Collecting Metrics and Logs

This task shows how to configure Istio to automatically gather telemetry for services in a mesh. At the end of this task, a new metric and a new log stream will be enabled for calls to services within your mesh.

The Bookinfo sample application is used as the example application throughout this task.

Before you begin

  • Install Istio in your cluster and deploy an application. This task assumes that Mixer is setup in a default configuration (--configDefaultNamespace=istio-system). If you use a different value, update the configuration and commands in this task to match the value.

  • Install the Prometheus add-on. Prometheus will be used to verify task success.

    kubectl apply -f install/kubernetes/addons/prometheus.yaml

    See Prometheus for details.

Collecting new telemetry data

  1. Create a new YAML file to hold configuration for the new metric and log stream that Istio will generate and collect automatically.

    Save the following as new_telemetry.yaml:

    # Configuration for metric instances
    apiVersion: ""
    kind: metric
      name: doublerequestcount
      namespace: istio-system
      value: "2" # count each request twice
        source: source.service | "unknown"
        destination: destination.service | "unknown"
        message: '"twice the fun!"'
      monitored_resource_type: '"UNSPECIFIED"'
    # Configuration for a Prometheus handler
    apiVersion: ""
    kind: prometheus
      name: doublehandler
      namespace: istio-system
      - name: double_request_count # Prometheus metric name
        instance_name: doublerequestcount.metric.istio-system # Mixer instance name (fully-qualified)
        kind: COUNTER
        - source
        - destination
        - message
    # Rule to send metric instances to a Prometheus handler
    apiVersion: ""
    kind: rule
      name: doubleprom
      namespace: istio-system
      - handler: doublehandler.prometheus
        - doublerequestcount.metric
    # Configuration for logentry instances
    apiVersion: ""
    kind: logentry
      name: newlog
      namespace: istio-system
      severity: '"warning"'
      timestamp: request.time
        source: source.labels["app"] | source.service | "unknown"
        user: source.user | "unknown"
        destination: destination.labels["app"] | destination.service | "unknown"
        responseCode: response.code | 0
        responseSize: response.size | 0
        latency: response.duration | "0ms"
      monitored_resource_type: '"UNSPECIFIED"'
    # Configuration for a stdio handler
    apiVersion: ""
    kind: stdio
      name: newhandler
      namespace: istio-system
       warning: 1 # Params.Level.WARNING
     outputAsJson: true
    # Rule to send logentry instances to a stdio handler
    apiVersion: ""
    kind: rule
      name: newlogstdio
      namespace: istio-system
      match: "true" # match for all requests
       - handler: newhandler.stdio
         - newlog.logentry
  2. Push the new configuration.

    istioctl create -f new_telemetry.yaml

    The expected output is similar to:

    Created config metric/istio-system/doublerequestcount at revision 1973035
    Created config prometheus/istio-system/doublehandler at revision 1973036
    Created config rule/istio-system/doubleprom at revision 1973037
    Created config logentry/istio-system/newlog at revision 1973038
    Created config stdio/istio-system/newhandler at revision 1973039
    Created config rule/istio-system/newlogstdio at revision 1973041
  3. Send traffic to the sample application.

    For the Bookinfo sample, visit http://$GATEWAY_URL/productpage in your web browser or issue the following command:

    curl http://$GATEWAY_URL/productpage
  4. Verify that the new metric values are being generated and collected.

    In a Kubernetes environment, setup port-forwarding for Prometheus by executing the following command:

    kubectl -n istio-system port-forward $(kubectl -n istio-system get pod -l app=prometheus -o jsonpath='{.items[0]}') 9090:9090 &

    View values for the new metric via the Prometheus UI.

    The provided link opens the Prometheus UI and executes a query for values of the istio_double_request_count metric. The table displayed in the Console tab includes entries similar to:

    istio_double_request_count{destination="details.default.svc.cluster.local",instance="istio-mixer.istio-system:42422",job="istio-mesh",message="twice the fun!",source="productpage.default.svc.cluster.local"}	2
    istio_double_request_count{destination="ingress.istio-system.svc.cluster.local",instance="istio-mixer.istio-system:42422",job="istio-mesh",message="twice the fun!",source="unknown"}	2
    istio_double_request_count{destination="productpage.default.svc.cluster.local",instance="istio-mixer.istio-system:42422",job="istio-mesh",message="twice the fun!",source="ingress.istio-system.svc.cluster.local"}	2
    istio_double_request_count{destination="reviews.default.svc.cluster.local",instance="istio-mixer.istio-system:42422",job="istio-mesh",message="twice the fun!",source="productpage.default.svc.cluster.local"}	2

    For more on querying Prometheus for metric values, see the Querying Istio Metrics Task.

  5. Verify that the logs stream has been created and is being populated for requests.

    In a Kubernetes environment, search through the logs for the Mixer pod as follows:

    kubectl -n istio-system logs $(kubectl -n istio-system get pods -l istio=mixer -o jsonpath='{.items[0]}') mixer | grep \"instance\":\"newlog.logentry.istio-system\"

    The expected output is similar to:


Understanding the telemetry configuration

In this task, you added Istio configuration that instructed Mixer to automatically generate and report a new metric and a new log stream for all traffic within the mesh.

The added configuration controlled three pieces of Mixer functionality:

  1. Generation of instances (in this example, metric values and log entries) from Istio attributes
  2. Creation of handlers (configured Mixer adapters) capable of processing generated instances
  3. Dispatch of instances to handlers according to a set of rules

Understanding the metrics configuration

The metrics configuration directs Mixer to send metric values to Prometheus. It uses three stanzas (or blocks) of configuration: instance configuration, handler configuration, and rule configuration.

The kind: metric stanza of config defines a schema for generated metric values (or instances) for a new metric named doublerequestcount. This instance configuration tells Mixer how to generate metric values for any given request, based on the attributes reported by Envoy (and generated by Mixer itself).

For each instance of doublerequestcount.metric, the config directs Mixer to supply a value of 2 for the instance. Because Istio generates an instance for each request, this means that this metric records a value equal to twice the total number of requests received.

A set of dimensions are specified for each doublerequestcount.metric instance. Dimensions provide a way to slice, aggregate, and analyze metric data according to different needs and directions of inquiry. For instance, it may be desirable to only consider requests for a certain destination service when troubleshooting application behavior.

The configuration instructs Mixer to populate values for these dimensions based on attribute values and literal values. For instance, for the source dimension, the new config requests that the value be taken from the source.service attribute. If that attribute value is not populated, the rule instructs Mixer to use a default value of "unknown". For the message dimension, a literal value of "twice the fun!" will be used for all instances.

The kind: prometheus stanza of config defines a handler named doublehandler. The handler spec configures how the Prometheus adapter code translates received metric instances into prometheus-formatted values that can be processed by a Prometheus backend. This configuration specified a new Prometheus metric named double_request_count. The Prometheus adapter prepends the istio_ namespace to all metric names, therefore this metric will show up in Promethus as istio_double_request_count. The metric has three labels matching the dimensions configured for doublerequestcount.metric instances.

For kind: prometheus handlers, Mixer instances are matched to Prometheus metrics via the instance_name parameter. The instance_name values must be the fully-qualified name for Mixer instances (example: doublerequestcount.metric.istio-system).

The kind: rule stanza of config defines a new rule named doubleprom. The rule directs Mixer to send all doublerequestcount.metric instances to the doublehandler.prometheus handler. Because there is no match clause in the rule, and because the rule is in the configured default configuration namespace (istio-system), the rule is executed for all requests in the mesh.

Understanding the logs configuration

The logs configuration directs Mixer to send log entries to stdout. It uses three stanzas (or blocks) of configuration: instance configuration, handler configuration, and rule configuration.

The kind: logentry stanza of config defines a schema for generated log entries (or instances) named newlog. This instance configuration tells Mixer how to generate log entries for requests based on the attributes reported by Envoy.

The severity parameter is used to indicate the log level for any generated logentry. In this example, a literal value of "warning" is used. This value will be mapped to supported logging levels by a logentry handler.

The timestamp parameter provides time information for all log entries. In this example, the time is provided by the attribute value of request.time, as provided by Envoy.

The variables parameter allows operators to configure what values should be included in each logentry. A set of expressions controls the mapping from Istio attributes and literal values into the values that constitute a logentry. In this example, each logentry instance has a field named latency populated with the value from the attribute response.duration. If there is no known value for response.duration, the latency field will be set to a duration of 0ms.

The kind: stdio stanza of config defines a handler named newhandler. The handler spec configures how the stdio adapter code processes received logentry instances. The severity_levels parameter controls how logentry values for the severity field are mapped to supported logging levels. Here, the value of "warning" is mapped to the WARNING log level. The outputAsJson parameter directs the adapter to generate JSON-formatted log lines.

The kind: rule stanza of config defines a new rule named newlogstdio. The rule directs Mixer to send all newlog.logentry instances to the newhandler.stdio handler. Because the match parameter is set to true, the rule is executed for all requests in the mesh.

A match: true expression in the rule specification is not required to configure a rule to be executed for all requests. Omitting the entire match parameter from the spec is equivalent to setting match: true. It is included here to illustrate how to use match expressions to control rule execution.


  • Remove the new telemetry configuration:

    istioctl delete -f new_telemetry.yaml
  • If you are not planning to explore any follow-on tasks, refer to the Bookinfo cleanup instructions to shutdown the application.

What’s next