Win $20,000. Help build the future of education. Answer the call. Learn more

IBM Developer Blog

Follow the latest happenings with IBM Developer and stay in the know.

IBM Observability by Instana APM is the One Enterprise Observability Platform for the IBM ecosystem

IBM Observability by Instana APM provides a comprehensive observability platform for an entire enterprise, able to track requests spanning from mobile to mainframe, and supporting environments from bare metal machines to hybrid multi-cloud deployments.

Instana automatically discovers, maps and monitors infrastructure, platforms, services and applications in real time, and captures 100% of requests and transactions occurring across the environments.

To achieve this, Instana provides specific monitoring support for a broad and growing list of technologies, including a large set of programming languages and frameworks, web servers and proxies, messaging systems, and data stores. The following figure shows the technologies and capabilities, platforms, and systems that Instana supports.

Instana Technology Support and Capabilities

Support for IBM Products and Technologies

Among the technologies that Instana supports is a number of IBM middleware products and services, including IBM MQ, WebSphere Application Server (WAS) and WebSphere Liberty, and IBM DB2.

With Instana joining the IBM family, a number of enhancements have been made to the existing support for the IBM technologies, working in conjunction with the IBM product teams

  • To collect the most comprehensive set of data in the most efficient way
  • To represent the data in the most useful way
  • To provide built-in event and alert rules for common problem conditions.

Recent enhancements include additional EJB, Session Pool, and Thread Pool metrics for the WebSphere Application Server and the introduction of IBM MQ Tracing Support that makes it possible to not just trace requests across MQ, but to also see transitions through the MQ infrastructure.

New support has also been added for a range of IBM middleware products, services, and environments. Recently added middleware support includes IBM App Connect Enterprise, IBM Integration Bus, and IBM DataPower.

Support for IBM Cloud Platform

Instana has support for monitoring infrastructure and managed services provided by cloud providers including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. Instana has added support for the IBM Cloud platform, making it possible to monitor and alert on infrastructure and cloud managed services provided by IBM Cloud.

Instana’s monitoring of the IBM Cloud platform works in exactly the same way as it does for the other Cloud providers. Instana connects to the built-in monitoring capability of that cloud, such as CloudWatch for AWS and Azure Monitor for Microsoft Azure, in order to collect data about the infrastructure and services, and then Instana represents that data directly into Instana.

For the IBM Cloud platform, Instana connects to IBM Cloud Monitoring. As the Instana Agent is used to collect data from any user deployed workloads, IBM Cloud Monitoring only needs to be enabled to collect “IBM Platform Metrics.”

Once enabled, Instana has access to data on managed services including IBM Cloudant, Cloud Databases, Cloud Object Storage, and Event Streams, but also to infrastructure such as Load Balancers, Virtual Servers, and VPNs. Instana represents the managed services and infrastructure in the Instana views (see the following figure).

IBM Cloud Services in the Instana Infrastructure view

Support for IBM Mainframes

While Instana supports a wide range of operating systems and platforms, including Linux, AIX, Solaris, MacOS, and Windows, one notable gap has been support for IBM Mainframes. Instana has focused on closing that gap and now has initial support for monitoring a range of mainframe-based workloads and for tracking requests across web and mobile, distributed, and mainframe environments.

Instana now supports Z Hardware Management Console (Z HMC), making it possible to monitor your mainframe hardware and logical partitions, and also integrates with Z APM Connect to enable end-to-end tracking of requests involving the mainframe. By integrating with Z APM Connect, it means that requests that flow into mainframe resources, including CICS, IMS, VSAM, and DB2 appear as a normal part of Instana’s end-to-end request tracking.(This includes giving access to detailed information about the individual steps in the request.)

Integration with existing IBM Monitoring Products

The integration between Instana and Z APM Connect for end-to-end request tracking into the mainframe takes the data that Z APM Connect is collecting, and represents the data in Instana as if Instana had collected it directly.

Instana is taking the data that other products and services are collecting and then representing that data in Instana as if Instana had collected it directly. They used this approach with IBM Mainframe products, and they are using it with IBM APM as well. Users of IBM APM can aggregate their monitoring of existing environments with new Instana-based monitoring onto a single pane of glass. This works by connecting to the existing IBM APM server, and streaming a copy of its data into Instana. This means that the existing IBM APM deployment and its console do not lose their data and are unaffected, but now there is a single view of all of the data and monitored environments in Instana (see the following figure).

IBM APMv8 monitored resources in the Instana Infrastructure view


Instana has a rich and ever growing set of technologies that it can monitor directly, and Instana is focused on making sure there is market-leading support for IBM middleware products. Additionally, Instana will also connect to existing monitoring systems, whether that’s IBM Cloud, IBM APMv8, or Z APM Connect, and bring that data into Instana as if it had collected it directly and without having to modify existing monitoring installs. All of these enhancements are part of what’s making Instana the one enterprise observability platform with all of the data.