New Wavefront Istio Plugin: Monitoring a Microservices Mesh

October 3, 2018 Stela Udovicic

Traditional monolith applications are nowadays increasingly getting decomposed into distributed microservices. The new infrastructure layer that enables communications between microservices is defined as a service mesh. As deployments of microservices grow, managing their communications becomes ever more complicated.

Istio is an open source project for management of a network of microservices without any changes to the microservices code. The list of Istio tasks includes:

  • Load balancing of traffic between microservices
  • Enforcing microservices traffic routing rules
  • Supporting access controls
  • Tracing all traffic within a cluster
  • Ensuring secure service-to-service communication

Why Use Wavefront with Istio?

SREs and developers working with microservices need to ensure that there are no bottlenecks in microservices communications, which can impair their customers’ distributed application experience. To that end, they must monitor their microservices traffic. The more microservices one has, the more metrics one needs to track. Istio exposes essential microservices communications performance metrics. Wavefront cloud-native monitoring and analytics platform, at the same time, is an ideal choice for analyzing these metrics because it’s designed and proven to handle millions of metrics per second and is capable of dealing with the exponential growth of traffic-related microservices metrics exposed by Istio.

Venil Noronha from VMware Open Source Technology Center built the adapter that collects key metrics from Istio and makes them available to Wavefront. For more detailed information about the Wavefront adapter for Istio, please check out this GitHub repo or Docker Hub image. Also, the preliminary Istio 1.1 lists Wavefront adapter and its essential configuration parameters.

To illustrate how easy it is to collect Istio metrics, our open source team used the bookinfo-sample application example as defined at Istio’s website. The sample application is composed of four separate microservices as shown in the picture below:


By using Wavefront, Istio and the new adapter, you can collect metrics from this application and create Wavefront dashboards. For example, the Wavefront Istio adapter defines four sample microservices communications metrics that can be very useful for developers or SREs:

  • requestsize – histogram metric
  • requestcount – delta counter
  • requestduration – histogram metric
  • responsesize – histogram metric

Within the adapter itself, you can define other performance metric and those will be easily visualized in Wavefront. For example, those include response status count, request volume, success rate. Once these metrics are collected, they can be correlated with other important metrics including cloud resources utilization or custom code metrics that Wavefront also collects.

Once metrics are defined, use Wavefront’s powerful dashboard to analyze the real-time as well as the historical performance of your microservices communications.


To avoid bottlenecks in microservices communications that can impair any customer experience, SREs must monitor microservices traffic. Istio makes it easy to get access to important properties of that communication. Use the Wavefront Istio adapter to collect important microservices metrics about mesh performance. Ready to try Wavefront with Istio? Check out our free trial.

Get Started with Wavefront Follow @stela_udo View Venil's Github Profile Follow @WavefrontHQ

The post New Wavefront Istio Plugin: Monitoring a Microservices Mesh appeared first on Wavefront by VMware.

About the Author

Stela Udovicic

Stela Udovicic (@stela_udo) is a Director of Product Marketing at VMware leading Tanzu Observability by Wavefront PMM team. Before VMware, while at Wavefront, as Sr. Director, Product Marketing, she led Product, Solutions and Partner Marketing. Before Wavefront, Stela led Product Marketing for Splunk's DevOps, IT Ops, storage, and networking solutions. Stela holds an MSc in Electrical Engineering. She has presented at many major conferences, including Splunk.conf, VMworld, DevOps Days, Cisco Live, RSA, Monitorama, PuppetConf, NetApp Insight, etc.

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