Instana Dynamic APM Initial Setup

Ashijit Pramanik
student at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
The setup that we were running was hosted on our machines. Instana has a SaaS version as well. We were not using that. We were using installations for our customers. The on-prem version obviously requires more expertise as far as provisioning the appropriate hardware. We ran it on VMs but the on-prem version requires a lot of resources. For production systems, they have recommended 64 GB. We were able to make do with 32 GB just fine, even on production. So those numbers are more indicative of what they planned in the lab. We were able to make do with at a lot less. Suppose something basic like Memcached is running. All the stats that are required are gathered by Instana automatically, you don't have to do much for that. But there are some other services that may require more configuration. One needs to go through everything it has detected in the logs, and that takes a bit of time. It's more of a one-time effort. Once that's done and configured, then you can bake that into the image of that particular stack, or as part of your configuration management tool and then it should be fine. The more data points it gathers, the more useful they become together; heuristics on the whole system. Otherwise, you just have basic, low-level stats like CPU load average and that's something any tool will give you. If I speak about it from the point of view of where the agent is running, if you are using the SaaS version it's pretty simple. There is just a single one-line command that you have to run and that installs everything. You just have to configure the credentials for different services, like databases, or some particular app that requires auth. Everything else is automated. That is a quite a big advantage if somebody has a huge setup. Configuring all of that is a big issue if you don't have the manpower to set up everything beforehand. To install an agent you just keep it as part of the image, or you can install it on the fly and it will just appear in the required place. It takes around five minutes for each application, even if you're doing it by hand. Although we were running the on-prem version, we didn't have any dedicated staff, as such. One team did all the deployments and the technical account manager used to look after it, as well as the primary users. I was the one who would be contacted for any complicated issue that cropped up. But other than that, it's not very high maintenance. It pretty much works. I should say that since we were running the 32 GB setup, we did have certain resource limits being hit sometimes. But that's because we were not following their prescribed requirements. But if it's properly configured, and enough resources are present, at least for the on-prem, it shouldn't require much maintenance at all. One person who has a couple of years of system management experience can easily manage it. View full review »
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