After completing this task, you understand how to have your application participate in tracing with Zipkin, regardless of the language, framework, or platform you use to build your application.

This task uses the Bookinfo sample as the example application.

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

Before you begin

  1. Follow the Zipkin installation documentation to deploy Zipkin into your cluster.

  2. When you enable tracing, you can set the sampling rate that Istio uses for tracing. Use the meshConfig.defaultConfig.tracing.sampling option during installation to set the sampling rate. The default sampling rate is 1%.

  3. Deploy the Bookinfo sample application.

Accessing the dashboard

Remotely Accessing Telemetry Addons details how to configure access to the Istio addons through a gateway.

For testing (and temporary access), you may also use port-forwarding. Use the following, assuming you’ve deployed Zipkin to the istio-system namespace:

$ istioctl dashboard zipkin

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 and can be configured using the Telemetry API. With the default sampling rate of 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 search panel, click on the plus sign. Select serviceName from the first drop-down list, productpage.default from second drop-down, and then click the search icon:

    Tracing Dashboard
    Tracing Dashboard
  3. Click on the ISTIO-INGRESSGATEWAY search result to see the details corresponding to the latest request to /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.


  1. Remove any istioctl processes that may still be running using control-C or:

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

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