Configurability (Beta/Development)

Istio provides the ability to configure advanced tracing options, including sampling rates and span tags. Sampling is a beta feature, but custom tags and tracing tag length are considered in-development for this release.

Create a MeshConfig with trace settings

All tracing options are configured by using MeshConfig during Istio installation. To simplify configuration, create a single YAML file to pass to istioctl.

cat <<'EOF' > tracing.yaml
apiVersion: install.istio.io/v1alpha1
kind: IstioOperator
spec:
  meshConfig:
    defaultConfig:
      tracing:
EOF

Then, you can append any configuration options to the tracing.yaml file.

Trace sampling

Istio captures a trace for all requests by default when installing with the demo profile. For example, when using the Bookinfo sample application, every time you access /productpage you see a corresponding trace in the dashboard. This sampling rate is suitable for a test or low traffic mesh. For a high traffic mesh you can lower the trace sampling percentage in one of two ways:

To modify the default random sampling, which is defaulted to a value of 100 in the demo profile and 1 for the default profile, add the following to your tracing.yaml file.

apiVersion: install.istio.io/v1alpha1
kind: IstioOperator
spec:
  meshConfig:
    defaultConfig:
      tracing:
        sampling: <VALUE>

Where the <VALUE> should be in the range of 0.0 to 100.0 with a precision of 0.01. For example, to trace 5 requests out of every 10000, use 0.05 as the value here.

Customizing tracing tags

The ability to add custom tracing tags to spans has also been implemented.

Tags can be added to spans based on literals, environmental variables and client request headers.

To add custom tags to your spans, add the following to your tracing.yaml file.

Literals:

apiVersion: install.istio.io/v1alpha1
kind: IstioOperator
spec:
  meshConfig:
    defaultConfig:
      tracing:
        custom_tags:
          tag_literal:                   # user-defined name
            literal:
              value: <VALUE>

Environmental variables:

apiVersion: install.istio.io/v1alpha1
kind: IstioOperator
spec:
  meshConfig:
    defaultConfig:
      tracing:
        custom_tags:
          tag_env:                       # user-defined name
            environment:
              name: <ENV_VARIABLE_NAME>
              defaultValue: <VALUE>      # optional

Client request headers:

apiVersion: install.istio.io/v1alpha1
kind: IstioOperator
spec:
  meshConfig:
    defaultConfig:
      tracing:
        custom_tags:
          tag_header:                    # user-defined name
            header:
              name: <CLIENT-HEADER>
              defaultValue: <VALUE>      # optional

Customizing tracing tag length

By default, the maximum length for the request path included as part of the HttpUrl span tag is 256.

To modify this maximum length, add the following to your tracing.yaml file.

apiVersion: install.istio.io/v1alpha1
kind: IstioOperator
spec:
  meshConfig:
    defaultConfig:
      tracing:
        max_path_tag_length: <VALUE>
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