To learn how Istio handles tracing, visit this task’s overview.

Before you begin

  1. To set up Istio, follow the instructions in the Installation guide and use the --set tracing.enabled=true Helm install options to enable tracing.

  2. Deploy the Bookinfo sample application.

Accessing the dashboard

  1. To setup access to the tracing dashboard, use port forwarding:

    $ kubectl port-forward -n istio-system $(kubectl get pod -n istio-system -l app=jaeger -o jsonpath='{.items[0].metadata.name}') 16686:16686  &

    Open your browser to http://localhost:16686.

  2. To use a Kubernetes ingress, specify the Helm chart option --set tracing.ingress.enabled=true.

Generating traces using the Bookinfo sample

  1. When the Bookinfo application is up and running, access http://$GATEWAY_URL/productpage one or more times to generate trace information.

    To see trace data, you must send requests to your service. The number of requests depends on Istio’s sampling rate. You set this rate when you install Istio. The default sampling rate is 1%. You need to send at least 100 requests before the first trace is visible. To send a 100 requests to the productpage service, use the following command:

    $ for i in `seq 1 100`; do curl -s -o /dev/null http://$GATEWAY_URL/productpage; done
  2. From the left-hand pane of the dashboard, select productpage from the Service drop-down list and click Find Traces:

    Tracing Dashboard
    Tracing Dashboard
  3. Click on the most recent trace at the top to see the details corresponding to the latest request to the /productpage:

    Detailed Trace View
    Detailed Trace View
  4. The trace is comprised of a set of spans, where each span corresponds to a Bookinfo service, invoked during the execution of a /productpage request, or internal Istio component, for example: istio-ingressgateway, istio-mixer, istio-policy.


  1. Remove any kubectl port-forward processes that may still be running:

    $ killall kubectl
  2. If you are not planning to explore any follow-on tasks, refer to the Bookinfo cleanup instructions to shutdown the application.