Getting started: How to set up and observe your own data

Take a few steps to be able to use Instana for monitoring, alerting, and analysis of your own application data.

This is one of the "how to" topics that are being developed to help you learn how to use Instana with your own data and IT landscape.

Step 1: Deploy an agent

Depending on what you want to observe, you can install the following types of Instana agents:

To monitor remote services (like IBM Z HMC, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Oracle, Microsoft® Azure) in a Kubernetes or Red Hat OpenShift cluster, do not install Instana agents on each node of the cluster. Install Instana agents on dedicated host machines.

  • Host agents: A host agent runs on your host to collect and aggregate data from various sensors before it sends the data to the Instana backend. You can install the host agent on a virtual machine (VM), a physical host, Kubernetes, Cloud Foundry, VMware® Tanzu, or other similar platforms.

    After you install the host agent, Instana sensors, which are designed to monitor specific technologies, are automatically installed. Most sensors are automatically installed and configured after the host agent is installed. But for some sensors, you might need to do some configurations to make these sensors work. For the list of supported sensors, see Agent sensors and Action sensors.

  • Cloud service agents: These agents monitor services that are managed by cloud providers, like Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) or Azure subscriptions.

  • Serverless agents: These agents monitor AWS Lambda and other Serverless platforms.

  • Website agent and mobile agents: These agents monitor websites and mobile applications.

Step 2: Create an Application Perspective

Application perspectives enable you to tailor your view of an application and to capture the type of semantics and information you need to optimize the applications and services you are responsible for. An Application Perspective represents a set of services and endpoints that are defined by a shared context and is declared by using tags.

You can use a wizard to easily create simple and frequently used types of application perspectives. An advanced screen is available if you are familiar or proficient with Instana or you need to create a sophisticated Application Perspective. It is very easy to switch between these two modes without data loss.

To create an Application Perspective, complete the steps in Creating an application perspective.

  1. Select a blueprint from the common use cases.
  2. Specify the application’s model by selecting the tags and values to identify the services or endpoints to include.
  3. Provide the final details to finish the creation.

Step 3: Set up smart alerts

Smart Alerts for application perspectives provide you with out-of-the-box blueprints such as slow calls, erroneous calls, HTTP status codes and throughput. In addition, you can choose from several threshold types, including ones that apply statistical models.

By default, you create an alert in simple mode, which involves the following steps:

  1. Select a predefined blueprint that you want to create an alert for.
  2. Confirm your scope as either the Application Perspective or your choice of services and endpoints within the Application Perspective.
  3. Select an alert channel from the list of preconfigured channels.

Simple mode enables you to select alerts with zero configuration so that you don't need to create queries or define thresholds.

You can choose to create an alert in advanced mode, which allows you to investigate and modify any automatically configured alert setting.

To create a smart alert, complete the steps in Adding an alert