Monitoring Cloud Foundry and VMware Tanzu (formerly know as Pivotal Cloud Foundry)


The Instana Agent can be installed as a tile, if you use VMware Tanzu (formerly known as Pivotal Cloud Foundry and, briefly, Pivotal or as BOSH release for open-source Cloud Foundry or other BOSH-based deployments.

Infrastructure map

Hosts and containers in a Cloud Foundry or VMware Tanzu foundation are discovered automatically and displayed in the infrastructure map.

You can easily filter for all entities in a foundation by using the filter, which works also in for "vanilla" Cloud Foundry deployments.

For further narrowing down the entities, the Cloud Foundry support has filters for entity.cloudfoundry.organization (name and id), (name and id) and entity.cloudfoundry.application (name and id). Additionally, the Garden containers can be grouped by Cloud Foundry Application and Cloud Foundry Space:

Garden containers of cloud foundry applications

All the available facilities for Kubernetes are also available for Kubernetes clusters deployed via Kubernetes Grid. Additionally, Instana automatically picks up which clusters are managed by Kubernetes Grid and displays it in the Instana UI. For more information on using Instana to monitor Kubernetes, refer to the Kubernetes documentation.

Garden containers

Garden containers have dedicated dashboards. See the Garden documentation for more information.

Monitoring BOSH agent, Gorouter and other important processes

Note: The Instana Microservices Application Monitoring for VMware Tanzu tile version 1.168.x and above is required to access this functionality.

Instana automatically monitors out-of-the-box CPU, memory, and file descriptor consumption of notable processes in the Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes control plane, specifically:

  • BOSH agent
  • Gorouter
  • Cloud Controller
  • kube-apiserver
  • kube-controller-manager
  • kube-scheduler

A Gorouter process monitored out-of-the-box by Instana

Kubernetes dashboards for VMware Tanzu kubernetes grid

With VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, formerly known as Pivotal Container Service (PKS), the Kubernetes clusters created via the Kubernetes Grid API are displayed in the Kubernetes section of Instana. Master nodes also get instrumented and can be found in the Infrastructure map alongside their sibling worker nodes.

For more information on how Instana monitors Kubernetes, see our Kubernetes documentation. Note: You need to set the --allow-privileged flag for kube-apiserver in order to allow Instana agent containers to run in the privileged mode and enable monitoring.

Cloud Foundry dashboards

Note: This section describes a functionality that requires a whitelisting of the Instana tenant unit to display. Please reach out to support to request access.

Note: Accessing this functionality requires the Instana Microservices Application Monitoring for VMware Tanzu tile version 1.161.x and above.

Cloud Foundry is an important and distinct part of your overall application stack. To encompass this importance Instana has dedicated support for Cloud Foundry applications. This starts by its own dedicated top-level element in the Instana UI which makes it easily accessible and easy to understand for Cloud Foundry users. At the same time all information is deeply linked via the Dynamic Graph into other product areas like Infrastructure, Application Perspectives, and Analyze.

Listing applications

By default Instana lists all application it detects from all reporting clusters. The applications are easily searchable or sortable by the most relevant information like state, organization or space:

Listing Cloud Foundry Applications

Application dashboard

The Cloud Foundry Application dashboard contains the most important information for an application to check for the status and any problems. It lists the Garden containers that this application is made of and links to a detailed Garden Container dashboard.

It also provdes access to all calls to this application via the Analyze Calls button.

Cloud Foundry Application Dashboard

Discovering managed services

The Instana agents deployed across the foundation detect and monitor the services running on them. Services created by some tiles are automatically monitored, with the Instana agent detecting the credentials and settings, see the Supported Versions section.

Services that are not automatically monitored, can be configured manually via the custom agent configuration facilities of the Instana tile.

If there are tiles or BOSH releases you would like to see configured automatically, let us know by opening a feature request in Instana Idea submission.

BOSH integrations

Based on the data available from the BOSH Director, the Instana offers a lot of automation.

Automatic maintenance windows for BOSH deployments

Note: The Instana Microservices Application Monitoring for VMware Tanzu tile version 1.168.x and above is required to access this functionality.

The Instana tile automatically detects BOSH deployments running across the VMware Tanzu foundation and creates, schedule, and unschedule maintenance windows.

For more information on this feature, see our Maintenance Windows documentation.

The "Automatic Maintenance Windows" feature of the tile requires the following configurations:

  • Backend connection > API endpoint URL: must point to your tenant unit in Instana.
  • Backend connection > API token: requires an API token with, at least, the Configuration of custom alerts permission. For more information, see our API Tokens documentation.

To deactivate the Automatic Maintenance Windows functionality, select the Agent automatic configurations > Automatic maintenance windows for BOSH option in the tile configuration.

To roll out the change, select Apply Changes in OpsManager for the Application Service for VMs or Kubernetes Grid tile.

Pipeline feedback for BOSH deployments

Note: The Instana Microservices Application Monitoring tile version 1.166.1 and above is required to access this functionality.

Important: The status of the Pipeline Feedback functionality is currently experimental. In foundations with many service instances, each of which usually has a a dedicated BOSH deployment, it may become a bit too chatty. Let us know what you think of it!

The Instana tile automatically detects BOSH deployments running across the foundation, and as part of the Pipeline Feedback functionality within Instana, these deployments are reported as releases.

For more information, see our Pipeline Feedback Integrations documentation.

Monitoring applications on Cloud Foundry

Supported runtimes

Instana buildpack

Note: The instana_buildpack Cloud Foundry buildpack is currently in experimental status. The deployment of the instana_buildpack is opt-in in the tile under the Agent automatic configurations screen.

Since version 1.177.0, the tile integrates the instana_buildpack Cloud Foundry buildpack that automates the Instana setup of Node.js, Python or Ruby Cloud Foundry application. When the instana_buildpack is opted-in by the Cloud Foundry application manifest, it automatically configures the staging process to bake in the droplet (the container image that is run by Cloud Foundry) all that is needed to have that Cloud Foundry application monitored with Instana.

The instana_buildpack is a so-called decorator buildpack, which adds logic and resources to the staging process, and must be used in conjunction with a final buildpack, which actually launches the Cloud Foundry application instances. For example the following command line will use the instana_buildpack to automate monitoring of a Node.js application:

cf push -b instana_buildpack -b nodejs_buildpack

Note: The instana_buildpack buildpack must not be used as the last buildpack in the sequence of buildpacks, as that will result in a staging error.

The same can be achieved defining multiple buildpacks in the application manifest.yml as follows:

- name: test-nodejs
    - instana_buildpack
    - nodejs_buildpack

For more information on how to use multiple buildpack when pushing Cloud Foundry applications, refer to the Pushing an App with Multiple Buildpacks documentation.