkie talks about how well it performs with large workloads with heavy usage. He discusses the key features of Mimir and how it brings together data and metrics from the whole organization into a single place.
  • OnCall was the product of Grafana’s work to build a modern open source composable tool for managing alerts, escalations, and on-call schedules. Wilkie discusses why OnCall is so important to Grafana and how it helps the challenges of oncall.
  • Wilkie discusses the origin of the name OnCall and explains the tool’s key uses.
  • Grafana Labs’ key mission is to make scalable, distributed systems approachable for those who are short of time or lack expertise. Grafana Cloud also provides a turnkey solution that works out of the box so that within a matter of minutes you can have a fully running observability system. Wilkie discusses why he feels that this is an important offering for their business and the community. He discusses the role of open source for the company and why it pays for them to invest in it.
  • Wilkie explains why the Grafana community is so critical to the company and goes into detail about Grafana CONline, the online version of Grafana Con. He tells us that Grafana is being used in many industries and use cases and the community events are where these unique use cases can be represented. He discusses the three key features of Grafana 9 that was released this year: improved graphical Prometheus querying experience, unified alerting, and UX improvements.

Connect with Tom Wilkie (LinkedIn, Twitter)
Learn more about Grafana Labs (Twitter)

The summary of the show is written by Emily Nicholls.

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