Application Incident Response with VictorOps and Instana

November 13, 2019

Application Incident Response with VictorOps and Instana

Instana has over 200 curated health signatures programmed in, together with automatic root cause analysis this provides sophisticated alert generation capabilities from day one. These alert events can be selectively routed to various messaging channels such as email, Microsoft Teams and Slack. This basic functionality works well for small teams but how to manage more complex event routing for more sizeable enterprise teams with on duty schedules? For these environments Instana also has integrations to more advanced event routing platforms such as PagerDuty, OpsGenie and VictorOps. This article will be looking in more detail at VictorOps.

Setup VictorOps and Instana Integration

On the VictorOps dashboard select the Integrations top level menu, find Instana in the APM group and enable the integration. This will display a Service API key, copy this onto your system clipboard, you will need this later.

On the Instana dashboard go to Settings in the main side menu. Then navigate to Team Settings → Alert Channels. Click the “Add Alert Channel” button and select VictorOps from the popup.

Give this new channel a name to remember it by, paste in the API key you copied earlier and finally give it a routing key. The routing key can be an existing one from your VictorOps configuration or a new one. The routing key is the mechanism that VictorOps uses to send these events to the appropriate team.

Now that you’ve created the Alert Channel, configure Instana to push some events through it. Staying in Settings go to Team Settings → Alerts and click the “New Alert” button. It is possible to do basic event routing here however, VictorOps is going to handle that so configure Instana to forward everything. Give the Alert a name to remember it by. Select “Alert on Event Types” and check Incidents, Critical Issue and Warning Issues. Set Scope to “All Available Entities”. Finally add the Alert Channel you created in the previous step.

Now all those events will be flowing through. The events from Instana contain a deep link back to the event details in Instana. By default VictorOps does not make this link clickable, adding an “Alert Rule” to create an annotation fixes this. On the VictorOps dashboard go to Settings → Alert Rules Engine then click the “Add a Rule” button.

Results – Integrated Incident Management

The Instana events arrive in VictorOps indexed and ready to be actioned. Note under Annotations, the link back to the event in Instana.

Following the link takes you to Instana event details. From here the event can be investigated and remedial action taken.

Instana can be configured to provide basic event routing. For more advanced routing, escalation and call schedules forward events to VictorOps for a complete incident response solution.

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Instana, an IBM company, provides an Enterprise Observability Platform with automated application monitoring capabilities to businesses operating complex, modern, cloud-native applications no matter where they reside – on-premises or in public and private clouds, including mobile devices or IBM Z.

Control hybrid modern applications with Instana’s AI-powered discovery of deep contextual dependencies inside hybrid applications. Instana also gives visibility into development pipelines to help enable closed-loop DevOps automation.

This provides actionable feedback needed for clients as they to optimize application performance, enable innovation and mitigate risk, helping Dev+Ops add value and efficiency to software delivery pipelines while meeting their service and business level objectives.

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