Instana brings best-in-class observability with the New Amazon Kubernetes distribution

How Instana Uses AWS EKS

Co-Authored by: Evgeni Wachnowezki

AWS is sharing its Amazon EKS Distro Kubernetes distribution with the community. Amazon EKS Distro is a Kubernetes distribution optimized for security and reliability, and is battle-tested by running the myriad of AWS Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) clusters of all sizes.

What is Amazon EKS Distro and what does it bring you

First of all, let’s start with what Amazon EKS Distro is not: Amazon EKS Distro is not a Kubernetes fork. Instead, Amazon EKS Distro is a Kubernetes distribution. A Kubernetes distribution is a packaging of the various upstream open source Kubernetes components and third-party tools necessary for cluster creation. With Amazon EKS Distro, the emphasis is on enhanced reliability and security, hardened by the AWS team in their efforts of running tens of thousands of EKS clusters at different scales, world-wide.

Amazon EKS Distro will include the latest upstream updates as well as extended security patching support. Amazon EKS Distro follows the same Kubernetes version release cycle as Amazon EKS, and will provide extended support for Kubernetes versions after community support expires, by updating builds of previous versions with the latest critical security patches.

Instana has end-to-end Amazon EKS Distro support

Today, our customers can already use Instana to automatically visualize and monitor applications on Amazon EKS. Instana also works seamlessly on Kubernetes clusters using Amazon EKS Distro: you are both able to leverage Instana’s fully automatic discovery and instrumentation of all your workloads, as well as running your very own Instana backends on your Kubernetes infrastructure based on Amazon EKS Distro.

Instana Agent

We pride ourselves by offering best-in-class observability for workloads running on Kubernetes, and all of it just works out-of-the-box on Amazon EKS Distro.

Word Image 360

^An AWS Amazon EKS Distro cluster monitored by the Instana operator

All the means of installing the Instana agent on Kubernetes work out of the box on Kubernetes clusters created with Amazon EKS Distro:

  1. Agent Operator
  2. Helm chart
  3. Plain YAML

Manage your observability with GitOps

Amazon EKS Distro is a distribution designed for reproducible builds of your Kubernetes clusters. Reproducibility is one of the basic tenets of GitOps, which at Instana we have fully embraced: all our Kubernetes artefacts fit naturally with GitOps tooling like Flux, and we have several customers leveraging that, including our friends at uShip. All configurations of the Instana Agent are file-based and live in the Instana Agent container, which made it really simple to also smoothly support GitOps outside of Kubernetes by building Git into the Instana Agent and then integrate it with GitHub and any other Git repository giving you access to Git Hooks. In a nutshell you can version all your Instana Agent configurations, which by design are already few, in Git, using different branches for different sets of configurations that apply, for example, to different environments. And the only thing it takes to roll out changes, is to push to your Git repository!

Instana AutoTrace Webhook

The Instana AutoTrace Webhook is the latest addition to Instana’s automations, which leverages the MutatingAdmissionWebhook primitive of Kubernetes to transparently enhance your Pods, Daemonsets, ReplicaSets, StatefulSets and Deployments to be fully set up in terms of Node.js and .NET Core monitoring. This completes the line-up of other entirely-automated runtimes that Instana support, which already included Java, Python and PHP. Needless to say, Instana AutoTrace Webhook just works™[1] on Amazon EKS Distro.

By the way, we have a few more aces up our sleeves that will involve the Instana AutoTrace Webhook in the next few weeks and months, so keep an eye out.

Instana Backend

Instana’s love for Kubernetes does not stop with providing best-in-class observability for your clusters and everything running on top of it: Instana SaaS itself runs on Kubernetes ( and we have learned a lot from it).

As you probably know, Instana is not only a SaaS product, but we also offer a self-hosted (a.k.a. on-premise) offering, which our customers often run on hyper-scale Cloud providers with the benefit of having full ownership of every single bit of data that their Instana agents collect.

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^A view of the self-monitoring of an Instana backend running on an AWS Amazon EKS Distro cluster. Very Inception-y

And, when you have massive landscapes to monitor, you can run your self-managed Instana backend on Kubernetes as well with the brand-new Instana Backend Operator for Kubernetes. As you might expect given the blog post you are reading, it works flawlessly on Amazon EKS Distro clusters. Oh, and by the way, if you have an AWS Outpost out (heh!) there, Instana will work flawlessly there as well. #instana #aws #justworks


AWS is releasing Amazon EKS Distro, the hardened Kubernetes distribution powering its massive-scale Elastic Kubernetes Service offering. And, as you might expect, Instana works flawlessly out-of-the-box on it, both in terms of monitoring the Amazon EKS Distro Kubernetes clusters, as well as running the Instana backend on them. To experience the power of Instana on Kubernetes, sign up for a free trial of Instana today.



  1. Unfortunately, Instana does not hold the trademark for “just works”, but it should, ad-honorem.

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