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Enabling Instana Tracing for applications in IBM Cloud Pak for Integration

By PENG DENG posted Wed June 15, 2022 09:39 AM

Authors: Peng Deng, Yong Hu Sun, Xiao Juan Niu, Hui Gao
Instana is the first and only fully-automated Application Performance Management (APM) solution designed specifically for the challenges of managing micro-service and cloud-native applications.
IBM Cloud Pak for Integration is a hybrid integration platform with an automated, closed-loop approach that supports multiple styles of integration within a single and unified experience. It includes IBM MQ, IBM App Connect Enterprise (ACE) and other products.
Now, by using Instana AutoTrace WebHook, an admission controller mutating webhook, you can enable Instana Tracing on Node.js, .NET Core, Ruby applications running across the entire Kubernetes or OpenShift cluster, and on IBM MQ and IBM ACE applications that are deployed through IBM Cloud Pak for Integration.
Can't wait to get started? Here we go.


Ensure that the following requirements are met:
  • OpenShift 4.5+
  • kubectl 1.16+
  • Helm 3.2+ (some automation relies on Helm lookup functionality)
  • MQ/ACE deployed with IBM Cloud Pak for Integration 2020.3.1+

Install the Instana AutoTrace WebHook

You need to install Instana AutoTrace WebHook by running the following command by using your administrator privileges for your cluster:
helm install --create-namespace --namespace instana-autotrace-webhook instana-autotrace-webhook \
--repo instana-autotrace-webhook \
--set webhook.imagePullCredentials.password=<download_key> --set openshift.enabled=true \
--set autotrace.ibmmq.enabled=true --set autotrace.ace.enabled=true
Replace <download_key> with a valid Instana agent key or download key.
  • To enable Instana Tracing for IBM MQ, you must add --set autotrace.ibmmq.enabled=true. Otherwise, remove it or set it to false.
  • To enable Instana Tracing for IBM ACE, you must set additionally --set autotrace.ibmace.enabled=true. Otherwise, remove it or set it to false.
  • Instana Tracing on Node.js, .NET Core, and Ruby applications are enabled by default after Instana AutoTrace WebHook is installed.

Verify the Instana AutoTrace WebHook

Ensure that the instana-autotrace-webhook in the instana-autotrace-webhook namespace is running as expected:

Then try it out.
Deploy an IBM MQ or IBM ACE pod. When it comes up, you will see the following when checking the labels of the pod:

and IBM ACE pods that exist before the Instana AutoTrace WebHook is installed, you need to delete those MQ and ACE pods so that the Instana AutoTrace WebHook can enable the Instana Tracing feature automatically for these pods when they re-deployed.
If you also installed the Instana host agent (such as by using the Instana agent helm chart), the IBM MQ or IBM ACE service will appear in your Instana dashboard soon.

View IBM MQ and IBM ACE tracing data on Instana UI

  1. Click Application > Services. In the Service page, you can filter out the services with different technologies as follows, or use the service name to check the corresponding service.
2. Click the Service name link. You can see more details about the service.

3. Click the Stack drop-down list. You can see the following stack information of the service:
    • Application information:  Lists the applications that are part of the service.
    • Kubernetes information: Lists Kubernetes resources such as clusters, deployments, services and pods, etc.
    • Infrastructure information: Lists physical infrastructure such as hosts, processes, Docker containers, Queue Managers, Integration Servers, etc.

4. Click Top Endpoints link from the Service page. You can see the details of the message flow or IBM MQ Queue.

5. Click Analyze Calls. You can see all the calls that are generated on the message flow or IBM MQ Queue.

6. Click one of the calls. You can see the following details of the calls:
    • Context guide of this call
    • Tags information, such as Integration Server name, flow name, node label for IBM ACE, and Queue information and Message information for for IBM MQ
    • Infrastructures that link to the corresponding message flow metric or Queue metric

7. Click the Infrastructure link. You can see the details of the message flow or the Queue.

And that's it: you have enabled Instana Tracing for applications.