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Grafana + Cilium: eBPF-powered Observability

Dan Wendlandt
Dan Wendlandt
Published: Updated: Isovalent

Grafana Labs announces partnership with Isovalent to bring Cilium's eBPF-powered observability for kubernetes and cloud native infrastructure.

Grafana partners with Isovalent for eBPF-powered Observability

Today, Grafana Labs announced a strategic partnership with Isovalent, the creators of Cilium for Kubernetes connectivity and security, to make it easy for platform and application teams to gain deep insights into the connectivity, security, and performance of the applications running on Kubernetes by leveraging the Grafana open source observability stack. Grafana Labs’ recent participation in Isovalent’s Series B funding round kicked off some joint engineering initiatives, and we are excited to share more about why we decided to partner, as well as some of the early results of this collaboration. 

Both companies have a shared belief in the critical role of connectivity observability in the age of modern API-driven applications, and in the importance of building thriving open source communities to more effectively engage with and learn from end users and ecosystem partners.

I wrote a detailed technical blog post on that goes into the details of the ability to observe the health and performance of connectivity between cloud native applications. I also talk about why gaining rich connectivity observability for modern cloud native workloads has traditionally been extremely challenging to date, and how eBPF, an exciting new innovation in the Linux kernel led by the Isovalent team, has enabled a fundamentally better approach. eBPF-powered Cilium project has risen to become the new de facto standard for secure and observable connectivity within Kubernetes environments and I dig into several concrete examples of how the combination of Cilium’s rich connectivity observability data with Grafana Labs’ LGTM (Loki for logs, Grafana for visualization, Tempo for traces, Mimir for metrics) open source observability stack represents a major step forward in capability and simplicity for application owners and Kubernetes platform teams.

Read my full blog post on which includes concrete examples and screenshots.

Architecture diagram of Cilium and Grafana
High level architecture of Cilium + Grafana.  Cilium generates in-kernel eBPF programs based on the identity of the workload. These eBPF programs export observability data to the Grafana LGTM stack

What’s next? Request Early Access!

We hope the examples in that blog post were useful and that you’re as excited as we are about eBPF, Cilium, and how the combination of these technologies with Grafana’s LGTM stack and Grafana Cloud can make the lives of application and platform teams easier.  

This collaboration between Grafana Labs and Isovalent is only a few months old, and we are just scratching the surface. Expect more blogs with additional use cases and news about further integrations with Grafana Cloud in the coming weeks and months. In addition to exploring more connectivity observability use cases, we’ll also dig into how the LGTM stack combined with Cilium Tetragon can provide deep runtime and network security observability for forensics, threat detection, and compliance monitoring. 

If you’d like to try out some of the examples we discussed above on your own, we encourage you to check out this hands-on demo, which uses Kind to run a small Kubernetes cluster, Cilium, Grafana, Prometheus, and Tempo on your laptop. If you have questions or ideas, we encourage you to join the conversation in the #grafana channel on the Cilium Slack

Join us for a webinar on Nov 15, 2022 at 9AM US Pacific | 18:00 CET by registering here.

If you are interested in getting more information about using Grafana and Cilium’s eBPF-powered Observability at enterprise scale, request early access to the Isovalent Cilium Enterprise and Grafana integration:

Update: The early access time is over now. If you want to learn more about how to use Grafana, try our Grafan based observability lab:

Golden Signals with Hubble and Grafana

Learn how Cilium can provide metrics for an existing application with and without tracing functionality, and how you can use Grafana dashboards provided by Cilium to gain insight into how your application is behaving.

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Dan Wendlandt
AuthorDan WendlandtCo-founder & CEO of Isovalent
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