IBM Instana: The Automated Solution for Observability

7:20 am
September 29, 2023

In today’s modern application environments, real-time automated observability is crucial for gaining visibility and insights into the performance of applications. Traditional solutions like New Relic struggle to keep up with monitoring in highly dynamic microservices and cloud-native environments. That’s where IBM Instana comes in, offering a fully automated observability platform.

The Importance of Automation in Observability

When applications experience performance issues, it can result in unhappy customers and negative business impact. Manual instrumentation and configuration in observability platforms lead to slower incident resolution, visibility gaps, and a lack of understanding of application environments. That’s why automation is an essential component of any observability solution, ensuring faster incident resolution and maximum visibility.

Installation and setup are crucial components of any observability platform. New Relic, for example, requires manual instrumentation and configuration, including the deployment of a custom “application.” This manual effort is time-consuming and resource-intensive. In contrast, IBM Instana offers an automated, single-agent architecture that simplifies installation and setup by handling the identification and configuration of interdependencies automatically.

Automation Across the Performance Monitoring Lifecycle

IBM Instana takes automation to the next level by automating every aspect of the performance monitoring lifecycle. From installation and configuration to application discovery, dashboards, profiling, alerts, troubleshooting, and change detection, Instana automates it all. This automation ensures comprehensive visibility and efficient troubleshooting in complex environments.

Moreover, IBM Instana goes beyond capturing performance metrics. It automatically traces every user request and profiles every process, combining data from metrics, traces, events, and profiles. This detailed data allows Instana to automatically identify the slowest service or component of a problem and detect issues with one-second metric granularity. In comparison, other tools like New Relic may miss these issues.

For troubleshooting in complex environments, Instana employs machine learning algorithms, anomaly detection techniques, and predictive analytics to automate root-cause analysis. This reduces the time required to identify the root cause of an incident and improves detection accuracy, leading to faster resolution.

Additionally, IBM Instana offers automated remediation actions through the Instana Action Catalog™. Users can build custom actions or use existing automation inventories like Ansible or PagerDuty. These actions can be linked to Instana events and run manually or automatically, leveraging AI to recommend actions based on event context.

Complete Automation and Full-Stack Visibility

Instana’s sensors automatically collect changes, metrics, and events, providing high-fidelity data with unmatched granularity and high cardinality. Each sensor has an out-of-the-box curated knowledge base of health signatures that continuously evaluates incoming metrics, raising issues or incidents based on user impact. Instana’s automatic, full-stack visibility spans the entire monitoring lifecycle, including self-monitoring and auto-updating agents, continuous discovery, deployment, configuration, and dependency mapping.

With zero-configuration dashboards, alerting, troubleshooting, and remediation, IBM Instana eliminates the manual and time-consuming processes associated with observability. It provides a comprehensive, automated solution for gaining deep insights into application performance.

Learn more about the differences between Instana and New Relic

Find out more about how IBM Instana’s automated observability solution surpasses New Relic in terms of automation and functionality by visiting the IBM Blog.


1. What is observability?

Observability refers to the ability to gain insights and visibility into the performance and behavior of complex software systems. It involves monitoring and analyzing various metrics, traces, events, and other data points to understand how an application or system is operating.

2. Why is automation important in observability?

Automation is essential in observability because it reduces manual effort, increases efficiency, and ensures comprehensive visibility. Manual instrumentation and configuration can lead to visibility gaps and slower incident resolution. With automation, observability platforms can automatically discover, monitor, and analyze application components, providing real-time insights into performance.

3. How does IBM Instana differ from New Relic?

IBM Instana and New Relic are both observability platforms, but IBM Instana sets itself apart with its full automation across the entire monitoring lifecycle. Instana automates installation, configuration, application discovery, dashboards, profiling, alerts, troubleshooting, and even offers remediation actions. New Relic, on the other hand, relies on manual instrumentation and configuration, which can be time-consuming and resource-intensive.

4. What are the benefits of using IBM Instana?

Using IBM Instana provides numerous benefits, including faster incident resolution, comprehensive visibility into application performance, automated root-cause analysis, and efficient troubleshooting in complex environments. Instana’s automation capabilities save time and effort, improve detection accuracy, and streamline the observability process.


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