Instana Enables Accelerated Application Delivery on Pivotal Cloud Foundry

September 10, 2019


What is Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF)?

According to the Pivotal website, PCF is the unified, multi-cloud platform to run enterprise applications. PCF enables you to deliver custom software on a secure, reliable platform and transform how your enterprise does business.

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Enterprises of all sizes continue to focus on modernizing their application delivery pipelines. There are many platforms and frameworks, like Pivotal Cloud Foundry, that promise to help smooth the transition away from legacy stacks. As Enterprises adopt cloud native, containerized, microservice architectures, many have turned to PCF to help with their digital transformation journey.

How to monitor PCF with Pivotal

Monitoring PCF applications and services requires the ability to understand how different components run within the PCF foundation. Cloud Foundry (CF) generates system logs from CF components and app logs from hosted apps. According to the Pivotal Documentation, ‘as CF runs, its component and host VMs generate logs and metrics. CF apps also typically generate logs. The Loggregator system aggregates the component metrics and app logs into a structured, usable form, the Firehose. You can use all of the output of the Firehose, or direct the output to specific uses, such as monitoring system internals, triggering alerts, or analyzing user behavior, by applying nozzles.’ In addition to Logs, Pivotal also provides a PCF Metrics tile. PCF Metrics stores logs, metrics data, and event data from applications running on PCF and graphically presents this data to help users understand the health and performance of their applications.

While logs and metrics do provide valuable data points, they do not provide enough contextual information to keep large production applications optimally running. To effectively monitor a PCF application you need an Application Performance Monitoring (APM) tool that provides visibility at the container, infrastructure, and application level and organizes data into context rich dependency relationships. Instana provides the most efficient way to discover and monitor PCF applications and services.

How to monitor PCF with Instana’s PCF Tile

The Instana agent is packaged for PCF as a Tile (a packaged software that can be integrated into PCF). The Instana Microservices Application Monitoring for PCF tile provides full automation in deploying and managing the agent across an entire PCF foundation. This includes all Virtual Machines (VMs) spawned by other tiles like Pivotal’s RabbitMQ for PCF tile. The Instana Microservices Application Monitoring for PCF tile is integrated into the PCF provisioning mechanisms, when a new VM is spawned over a rolling update or a new service instance is provisioned, the Instana agent is automatically installed on it.

As Instana does on all other platforms, the Instana Agent automatically discovers and monitors all processes, Garden containers, CF applications and service instances running in the foundation. Once the agent discovers something to monitor, it deploys all appropriate monitoring sensors and begins tracing and analyzing every request. Instana leverages a combination of machine learning and preset health rules to automatically determine the health of the applications and infrastructure components.

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How to Monitor PCF based microservice applications with Instana

To monitor your PCF foundation microservices and applications with Instana, simply install the Instana Microservices Application for PCF tile in each foundation. Once installed, every container powering Cloud Foundry applications within that foundation sends monitoring data through the lightweight agent, minimizing overhead while also simplifying the overall deployment of Instana. Instana automatically traces every application request flowing through your environment and pulls together each distributed trace for a full, end-to-end view. There is no sampling of any kind (and no partial traces) so you’ll always have a complete data set to see the impact of every deployment.

With Instana’s Unbounded Analytics™, you’ll benefit from full analysis of every user impact, performed automatically by Instana, that correlates all of the data from the traces with the underlying Garden container and infrastructure metrics. By doing so, Instana provides root cause analysis within a few seconds so that you can deploy as often as you need to without worrying if there are regressions impacting your customers.

The Instana Microservices Application Monitoring for PCF tile includes automatic and continuous discovery, dependency mapping, metric monitoring, distributed tracing, anomaly detection, and analytics across the complete trace data set. This means you’ll always know everything that is happening within your PCF foundation and the impact to user requests at all times. By managing the performance of applications running on PCF, Instana provides immediate, exact understanding of quality with zero effort, enabling you to confidently deliver better software, faster. To see the Instana Microservices Application Monitoring for PCF tile in action, sign up for a free trial of Instana today and follow the installation instructions below.

Installing the Instana Microservices Application for PCF Tile in OpsManager

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  1. Download the product file from Pivotal Network
  2. Navigate to the Ops Manager Installation Dashboard and click ‘Import a Product’ to upload the product file
  3. Under the ‘Import a Product’ button, click ‘next version number of Instana Microservices Application Monitoring. This add the tile to your staging area.
  4. Click the newly add ‘Instana Microservices Application Monitoring tile’
  5. The Instana Agent requires minimal configuration:
    1. Where is the Instana backend?
    2. What is your agent key
  6. Save the configuration
  7. The Instana tile will now be a ‘pending change’ in OpsManager
  8. Click ‘Apply Changes’ to roll out the Instana agent across your entire PCF foundation
  9. Update the foundation to receive the Instana Agent

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Instana, an IBM company, provides an Enterprise Observability Platform with automated application monitoring capabilities to businesses operating complex, modern, cloud-native applications no matter where they reside – on-premises or in public and private clouds, including mobile devices or IBM Z.

Control hybrid modern applications with Instana’s AI-powered discovery of deep contextual dependencies inside hybrid applications. Instana also gives visibility into development pipelines to help enable closed-loop DevOps automation.

This provides actionable feedback needed for clients as they to optimize application performance, enable innovation and mitigate risk, helping Dev+Ops add value and efficiency to software delivery pipelines while meeting their service and business level objectives.

For further information, please visit