Setting up Prometheus and Grafana on Kubernetes using Helm

Vishal Yadav

By Vishal Yadav

on January 25, 2024

In this blog, we will learn how to set up Prometheus and Grafana on Kubernetes using Helm.

Prometheus along with Grafana is a highly scalable open-source monitoring framework for container orchestration platform. Prometheus probes the application and collects all sorts of data. It stores all this data in its timeseries database. Grafana is a visualization tool. It uses the data from the database to show the data that is meaningful to the user.

Both Prometheus and Grafana are gaining popularity in the observability space as it helps with metrics and alerts. Learning to integrate them using Helm will allow us to monitor our Kubernetes cluster and troubleshoot problems easily. Furthermore, we can deep dive into our cluster's well-being and efficiency, focusing on resource usage and performance metrics within our Kubernetes environment.

We will also learn how to create a simple dashboard on Grafana.

Why using Prometheus and Grafana for monitoring is good

Using Prometheus and Grafana for monitoring has many benefits:

  • Scalability: Both tools are highly scalable and can handle the monitoring needs of small to large Kubernetes clusters.
  • Flexibility: They allow us to create custom dashboards tailored to our specific monitoring requirements.
  • Real-time Monitoring: Prometheus provides real-time monitoring, helping us to quickly detect and respond to issues.
  • Alerting: Prometheus enables us to set up alerts based on specific metrics, so we can be notified when issues arise.
  • Data Visualization: Grafana offers powerful data visualization capabilities, making it easier to understand complex data.
  • Open Source: Both Prometheus and Grafana are open-source, reducing monitoring costs.
  • Community Support: We can benefit from active communities, ensuring continuous development and support.
  • Integration: They seamlessly integrate with other Kubernetes components and applications, simplifying setup.
  • Historical Data: Grafana allows us to explore historical data, aiding in long-term analysis and trend identification.
  • Extensible: Both tools are extensible, allowing us to integrate additional data sources and plugins.
  • Efficient Resource Usage: Prometheus efficiently utilizes resources, ensuring minimal impact on our cluster's performance.

Two common ways to use Prometheus and Grafana on Kubernetes:

  1. Manual Kubernetes deployment: In this method, we need to write  Kubernetes Deployments  and  Services for both Prometheus and Grafana. In the YAML file, we need to put all the settings for Prometheus and Grafana on Kubernetes. Then we send these files to our Kubernetes cluster. But we can end up with many YAML files which can be hard. If we make a mistake in any YAML file, Prometheus and Grafana won't work on Kubernetes.
  2. Using Helm: This is an easy way to send any application container to Kubernetes. Helm is the official package manager for Kubernetes. With Helm, we can make installing, sending, and managing Kubernetes applications easier.

Helm Chart has all the YAML files:

  • Deployments.
  • Services.
  • Secrets.
  • ConfigMaps manifests.

We use these files to send the application container to Kubernetes. Instead of making individual YAML files for each application container, Helm lets us download Helm charts that already have YAML files.

Setting up Prometheus and Grafana using Helm chart

We will use ArtifactHub which offers public and private repositories for Helm Charts. We will use these Helm Charts to arrange the pods and services in our Kubernetes cluster.

To get Prometheus and Grafana working on Kubernetes with Helm, we will start by installing Helm.

Installing Helm on Linux

1sudo apt-get install helm

Installing Helm on Windows

1choco install Kubernetes-helm

Installing Helm on macOS

1brew install helm

We can check out the official  Helm documentation  if we run into any issues while installing the Helm.

The below image represents the successful helm installation on a macOS.

Screenshot 2023-11-01 at 1.09.49 PM.png

For this blog, we’re going to install this Helm chart and by default this chart also installs additional, dependent charts (including Grafana):

To get this Helm chart, let's run this command:

1helm repo add prometheus-community
2helm repo update

Screenshot 2023-11-01 at 1.15.43 PM.png

We have downloaded the latest version of the Prometheus & Grafana.

To install Prometheus Helm Chart on Kubernetes Cluster, let's run the following command:

1helm install my-kube-prometheus-stack prometheus-community/kube-prometheus-stack

Screenshot 2023-11-01 at 1.21.46 PM.png

We have successfully installed Prometheus & Grafana on the Kubernetes Cluster. We can access the Prometheus & Grafana servers via ports 9090 & 80 respectively.

Now let's run the following command to view all the resources created by the Helm Chart in our Kubernetes cluster:

1kubectl get all

Screenshot 2023-11-02 at 11.19.39 AM.png

Helm chart created the following resources:

  • Pods: It hosts the deployed Prometheus Kubernetes application inside the cluster.
  • Replica Sets: A collection of instances of the same application inside the Kubernetes cluster. It enhances application reliability.
  • Deployments: It is the blueprint for creating the application pods.
  • Services: It exposes the pods running inside the Kubernetes cluster. We use it to access the deployed Kubernetes application.
  • Stateful Sets: They manage the deployment of the stateful application components and ensure stable and predictable network identities for these components.
  • Daemon Sets: They ensure that all (or a specific set of) nodes run a copy of a pod, which is useful for tasks such as logging, monitoring, and other node-specific operations.

Run this command to view all the Kubernetes Services for Prometheus & Grafana:

1kubectl get service

Screenshot 2023-11-02 at 11.37.39 AM.png

Listed services for Prometheus and Grafana are:

  • alertmanager-operated
  • kube-prometheus-stack-alertmanager
  • kube-prometheus-stack-grafana
  • kube-prometheus-stack-kube-state-metrics
  • kube-prometheus-stack-operator
  • kube-prometheus-stack-prometheus
  • kube-prometheus-stack-prometheus-node-exporter
  • prometheus-operated

kube-prometheus-stack-grafana and kube-prometheus-stack-prometheus are the ClusterIP type services which means we can only access them within the Kubernetes cluster.

To expose the Prometheus and Grafana to be accessed outside the Kubernetes cluster , we can either use the NodeIP or LoadBalance service.

Exposing Prometheus and Grafana using NodePort services

Let's run the following command, to expose the Prometheus Kubernetes service:

1kubectl expose service kube-prometheus-stack-prometheus --type=NodePort --target-port=9090 --name=prometheus-node-port-service
3kubectl expose service kube-prometheus-stack-grafana --type=NodePort --target-port=3000 --name=grafana-node-port-service

That command will create new services of NodePort type & make the Prometheus and Grafana accessible outside the Kubernetes Cluster on ports 9090 and 80.

Screenshot 2023-11-02 at 11.59.15 AM.png

As we can see, the grafana-node-port-service and prometheus-node-port-service are successfully created and are being exposed on node ports 32489 & 30905

Now, we can run this command and get the external IP of any node to access the Prometheus and Grafana:

1kubectl get nodes -o wide

Screenshot 2023-11-02 at 11.57.17 AM.png

We can use the External-IP and the node ports to access the Prometheus and Grafana dashboards outside the cluster environment.

Prometheus Dashboard

Prometheus Dashboard

Grafana Dashboard

Grafana Dashboard

Run this command, to get the password for the admin user of the Grafana dashboard:

1kubectl get secret --namespace default kube-prometheus-stack-grafana -o jsonpath="{.data.admin-password}" | base64 --decode ; echo

Grafana Dashboard

Upon login to the Grafana dashboard use admin as the username and our generated password. We will see "Welcome to Grafana" homepage as shown below.

Screenshot 2023-11-02 at 12.12.04 PM.png

Since we used the Kube Prometheus Stack helm chart, the data source for Prometheus and Alert Manager is added by default.

Screenshot 2023-11-02 at 12.18.14 PM.png

We can add more data sources, by clicking on the Add new data source button on the top right side.

By default, this Helm chart adds multiple dashboards to monitor the health of the Kubernetes cluster and its resources.

Screenshot 2023-11-02 at 12.22.37 PM.png

Additionally, we also have the option of creating our dashboards from scratch as well as importing multiple Grafana dashboards provided by the Grafana library.

To import a Grafana Dashboard, let's follow these steps:

  • From this Grafana library, we can add any dashboard

    Screenshot 2023-11-02 at 12.28.44 PM.png

  • Select Dashboard and copy the Dashboard ID

    Screenshot 2023-11-02 at 12.34.54 PM.png

  • Under Dashboards page we can get the Import option

    Screenshot 2023-11-02 at 12.32.55 PM.png

  • Under "Import Dashboard" page, we need to paste the Dashboard IP that we copied earlier & click on the Load button.

    Screenshot 2023-11-02 at 12.35.39 PM.png

  • After clicking on the Load button, it will auto-load the dashboard from the library after which we can import the dashboard by clicking on the Import button.

    Screenshot 2023-11-02 at 12.37.50 PM.png

  • Once import is complete, we’ll be redirected to the new imported dashboard which’ll also be visible under the Dashboards page.

    Screenshot 2023-11-02 at 12.39.42 PM.png

    We can use this Node Exporter dashboard to monitor & observe the health of our nodes present in our Kubernetes Cluster.


In this blog, we learned how to integrate Prometheus and Grafana using the helm chart. We also learned how to import dashboards into Grafana from the Grafana library.

In the next blog, we will explore how to integrate Grafana Loki with Grafana and collect and store event-related metrics using the Kubernetes Event Exporter.

If you liked this post, see our full blog archive.

Stay up to date with our blogs. Sign up for our newsletter.

We write about Ruby on Rails, ReactJS, React Native, remote work,open source, engineering & design.