Enhancing Kubernetes Observability with Prometheus and Grafana

In the rapidly evolving landscape of cloud-native technologies, observability has become a cornerstone for maintaining the health and performance of applications. Monitoring is no longer just about collecting metrics; it's about gaining deep insights into application behavior. One of the most powerful tools for achieving this level of observability is Prometheus in combination with Grafana. In this blog post, we'll walk through setting up Prometheus and Grafana on Kubernetes to monitor application performance and visualize metrics.

Why Prometheus and Grafana?

Prometheus is a time-series database and monitoring system that is highly suited for observing cloud-native applications. Grafana is an open-source platform for monitoring and observability that allows you to query, visualize, and alert on metrics from different data sources, including Prometheus.

These tools complement each other perfectly: Prometheus excels at collecting and storing metrics, while Grafana provides a highly configurable interface to visualize and analyze these metrics.

Setting Up Prometheus on Kubernetes

1. Prerequisites

Before you get started, ensure you have the following:

  • A Kubernetes cluster (You can use Minikube for local development or any managed Kubernetes service)
  • kubectl configured to interact with your cluster
  • Helm installed on your local machine

2. Install Prometheus using Helm

We'll use Helm to deploy Prometheus. First, add the Prometheus community Helm chart repository:

helm repo add prometheus-community https://prometheus-community.github.io/helm-charts
helm repo update

Next, install Prometheus:

helm install prometheus prometheus-community/prometheus

Verify the installation by checking the pods:

kubectl get pods -l app=prometheus

3. Access Prometheus Dashboard

To access the Prometheus dashboard, forward the Prometheus service port to your local machine:

kubectl port-forward svc/prometheus-server 9090:80

Open your browser and go to http://localhost:9090. You should see the Prometheus dashboard.

Setting Up Grafana on Kubernetes

1. Install Grafana using Helm

Add the Grafana Helm chart repository:

helm repo add grafana https://grafana.github.io/helm-charts
helm repo update

Install Grafana:

helm install grafana grafana/grafana --set adminPassword='admin' --set service.type=NodePort

Verify the installation by checking the pods:

kubectl get pods -l app.kubernetes.io/name=grafana

2. Access Grafana Dashboard

To access the Grafana dashboard, forward the Grafana service port to your local machine:

kubectl port-forward svc/grafana 3000:80

Open your browser and go to http://localhost:3000. Log in with the default credentials (username: admin, password: admin).

3. Configure Prometheus as a Data Source in Grafana

In the Grafana dashboard, navigate to Configuration > Data Sources > Add data source. Select Prometheus and enter the following details:

# Prometheus Data Source Configuration
URL: http://prometheus-server.default.svc.cluster.local:80

Click Save & Test. You should see a message indicating that the data source is working.

4. Create a Grafana Dashboard

To create a new dashboard, go to Create > Dashboard > Add new panel. Use the Prometheus data source to query metrics and visualize them. For example, you can use the following query to monitor the number of HTTP requests:


Customize the visualization and repeat the process to add more panels to your dashboard.

Common Pitfalls and Troubleshooting

Setting up Prometheus and Grafana on Kubernetes is straightforward, but here are some common pitfalls and tips to troubleshoot issues:

  • Network Issues: Ensure that the services can communicate with each other. Use port forwarding to debug connectivity issues.
  • Resource Limits: Make sure your Kubernetes cluster has sufficient resources to run Prometheus and Grafana. Monitor resource usage and adjust limits if necessary.
  • Permissions: Check for any RBAC (Role-Based Access Control) issues that might be preventing Prometheus or Grafana from accessing resources.
  • Metric Collection: Verify that Prometheus is correctly scraping metrics from your applications. Debug scrape configurations in Prometheus if needed.


Prometheus and Grafana are powerful tools for monitoring and observability in cloud-native environments. By setting them up on Kubernetes, you can gain deep insights into your application performance and ensure the reliability of your services. Start experimenting with different metrics and visualizations to fully leverage the capabilities of these tools. Have you faced challenges while setting up Prometheus and Grafana? Share your experiences and tips in the comments below!