Monitoring TKG with Tanzu Observability

Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Monitoring with Tanzu Observability

It’s not news that production applications need a mechanism to determine how many resources are currently being used by the apps and how many resources are in reserve for when the application needs to scale. Often, the first place operations teams will look when issues arise will be a monitoring dashboard with performance metrics.

In a Kubernetes cluster, we need to identify how many resources each of our containers are using at any given time. We also need to know that there is additional capacity within the cluster for expansion. In some cases, clusters can automatically scale the number of nodes when the reserve resources dwindle.

VMware Tanzu Observability

Tanzu Observability delivers full-stack observability across containerized cloud applications, Kubernetes health, and cloud infrastructure. The solution is consumed through a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) subscription model, managed by VMware.

This SaaS model allows the solution to scale to meet our metrics requirements without the need for customers to maintain the solution itself. A common alternative monitoring solution for Kubernetes is Prometheus. Prometheus is an excellent tool for managing metrics, but it has its limits that you must address. If you’ve ever tried to push the metrics of hundreds of clusters to a single Prometheus instance, you probably know that the Prometheus instance itself will need to scale to handle the metrics it's managing. Another common strategy is to deploy a Prometheus instance for every cluster deployed, but again that leads to technical debt to keep these instances straight.

Tanzu Observability is the only cloud-scale tracing solution capable of handling millions of metrics, histograms, and traces per second needed to support high-growth, production cloud applications. The service can ingest metrics from microservices and tracing data, legacy applications, containers, serverless functions, multiple cloud vendors and your data center infrastructure. But getting and managing metrics is only part of the magic that Tanzu Observability provides. Once the metrics are ingested, you get real-time insights on this data, correlated with other events. Tanzu Observability also retains full granularity of your telemetry data as data is archived, so that you can still accurately show baselines for seasonality and historical trends.

Configure Tanzu Observability through Tanzu Mission Control

To configure your Tanzu Kubernetes clusters to use Tanzu Observability for metric collection, we’ll use Tanzu Mission Control (TMC) to set this up for us. TMC provides a common management layer across our Kubernetes clusters to set policies or permissions but also to install integrations. If you are not a TMC customer but want to try out Tanzu Observability, Tanzu Observability provides easy to follow instructions in the Integrations menu.

Before you start the setup, you’ll need to know some information about your Tanzu Observability instance. Log in to the Tanzu Observability instance and click the gear icon, then Account Management, and go to the service accounts tab. Click “Create New Account” to create a service account and an associated API Token.

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You’ll want to store the API token for later in the process.

To deploy the Tanzu Observability collectors, log in to the Tanzu Mission Control portal and select the cluster you wish to enable. Under the actions dropdown, select Tanzu Observability Add….

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When the setup screen opens, you’ll be asked to provide the URL and the API token for your Tanzu Observability portal. Supply the URL and the token obtained from earlier in this post.

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Once the configuration is confirmed, Tanzu Mission Control will deploy the collectors and proxies into your Kubernetes cluster and configure them to be used with your Tanzu Observability instance. After a few minutes, you will start seeing metrics in your Tanzu Observability portal and these metrics are displayed in a Kubernetes dashboard that is pre-created to get you going quickly.

At this point you can begin creating queries for specific data your company is looking for, create alerts, and create your own dashboards. The default Kubernetes dashboard lets you drill into the objects to get more specific information.

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Summary and Additional Resources

A proper monitoring solution is a must-have resource for managing Kubernetes clusters at scale. The ability to quickly diagnose issues and be alerted to problems is a constant task for operations teams to manage. Tanzu Observability deployed through Tanzu Mission Control, creates an easy to manage and scalable solution for Kubernetes performance monitoring.

Additional Resources

Tanzu Observability Website

Tanzu Observability Introductory Videos


The following updates were made to this guide.


Description of Changes


Initial publication

About the Author and Contributors

Eric Shanks has spent two decades working with VMware and cloud technologies focusing on hybrid cloud and automation. Eric has obtained some of the industry’s highest distinctions, including two VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX #195) certifications and many others across various solutions, including Kubernetes, Microsoft, Cisco, and Amazon Web Services.

Eric’s acted as a community contributor through work as a Chicago VMUG Users Group leader, blogger at, and Tech Field Day delegate.

  • Eric Shanks, Sr. Technical Marketing Architect, Cloud Services Business Unit, VMware






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