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Beginner’s Guide: Kibana

by John Cirelly - Last Updated: May 16, 2024

Kibana Beginners Guide

Kibana is a tool that is used for log and time-series analytics, application monitoring, and operational intelligence use cases. It also allows for the visualization and study of data. Histograms, line graphs, pie charts, heat maps, and built-in support for geographic analysis are just some of the sophisticated and user-friendly features offered by this software. Because it offers a tight interface with Elasticsearch, a well-known analytics and search engine, Kibana has become the go-to option for visually representing data.

To know more about it, let’s dig deep into this Kibana Beginner’s Guide to give you a clear perspective in this section.

What is Kibana?


Any entrepreneur or company that wants to view data in a quick, efficient, and accurate manner will find Kibana to be a tool that makes their dreams come true. The fact that the program gives users the option to choose how data is presented is a significant expansion in the range of choices available to users. Because it provides dynamic visualizations, this tool makes it possible for even users who are unsure of the most effective method to present data quickly and simply choose an optimal configuration.

Kibana gives users the ability to design their own one-of-a-kind visualization choice in addition to providing more conventional alternatives for data representation, such as histograms, line graphs, pie charts, sunbursts, geographic map displays, and so on.

Kibana’s machine learning features also make it possible for users to recognize and investigate patterns of relationships in Elasticsearch data, as well as to recognize and investigate abnormalities in Elasticsearch data. This is all made possible by Kibana. Those who are responsible for analyzing and compiling data have the added benefit of being able to easily share the information that they have gathered with their superiors, coworkers, and customers.

This is made possible by Kibana’s dashboard sharing options and the program’s ability to allow dashboards to be inserted into internal wiki or website pages. Kibana also can allow dashboards to be shared with customers. An additional option is to provide the URL of the dashboard in question, or one may even export significant data in either PDF or CSV format. Because it comes pre-installed with its Node.js server, customers do not need to install any additional code or make any investments in new or updated infrastructure to execute the program.

The fact that Kibana is open source means that the application will continue to progress and advance along with the times, thereby supplying proprietors of businesses with new features and conveniences as and when they are required.

An Introduction to Elastic Kibana

The log data that is accumulated in Elasticsearch Clusters can be explored, visualized, and used to construct a dashboard with the help of a tool called Kibana, which has a graphical user interface. Kibana and Elasticsearch and Logstash are three open-source tools that were developed by Elastic, the company that created Kibana. The document-oriented and semi-structured data are stored in the database that is provided by the Elasticsearch tool. Logs can be collected, parsed, and stored away for later use using Logstash’s support. These three tools are sometimes referred to collectively as the ELK Stack or the Elastic Stack. They collaborate effectively when used together.

Data querying and analysis are at the heart of Kibana’s functionality. In addition, the visualization features of Kibana enable you to view data in a variety of alternative ways, such as through the use of heat maps, line graphs, histograms, pie charts, and support for geospatial data. You can perform root cause diagnostics by searching the data that is stored in Elasticsearch using a variety of different approaches.

Kibana makes it simple to comprehend large amounts of data, and it enables users to rapidly create and share dynamic dashboards that frame-out changes to an Elasticsearch query in real-time. The left panel of this visualization tool contains a variety of customization choices, as seen in the following examples:

  • Discover By allowing access to each field in conjunction with the default time, the Discover page makes it possible to conduct interactive data exploration. You can browse document data, filter the search results, as well as set the time filter and enter search queries.
  • Visualize Kibana enables you to generate a visualization of your data stored in the Elasticsearch indices by providing a wide range of different visualization styles to choose from. In a dashboard, you may combine elements such as pie charts, data tables, line charts, single-metric visualizations, time series, geo maps, and markdown visualizations.
  • Dashboards This page presents a collection of visualizations as well as search results. The Kibana dashboard has a high degree of adaptability and is quite dynamic. For instance, you can perform real-time data filtering and can access the dashboard in full-page mode. You can resize, rearrange, and edit the content of the dashboard, and then save it so that you can share it with other people. This is made possible by the customizable dashboard function.
  • Timelion Α tool for analyzing and visualizing time series data. It does this by utilizing a simple expression language, and it is designed to bring together a single interface data source that is fully independent of one another. It provides a centralized location from which searches, visualization, and transformation may all be defined.

The Art of Machine Learning

Because of the complexity of datasets and their continual expansion, it is difficult to recognize cyberattacks, infrastructure concerns, and commercial challenges. However, the machine learning page of Kibana promises to establish jobs for anomaly detection and then observe the results of those jobs. This function automatically analyzes the behavior of the Elasticsearch data, taking into account periodicity and patterns, and identifies problems more quickly, which helps to limit the number of false positives.


The Application Performance Monitoring system enables users to monitor both services and applications, as well as gather in-depth performance metrics and error reports. As a result, developers can quickly identify performance bottlenecks by inspecting performance data about their applications.

Dev Tools

Kibana’s Developer Tools offer a robust interface for interacting with Elastic Stack, which is provided by Kibana. Because it has a Console, which enables developers to write Elasticsearch commands in one tab while viewing those commands in another one, the Console is included. The Console, a Grok debugger, and a search profiler that are included in this solution make it possible for you to tailor the application to your requirements.


The monitoring page in Kibana assists you in three useful ways, including the following:

  1. You can monitor the real-time performance data for Elasticsearch, Kibana, Logstash, and Beats, which enables you to view the data across the Elastic Stack. Additionally, you can visualize the data across the Elastic Stack.
  2. You can also investigate how well these items have performed in the past.
  3. You can do in-depth monitoring of Kibana and channel that data towards the monitoring cluster.


It is possible to carry out Kibana’s runtime configuration by using the management page of the application, which includes three very important operations:

  1. Index pattern, which enables initial setup as well as the continuing configuration of index names
  2. Saved objects are what house the visualizations, dashboards, and searches that have been previously saved.
  3. Advanced settings, which provide configuration options for modifying Kibana’s operation.

As a result, Kibana provides a single interface solution for all of the aforementioned tasks, including the configuration of security measures, the addition of data sources, and the management of pipelines.

How does Kibana function?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this data analytics and visualization tool, the following is a rundown of some of the features that are available to you through Kibana:

  1. Charts that can be interacted with Kibana’s built-in intuitive charts and reports ensure that the application’s users may navigate through a massive amount of log data interactively. In addition, to acquire meaningful insights from the data, you may dynamically zoom in and out of certain data subsets, shift periods, and drill down on reports.
  2. Aggregations and Filters That Have Already Been Pre-Built With the help of these capabilities, you’ll be able to do a wide range of analytics with as little effort as possible, including top-N queries, histograms, and trends.
  3. The Detection of Anomalies As was said before, the machine-learning component of this data visualization tool will assist you in locating anomalies in your data, including those that are concealed. Because of this skill, you will be able to determine the underlying reasons for problems, as demonstrated below:
  4. Safer Forms of Cooperation and Information Exchange Because there is an option to restrict the information viewing, Kibana makes it possible to safely share your visualizations and dashboards while preventing sensitive data from being compromised. You can share your data, visualizations, and even dashboards with other members of your team, your manager, and even clients who are interested in viewing the same information that you are viewing in Kibana. In addition, the Kibana Dashboard Only Mode offers the possibility to construct a restricted access user who has a restricted field of view.
  5. Graph In addition to allowing you to plot data points, Elastic Kibana enables you to investigate the relationships that exist between those points. You will find that the sophisticated graphical exploration API gives you the tools you need to accomplish this goal. This API offers an alternate method to explore as well as summarize information regarding the data stored in the Elasticsearch index.
  6. Kibana Search To do searches on the log data, the Kibana is equipped with a variety of different approaches.
  7. Mapping Support Because of Kibana’s rich geospatial features, you can easily display geographical information superimposed on your data and view the results on maps. The geographic visualizations in Elastic Kibana are driven by the Elastic Maps service, which assists with shape files, base tiles, and other critical characteristics that are essential for geodata visualization. You are also now able to examine additional countries in the Kibana region maps as a result of a recent upgrade to the data layer.
  8. Canvas The Canvas application found in Kibana provides you with a fresh approach to bringing out the best in your data. The developer of Kibana, Rashid Khan, describes Canvas as “a composable, expandable, and creative place for live data.” Put your imagination to work by customizing the live data with a logo, colors, text, and shapes that are all distinctive to your brand.
  9. User Interface for Threshold-Based Alerts in the Watcher Kibana 6’s redesigned user interface allows for the creation and modification of alerts depending on thresholds. It offers graphical feedback and type-ahead suggestions by letting you evaluate the alert limits first. In addition to this, it helps by delivering alert messages to the email, log, or slack channel, along with the appropriate template settings.
  10. Reporting Kibana’s reporting option is one of its most useful features because it enables you to make reports on your visualization or dashboard in an extremely short amount of time. You have the option to schedule the report to run at a later time, obtain it on demand, or cause it to run based on particular criteria. You may also generate reports automatically by making HTTP POST requests, and you can share these reports with other people.

Why use Kibana?

Elasticsearch’s official user interface is referred to as Kibana. Users of Elasticsearch will find that Kibana is the most effective interface for obtaining data insights and performing active management of the health of their Elastic Stack. Kibana is also the most recent addition to the Elastic Stack.

Kibana addresses several use cases. Elastic has made significant investments in the research and development of new visualization interfaces. The built-in functionalities of Kibana are utilized by users for a variety of use cases, including application performance monitoring (APM), security analytics, business analytics, uptime monitoring, geospatial analytics, and more.

The community surrounding Kibana is very supportive. Kibana’s user interface is open and free, which has led to widespread adoption and significant contributions from the community. The levels of experience that Kibana users have can be drastically different, and the documentation, education, and community assistance for Kibana reflect this extensive range of knowledge. In addition, Elastic provides users with training as well as individual support to assist them in getting up and running.

How does one go about searching for data and viewing it using Kibana?

Data from one Elasticsearch index or many indices can be visually analyzed using Kibana. Kibana also supports multiple indices. Logstash, which is a large-scale investor, or Beats, which is a collection of single-purpose data shippers, ingests unstructured data from log files and other sources and converts it into a structured format for Elasticsearch’s storage and search capabilities. This creates indices, which can then be used by Elasticsearch to perform storage and search operations.

Users can query data that is stored in Elasticsearch indices and then view the results using either the normal chart options or built-in apps such as Lens, Canvas, and Maps. This is made possible through Kibana’s interface. Users can select from a variety of chart kinds, modify the summations of the numbers, and filter to particular subsets of the data.

What exactly is a dashboard in Kibana?

A Kibana dashboard is a single pane that contains a collection of charts, graphs, metrics, and searches that have been compiled together. Maps may also be included. Users can go further into the nuances of a topic by using dashboards, which provide high-level views of data from numerous angles at a glance.

What are the steps involved in creating dashboards in Kibana?

Users are required to have data indexed in Elasticsearch and to have previously constructed a search, visualization, or map before constructing a dashboard in Kibana. To access the Dashboard from within Kibana, select it from the side navigation. An overview of the already installed dashboards is displayed at the initial opening of the Dashboard interface. Sample data sets, which may or may not include pre-built dashboards, may be introduced if there are no dashboards.

Users can construct their dashboards by following these steps:

  1. In the navigation on the side, select the Dashboard option.
  2. Select the “Create a new dashboard” option.
  3. Click Add.
  4. To incorporate saved searches and visualizations into the dashboard, use the Add Panels option. It is possible to filter the lists if there are many different visualizations.

When a user does not have adequate permissions to create, edit, or save dashboards, the read-only icon that appears in the header of the dashboard serves as a clear indicator of this fact. Administrators of Kibana can adjust these permission settings for a single user or an entire group.

Illustrations of Kibana dashboards

Kibana can be tested out on Elastic’s demo site, which is specifically created for that purpose. The demonstration environment gives you access to a variety of sample dashboards, allowing you to experiment with Kibana’s charts and visualizations using a test dataset.

  • Some Samples of the Logs
  • Flights Around the World
  • eCommerce Revenue

Kibana for data visualization

It is no longer sufficient to merely have access to significant data. For business owners, managers, partners, and customers to be able to take the most effective actions based on the data, it needs to be presented in a visual format. Recent studies have shown that the use of visual data can raise the effectiveness of business meetings and increase market profitability.

This is accomplished by providing businesses with the ability to make decisions that are both quicker and more accurate than was previously feasible. In addition to this, providing visual evidence to back up a sales pitch or presentation significantly raises the percentage of people who will trust the presentation. It should not come as a surprise, in light of the aforementioned information, that the return on investment for data visualization skills is greater than $13.00 for every $1.00 that is invested.

Which open-source visualization tool is the most effective and why?

Unfortunately, the majority of database programs do not offer the high-quality visualization that a contemporary business needs to maintain its position at the forefront of its industry. The popular alternatives MySQL, Mongo, and others either do not give the tools required to visualize the data offered by the programs, are too expensive or demand significant changes to your data.

We are fortunate to have access to a dependable open-source tool that specializes in the provision of excellent data visualization in a variety of user-friendly formats. Kibana, a tool for visualizing data in Elasticsearch, does an excellent job at giving visualization of every piece of data that an organization could require to view at any given point in time.


In this post, we have provided an overview of the Kibana log analysis tool along with its appealing features that illustrate its offerings and capabilities.

In addition, we have highlighted some of Kibana’s capabilities. These characteristics unquestionably elevate it to the position of being the most effective data visualization tool currently available on the market.