Monitoring Python - The Instana Python Package

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The Instana Python package: Python Distributed Tracing & Metrics Sensor.

What is Instana AutoTrace?

Instana AutoTrace™ is a next-generation distributed tracing and service discovery technology powering Instana’s fully automatic, no-effort, and instant observability experience.

The Instana Host agent automatically finds and instruments your running Python applications running on Linux x86 with no required user steps or restarts.

For more information, see the blog post on Python AutoTrace or the AutoTrace configuration documentation on how to modify AutoTrace behavior.


The Instana Python package is a zero-configuration tool that automatically collects key metrics and distributed traces from your Python processes.


Automatic installation

Instana remotely instruments your Python applications automatically by Instana AutoTrace™. However, if you prefer to install the package manually, see Manual Installation below.

Note: Instana AutoTrace™ support for Python requires the instrumenting machine to be able to reach pip. As such, it won't work in air-gapped environments or similar environments that restrict egress. In such cases, use the Manual Installation method.

Manual Installation

You can manually install the Instana Python package into the virtualenv, pipenv, or container (hosted on pypi) by running this command:

pip install instana

To update an existing installation, run this command:

pip install -U instana

From here there are two options available to choose from based on your organization's needs described below.

Activating Without Code Changes

Instana offers a way of activating the Instana Python package without modifying a single line of code in your application. This allows you to avoid many of the processes involved with application code changes such as pull-requests, quality assurance, staging and deployment to production.

To activate the Instana package without any code changes, simply set the following environment variable for your Python application:


The Instana Python package will automatically load on application boot and instrument your Python application.

  • Note: This method of activation will not work with applications based on gevent. This is because gevent must be activated and monkey.patch_all() called first.

Activating With Code Changes

Alternatively, to manually import the instana package to inside your Python application code, add the following to your application code:

import instana

For additional information about Django, Flask, End-user Monitoring (EUM), and more, see the Frameworks section.


For out of the box metrics and distributed tracing, no configuration is required. However, individual components are configurable. For more information, see the Python configuration.

Kubernetes & OpenShift

For information on how to ensure that your instrumented applications can contact the Instana Host Agent, see the documentation.

Cloud Foundry

Note: This section assumes that the Instana agent is running on the Diego cells of the Cloud Foundry foundation. Without an agent running on the underpinning Diego cell, monitoring Cloud Foundry applications is not supported. Additionally, since the Tile version 1.177.0, the instana_buildpack automates the setup of Python applications on Cloud Foundry. For more information, refer to the Instana Buildpack documentation.

For information on how to setup Instana agents and the related Cloud Foundry or Pivotal Platform functionality, see our Cloud Foundry and Pivotal Platform documentation.

Monitoring Python Cloud Foundry applications requires the following steps:

  • Add the instana Python package to the requirements.txt file
  • Add an AUTOWRAPT_BOOTSTRAP environment variable with the value instana to the application manifest as shown below
  • cf push the Cloud Foundry application
- name: test-python-flask
    - python_buildpack

Custom Tracing

The Instana Python package supports custom tracing via OpenTracing APIs. See the OpenTracing page for more information.


Please see our dedicated Troubleshooting documentation.


For the Instana Python package release history, including changes made to the package, see the Github Releases page.

See Also