Monitoring Containerd

After you install the Instana host agent, the Containerd sensor is automatically installed.

You can view metrics that are related to Containerd in the Instana UI after you configure the Containerd sensor as outlined in the Configuring section.

Supported information

Supported operating systems

The supported operating systems of the Containerd sensor are consistent with host agents requirements, which can be checked in the Supported operating systems section of each host agent, such as Supported operating systems for Unix.

Supported containers

All containers that run the Containerd container runtime are supported except for the pause containers.

The pause container is a container that holds the network namespace for the pod. Kubernetes creates pause containers to acquire the IP address of respective pod and set up the network namespace for all other containers that join that pod.

The pause containers are not supported for the following reasons:

  • Monitoring pause containers does not bring much information on the infrastructure level because they act as sidecar helper containers.
  • When the pause containers are included, it doubles the number of monitored containers in an environment and therefore increases the Instana monitoring costs.


The Containerd sensor requires the crictl utility to collect Kubernetes labels that are associated with the container and locate Container logs. The Kubernetes labels that are associated with the container are displayed in the Kubernetes Labels tab in the Instana UI.

To enable the collection of these labels, you must install the crictl command-line tool in the host server where the Instana host agent is installed. Then, add the path of the crictl binary to the $PATH environment variable for the user under which the host agent is running.

Note: If the crictl command-line tool is not installed, the Containerd sensor's performance metric collection for CPU and memory usage can work, but the Kubernetes labels that are associated with the container can't be displayed in the Kubernetes Labels tab in the Instana UI, and the container log is not collected when you enable the feature.

Configuring the Containerd sensor

You can configure the Containerd sensor in the configuration.yaml file as shown in the following example:

    enabled: true
      enabled: true
      sendInterval: 60
      maxBufferSize: 16777216
      - '/var/snap/microk8s/common/run/containerd.sock'
Parameter Description Mandatory/Optional Value range
com.instana.plugin.containerd.enabled The flag to enable the Containerd sensor. Optional false or true.
Default: true
Available since: Containerd sensor 1.0.30.
The flag to enable log collection for the Containerd sensor.
Optional true or false.
Default: false
Available since: Containerd sensor 1.0.30.
The maximum duration (in seconds) that container logs remain cached in the log-sensor before they are uploaded to the backend.
Optional 1 to 600.
Default: 60
Available since: Containerd sensor 1.0.30.
The maximum internal log buffer size (in bytes). If internal log buffer contents exceed the size, then the log-sensor flushes the contents to the Instana backend.
Optional 1000 to 32000000.
Default: 16777216 (16 MB)
Available since: Containerd sensor 1.0.30.
List of fully qualified paths to containerd.sock files. The sensor has automatic socket file discovery that searches for the containerd.sock file in /run/ and /var/run/ directories. If a different location is configured for the socket, then the fully qualified path needs to be added. For example, if a technology, such as "microk8s" is used to deploy containers on Ubuntu, a possible location for the socket file can be /var/snap/microk8s/common/run/containerd.sock as shown in the example.
Optional List of fully qualified file paths

Enabling metrics collection

The Containerd sensor with ctr 1.2.0 and later versions can automatically collect metrics by using the ctr task metrics command. In this case, you don't need to enable metrics collection manually.

The Containerd sensor with ctr 1.2.0 and earlier versions does not support the metrics command. If you are using ctr 1.2.0 or earlier versions, the sensor will attempt to query metrics from the Prometheus endpoint. To enable the Prometheus endpoint, you need to specify the "metrics" address "" in the /etc/containerd/config.toml configuration file and then restart the containerd.service.

  address = ""

Viewing metrics

To view the metrics, complete the following steps:

  1. In the sidebar of the Instana UI, select Infrastructure.
  2. Click a host that has a Containerd container.

You can see a host dashboard with all the collected metrics and monitored processes.

Viewing container details

To fetch the container details, click Get Container Info.

The following information is displayed:

  • Container ID
  • Image
  • Created at
  • Updated at
  • Containerd namespace
  • Labels

Performance metrics

Metric Description Granularity
CPU usage Total kernel, memory, and user usage 10 seconds
CPU throttling Throttling time and count 10 seconds
Memory usage Total, cache, limit, percentage, and resident set size 10 seconds
Memory active The amount of anonymous and cache active memory 10 seconds
Memory inactive The amount of anonymous and cache inactive memory 10 seconds
Block IO The amount of data, in bytes, that the monitored container writes and reads on the disk 10 seconds

Viewing container logs

Containerd log collection is supported for Containerd sensor 1.0.30 and later.

When this feature is enabled, the Containerd sensor collects only the container logs that are written to a file because Instana currently supports only the default logging driver, which writes log entries to a file.

For example, in Kubernetes deployments, Containerd logs might be written to files in the /var/log/pods/{namespace}_{podName}_{podUID}/{containerName} directory.

You can monitor the collected logs by clicking Analytics > Logs in the Instana UI and filter logs by using the "Container Snapshot Id" filter, which can filter both Docker and Containerd log messages.