Create dashboards, add charts, customize dashboard layout, and troubleshoot dashboards.

VMware Aria Operations for Applications (formerly known as Tanzu Observability by Wavefront) includes many out-of-the box dashboards, and supports creation and fine-grained customization of dashboards. You organize the information about your environment and fine-tune what users see. For example:

  • Organize charts into sections.
  • Perform global operations such as setting the dashboard time window.
  • Use dashboard variables.

Examine Data with Dashboards and Charts explains how to set dashboard preferences, set the dashboard time window, isolate sources and series, and more.


Users with the Dashboards permission can create a new dashboard with one or multiple charts from metrics, a chart type, or an integration. You can also watch the video here video camera icon. Note that this video was created in 2020 and some of the information in it might have changed. It also uses the 2020 version of the UI.

Create a Dashboard

You have several options for creating a dashboard:

  • Select Dashboards > Create Dashboard, drag in the Data or New Chart widget, and follow the wizard to create a single-chart or multi-chart dashboard.
  • Select Dashboards > Create Dashboard, drag in the Templates widget, and select an integration, then pick the dashboards and charts you’d like to include.
  • Select Dashboards > All Dashboards and click Create Dashboard
  • Select Browse > Metrics and click Create Dashboard.

Create a Dashboard from Metrics Data or Charts

It’s easy to create a dashboard from metrics data or by selecting a chart.

To create a dashboard:
  1. Select Dashboards > Create Dashboard from the toolbar.
  2. Drag the Data or New Chart widget to the canvas
  3. Select metrics, filters, and functions now or later.
  4. In the top right, click Save and specify a name and URL for the dashboard.
    • The Name field supports letters, numbers, characters, and spaces.
    • The URL field supports letters, numbers, underscores, and dashes.
create a dashboard by selecting data or creating a chart

Create a Dashboard from Integration Templates

You can create a dashboard by specifying an integration dashboard as a template.

To create a dashboard:
  1. Select Dashboards > Create Dashboard from the toolbar.
  2. Drag the Integration Templates widget to the canvas.
  3. Select first the source integration, then the dashboard you want as a template, and then one or more charts from that dashboard.
  4. In the top right, click Save and specify a name and URL for the dashboard.
    • The Name field supports letters, numbers, characters, and spaces.
    • The URL field supports letters, numbers, underscores, and dashes.
create a dashboard from a template

Create a Dashboard from a Tracing Template

Our service dashboard includes a set of charts to monitor the trace data sent by each service in your application. You can use the service dashboard as a template to create your dashboard and then customize the charts for your environment.

To create a dashboard:
  1. Select Dashboards > Create Dashboard from the toolbar.
  2. Drag the Tracing Templates widget to the canvas.
  3. Select the charts to import and click Import Charts.
  4. In the top right, click Save and specify a name and URL for the dashboard.
    • The Name field supports letters, numbers, characters, and spaces.
    • The URL field supports letters, numbers, underscores, and dashes.
  5. To view data that is specific to an application and service, use the application and service dropdowns.
create a dashboard from a tracing template

Take a look at the cool actions you can do using these charts:

Create a Dashboard by Importing Sections from Other Dashboards

You can create a dashboard by importing sections from other dashboards.

To create a dashboard:
  1. Select Dashboards > Create Dashboard from the toolbar.
  2. Drag the Dashboard Templates widget to the canvas.
  3. Search for a dashboard by its name or use the Dashboard list filters.
  4. Select the sections to import and click Import sections.
  5. In the top right, click Save and specify a name and URL for the dashboard.
    • The Name field supports letters, numbers, characters, and spaces.
    • The URL field supports letters, numbers, underscores, and dashes.
The new Dashboard Templates button allowing you to select and import dashboard sections.

Edit or Clone a Dashboard

The dashboard menu allows you to create a dashboard, edit a dashboard, clone a dashboard, and look at the dashboard version history.

  • When you clone a dashboard, you copy the dashboard. If you want to customize one of the read-only dashboards, such as integration dashboards, just clone the dashboard and edit the clone.
  • The dashboard version history tracks each saved version and includes the user who saved the version. The result is an audit trail for the dashboard.
To edit a dashboard:
  1. Click the ellipsis icon in the top right of the dashboard and select Edit.
  2. Make changes to the dashboard in edit mode.
  3. Save the dashboard.
edit a dashboard
To clone a dashboard:
  1. Click the ellipsis icon in the top right of the dashboard and select Clone.
  2. Accept the suggested URL and dashboard name or specify new ones. Do not include https:// in the URL string.
  3. Save the cloned dashboard.
clone a dashboard

Examine Metrics in Dashboard View Mode

All users can examine metrics, set the time window, and make temporary changes to dashboards. See Examine Data for details.

An annotated screenshot with the activities listed below that users can do with a dashboard

Here are some examples of what all users can do:

  • Set and fine-tune the time window
  • Find a dashboard section
  • Filter with global filters or dashboard variables
  • Find a dashboard
  • Isolate sources or series

Make Changes to a Dashboard in Edit Mode

When you create a dashboard or when you edit a dashboard, the dashboard is in Edit mode. In Edit mode, you can make several changes at a time, then save all changes to dashboard layout or to charts.

A system dashboard has a lock icon next to the name. lock icon next to tutorial dashboard

Here are some actions you can perform in a dashboard.

dashboard in edit mode

Add a Chart Using Drag and Drop

  1. Drag and drop widgets to the dashboard canvas.
  2. (Optional) Select metrics, filters, and functions.
  3. Scroll up and click Save
add chart wizard

Clone, Delete, or Edit a Chart

Editing a chart is different in View mode and in Edit mode:

  • With a dashboard in View mode, click the chart title to edit a chart.
  • With a dashboard in Edit mode, use the icons on any chart.
  1. Place the cursor inside a chart.
  2. Click one of the icons and follow the prompts.
clone a chart

Add or Edit Dashboard Variables

With the dashboard in Edit mode:
  1. Scroll up to the Variables bar.
  2. Click the Edit icon next to a variable to edit the variable.
  3. Click the Add button to add a variable.
select variables

Change Dashboard Layout

With the dashboard in Edit mode:
  • Rearrange charts within section or across sections (12 charts per row maximum). The grid determines what's possible.
  • Click the canvas to add a section.
  • Delete or move a section using the icons on the right of the section bar.
add a section

Add a New or Cloned Chart

When you create a chart using Dashboards > Create Chart, you’re prompted to save it to a dashboard. When you edit a chart, you can save to the current dashboard, or save a clone to a different dashboard.

  1. With the dashboard in View mode, create or edit a chart.
  2. Click the v icon next to the Save button and make a choice:
    • To save to an existing dashboard, start typing the name of the dashboard, select the dashboard, and click Insert.
    • To save to a new dashboard, click Save to New Dashboard, enter the dashboard name and URL, and click Create. Specify only the URL string and do not include https://.
  3. When the target dashboard opens in Edit mode, click and drag the chart to the location of your choice and click Save at the top.
save to dashboard

Undo and Revert Undo Operations

You can undo dashboard changes.

  1. Edit the dashboard and make one or more changes.
  2. Click the icons to undo and to redo the operations.
Undo and redo icons

Set Dashboard Display Preferences and Settings

For each dashboard, you can customize display preferences and settings.

To set the dashboard settings:
  1. Navigate to a dashboard and click the ellipsis icon in the top right corner of the dashboard.
  2. Select Edit.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Make selections in the dialog:
    1. Set the default time window. You can later override the time window.
      If you click Set current time window as the default you automatically apply the time window changes that you have currently made to the dashboard.
      Note: Time window settings on a dashboard level apply to all charts for which you have selected to use the Default to dashboard time window option. If you have set a fixed time window on a chart, the time window on that specific chart won’t be affected.
    2. Deselect the Show Variable Bar by Default check box to hide the variables for the dashboard. Users can still show the variables bar using the show or hide variable icon icon.
    3. Select whether you want to turn off live refresh for dynamic variables.
  5. Optionally, change the advanced settings.
    1. Click Advanced.
    2. Enter an event query to display the Events on charts.
      See Specify an Events() Query for a Dashboard.
    3. Select Include Obsolete Metrics to allow queries to return obsolete metrics.

      Tip: To see the obsolescence period for your metrics and sources, hover over the Include Obsolete Metrics information icon.

      Warning: Including obsolete metrics might negatively affect performance. It applies to all charts in the dashboard and dashboard performance might suffer.

    4. Select Hide Warning Icons on Charts to stop showing warning icons on any chart in the dashboard.

      Warning: The result is a cleaner-looking chart, but you might miss important information.

  6. Click Accept, and click Save.
Set the dashboard preferences

A screenshot of the dashboard general settings window.

Edit the Dashboard JSON

Most users create and edit dashboards by using the GUI or automate the process with the REST API. But at times, it’s convenient to edit the dashboard JSON directly from the UI and see results immediately.

  1. To put the dashboard in Edit mode, click the ellipsis icon, select Edit, and then click JSON.
  2. Consider selecting Code from the drop-down menu. Code view supports adding information.
  3. Consider a select all/copy/paste into a JSON editor for full validation.
  4. Add condition information, as shown in the example below, paste the revised content back into the dashboard editor, and click Accept
Switch from Tree view to Code view

Conditional Dashboard Sections

You can make dashboard sections conditional by using the JSON editor. If a dashboard has conditional sections:

  • Each section is shown only if the condition is met, and invisible in the Jump To menu and the dashboard.
  • If the condition is met:
    • The Jump To menu shows a number to indicate how many conditional sections are displayed. Default color is grey.
    • A customizable tooltip indicates that the section is conditional.
    • The number and tooltip also display next to the conditional section.

The following JSON snippets shows dashboard attributes and dashboard sections to use for conditional sections.

Customize Dashboard Attributes

 dashboardAttributes: {
   // Text to replace the "Jump To" label on the dashboard view page.
   // This property is optional.
   jumpToLabel: string
   // When section conditions are met, a count badge is rendered to the right of the "Jump To"
   // dropdown control.  The default badge style is SMOKE.  Users can customize this style by setting
   // the badge color here.  Valid values are SEVERE, WARN, INFO, SUCCESS, and SMOKE.
   // This property is optional.
   conditionBadgeColor: string

Customize Dashboard Sections to Be Conditional

 sections: [
     name: string  // Section name, if not specified, the text "Untitled" is shown in the section header
     rows: array   // Array of visual components in this section
     // This property is optional.  If specified, then query is required.
     sectionFilter: {
       // Query to run to determine if the section should be shown.  The section is shown if the last
       // value in the time series is non-zero.
       query: string
       // Text to show as tooltip when users mouse over the condition check-circle icon.
       // If not specified, then the query is shown as the tooltip.
       // This property is optional.
       description: string
       // Time in seconds to add to start time for condition query.  By default, condition query uses
       // the dashboard time window, but you can use this property to increase the time window of the
       // condition query.
       // This property is optional.
       leadingTimeWindowSec: integer

Example: Add Conditional Sections

This somewhat contrived example:

  • Uses a condition that’s always true for the Proxy Troubleshooting section.
  • Uses the SEVERE color to show conditional sections are included.
  • Specifies the tooltip in the description field.

Here’s the snippet that:

  • Changes the label from Jump To to New Label, a good way to make sure things are working while experimenting.
  • Sets the color for the condition badge, a small circle with the number of conditions inside. If the condition is met, the badge is shown on the Jump To menu and on next to the conditional section.
  "name": "Example Dashboard",
  "dashboardAttributes": {
    "jumpToLabel": "New Label",
    "conditionBadgeColor": "SEVERE"

Here’s the section filter that conditionally shows the Proxy Troubleshooting section. This example uses a query that is always true (1 > 0), and includes the tooltip text Condition for this section was met.

"sections": [
    "name": "Proxy Troubleshooting",
    "sectionFilter": {
        "query": "1 > 0",
        "description": "Condition for this section was met"

After you’ve saved these changes:

The Jump To menu uses the NEW LABEL text and shows 1 to indicate there's one conditional section, in red (SEVERE). Jump to menu with highlighted number and Proxy Troubleshooting highlighted. Hover text alerts the user that the section is conditional - you can change the text as appropriate. Hover text indicates condition has been met.

Ensure Optimal Dashboard Performance

Video: Optimize Dashboard Performance

Watch this video to learn how to optimize dashboard and query performance. Note that this video was created in 2021 and some of the information in it might have changed. It also uses the 2021 version of the UI.

Our service can ingest and process very large amounts of data. Here’s what you can do to ensure performance is optimal.

Watch for Cardinality Issues

Ensure your data shape works well. Ingest only time series you need – and then look only at those data you’re interested in.

Optimize Query Performance

Wavefront Query Language (WQL) has a rich set of options. See Optimize Query Performance for details.

  • At times, you have to choose between precision and speed.
  • At other times, customizing your query to filter out data you don’t need improves performance significantly.

Use Sampling Settings for the Dashboard or Individual Charts

You can limit the number of time series to 100 either at the dashboard level or for individual charts. See Improve Display Speed with the Sampling Option for details.

Use Live Mode with Care

Dashboards are either set to a specified time window or to Live mode. In Live mode, the time window for a chart determines how often the charts in a dashboard refresh.

  • Charts with a time window of 5-10 minutes reload every second.
  • Charts with a larger time window (e.g. 4 hours or 1 day) reload every 30 second.

Do not run charts with a 5-10 minute time window for a long time in Live mode.

Display the Events You Need

Querying metrics and querying events are different tasks. By default, each chart displays all source events and system events as black points or stars at the bottom of each chart. Those queries affect chart and dashboard performance. With the 2022-40.x release, the default option for newly created dashboards is set to None, i.e. all events from every chart in the dashboard are hidden by default.

You can:

  • Select an individual chart, click the Format tab, and deselect Display Source Events.
  • Adjust events for the whole dashboard by using the Show Events drop-down menu in the top right.

See Control Event Overlays for details and screenshots.

Use Dynamic Dashboard Variables with Care

Dynamic dashboard variables are used to display a list of possible values to the end user. The values are computed by a query.

Avoid using expensive queries in dynamic dashboard variables. If the query for the dynamic dashboard variable is complex, it slows down the dashboard loading. Keep queries simple, and consider using a derived metric, which uses a query that has already been executed and stored.

Turn off Dynamic Dashboard Variable Live Refresh

When a dashboard has a lot of variables with interdependencies, it might make sense to turn off live refresh for dynamic variables. Only users with Dashboards permission can toggle this setting.

  1. Open the dashboard for edit, either from the Dashboards browser or from the ellipsis icon in the top right of the dashboard..
  2. Click Settings
  3. Select Disable Variable Refresh in Live Mode.

Going forward, Variable Refresh Disabled info text show up to the right of the variables bar. Users no longer see the potentially distracting refresh of each chart. An explicit brower refresh updates all variables.

save to dashboard

Identify Unused Dashboards

Over time, as more and more dashboards are created, there will be dashboards that are no longer in use. To keep your environment clean and to ensure that useful dashboards can be easily found, it’s a good practice to delete unused dashboards on a regular basis. To do that, you must first identify which dashboards are no longer being used or viewed.

  • Use the Dashboard Browser to sort the dashboards in ascending order by the number of views over the last day, week, or month. This puts the fewest viewed dashboards at the top of the list. Dashboard browser with Sort menu

  • Use the REST API and UI to check for dashboards that have not been viewed over a time window of your choice, including more than 4 weeks (a month).

    1. Get the IDs of all dashboards.
      1. From the gear icon on the toolbar, select API Documentation.
      2. Expand the Dashboard category and click the GET api/v2/dashboard request.

      3. Click Execute.

        The id value for each entry in the response is the dashboard ID.

    2. In the UI, find all dashboards that have been viewed over the time window of interest.

      The internal metric ~wavefront.dashboard.<dashboard_id>.views tracks the views of each dashboard.

      Create a table chart with the query of the type:

      aliasMetric(mmax(12w, ts(~wavefront.dashboard.*.views)), 2)

      You will get the IDs of the dashboards that have been viewed over the last 12 weeks.

    3. Find all unviewed dashboards.

      Now that you have the IDs of all dashboards and the IDs of all dashboards that have been viewed, you can take the difference and get all of the IDs of the unviewed dashboards.

Delete and Recover a Deleted Dashboard

You can delete a single or multiple dashboards that you no longer use. After you delete a dashboard, it is moved to the trash for 30 days before it gets permanently deleted. If a dashboard has been permanently deleted, users will no longer be able to restore it without the assistance of a Super Admin. See Recover a Permanently Deleted Dashboard for details.

To delete a dashboard:

  1. Select Dashboards > All Dashboards.
  2. Search for and select the check boxes of the dashboards that you want to delete.
  3. Click the delete icon on top and confirm the deletion.

To restore a deleted dashboard from the trash:

  1. Select Dashboards > All Dashboards.
  2. From the All menu in the top right of the list of dashboards, select Deleted.

    Change the dashboard view from all to deleted.

  3. Search for and select the dashboard that you want to restore.
  4. Click the ellipsis icon and select Restore.

    Restore a dashboard from the trash.

Audit Dashboard Changes

Users need to audit dashboard changes in several situations:

  • A dashboard was saved with incorrect changes and the previous configuration isn’t known.
  • A dashboard was changed. An audit needs to determine when it was updated and by whom.
  • A dashboard was deleted. Audit needs to determine when it was deleted and by whom.

Each time you save a dashboard, you create a dashboard version. Up to 100 versions are supported.

To audit or restore a dashboard:

  1. Find the Dashboard in the Dashboards Browser.
  2. Click the ellipsis icon and select Version History.
  3. Select a version and revert or clone that version.
screenshot ellipsis menu, versions highlited

version list, ellipsis menu shows versions

Troubleshoot and Learn More!

The Customer Success team prepared this KB article about migrating data between environments: