Platform Observability

How to setup platform observability for Jenkins X

This guide will help you install, configure and use an observability stack in your Jenkins X cluster.

We selected the Grafana stack because:


Please follow the usual getting started guide for boot and helm 3 first.

The first step is to edit your main helmfile.yaml file located in the root directory of your development environment git repository, so that it references the helmfiles/jx-observability/helmfile.yaml file, such as:

- path: helmfiles/jx/helmfile.yaml
- path: helmfiles/jx-observability/helmfile.yaml
- path: helmfiles/tekton-pipelines/helmfile.yaml

The second step is to create the helmfiles/jx-observability/helmfile.yaml file, with the following content:

namespace: jx-observability
- chart: jx3/grafana-dashboard
- chart: grafana/loki
- chart: grafana/promtail
- chart: grafana/tempo
- chart: grafana/grafana
- chart: prometheus-community/prometheus

Commit and push these changes, and after a few minutes you should see grafana, loki, promtail, tempo, and prometheus pods running in the jx-observability namespace:

$ kubectl get pod -n jx-observability
NAME                                             READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
grafana-5858dbfcc4-ldhtc                         2/2     Running   0          8m25s
loki-0                                           1/1     Running   0          10m
prometheus-alertmanager-8697d479dd-9nqt7         2/2     Running   0          10m
prometheus-kube-state-metrics-685b975bb7-cds8s   1/1     Running   0          10m
prometheus-node-exporter-djdr6                   1/1     Running   0          10m
prometheus-server-65ff7b48dd-kqj2d               2/2     Running   0          10m
promtail-f26j8                                   1/1     Running   0          10m
tempo-0                                          1/1     Running   0          10m

Who’s who

  • Promtail collects the logs from all running containers
    • it is deployed as a daemonset on every node of the cluster so that it can read the Kubernetes log files
  • Loki ingests the logs - pushed by promtail - and exposes a query API
  • Tempo ingests the traces - pushed by the applications or an agent such as the OpenTelemetry Collector - and exposes a query API
  • Prometheus (server) collects and ingests the metrics from the running pods
  • Grafana is the UI that brings everything together
  • Grafana Dashboard is a Helm Chart that contains Grafana Dashboards for Jenkins X, stored in Kubernetes ConfigMaps


Grafana is exposed through an ingress - you can retrieve its URL with the following command:

$ kubectl get ing -n jx-observability

The default credentials are stored in the grafana Kubernetes Secret:

  • the default user is admin
  • the default password has been auto-generated at installation time, you can retrieve it with the following command:
$ kubectl -n jx-observability get secret grafana --template='{{index .data "admin-password"}}' | base64 --decode

Once you are logged in, you can play with the pre-defined dashboards, or with the Grafana Explorer.

This is an example of a pre-defined dashboard, for cert-manager, where we display on the same dashboard metrics collected by Prometheus (including the certificates expiration dates) and logs collected by Loki/Promtail:

cert-manager grafana dashboard for Jenkins X


The configuration is defined in “values files” stored in the Jenkins X Version Stream:

If you want to change anything from the default configuration, you can either:

  • submit a Pull Request if you believe this change is beneficial for everybody
  • or create a new values file in your development environment git repository, in the values directory
    • for example, values/grafana/values.yaml for Grafana, or values/prometheus/values.yaml for Prometheus

Next steps

Once the Grafana stack is installed and configured, you can:

Last modified April 8, 2021: docs: add doc for grafana tempo (6fc49cce6f)