Instana Blog

Date: March 20, 2018

Grafana Plugin for Instana APM

Category: Featured, Product

Application monitoring users are a demanding group. They want deep visibility, predictive alerts and custom visualization – and they want it now. It doesn’t matter if they’re large or small – they want to create and personalize their own custom dashboards. The good news is that with Grafana, everybody gets what they want, as long as they have a Grafana APM plugin – like the one we just released at Instana.

Whether you’re a two-person IT shop trying to understand how everything fits together or a distributed organization of hundreds, it’s useful (desirable, even) to see data from a variety of sources on unified dashboards. While there are many dashboard solutions on the market, Grafana stands out as the standard – one of the key reasons we started with the Grafana datasource plugin for Instana APM.

Grafana Visualization / Dashboard Project on GitHub

Taking a quick look at the Grafana repo on GitHub, you can see that this is a very active open source project with 1,086 watchers, 20,743 stars, 3,630 forks and quite a bit of weekly commit activity.

About the Instana Plugin for Grafana

Instana has created a premium APM plugin for Grafana so that every Instana user can combine data on custom dashboards. We want our customers to make the most of their collected data whether through the Instana UI or by using external reporting tools.

Using the Instana APM Plugin for Grafana

Using official plugins in Grafana is dead simple. You can install the Instana APM data source plugin via command line or using the GUI. Once installation is complete, you will need the URL of your Instana server and an API token (that you generate within the settings menus of your Instana environment).

Generating your Instana APM API token:

  1. In your Instana UI select “Settings -> Access Control -> API Tokens”
  2. Click the “Add API Token” button
  3. Fill in the “Name” field, don’t change any permissions, and click the “Save” button.

Now you have all the pieces in place to allow Grafana access to your Instana data. In the Grafana UI you add a new data source where you specify a data source name, type=instana, your Instana URL, and the API token that you just created within Instana.

From there you follow the standard Grafana process of creating dashboards using any data sources you have installed and configured. Here’s an example dashboard I created in just a few minutes with Instana APM data.

Grafana is a great open source solution for combining data from multiple data sources. The new Instana APM plugin for Grafana is another example of our commitment to working with the open source community to foster solutions that meet the needs of all customers.

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About Instana

As the leading provider of Automatic Application Performance Monitoring (APM) solutions for microservices, Instana has developed the automatic monitoring and AI-based analysis DevOps needs to manage the performance of modern applications. Instana is the only APM solution that automatically discovers, maps and visualizes microservice applications without continuous additional engineering. Customers using Instana achieve operational excellence and deliver better software faster. Visit https://instana.com to learn more.