Docsright arrowEmissary-ingressright arrowMonitoring with Prometheus and Grafana

8 min • read

Monitoring with Prometheus and Grafana

Prometheus is an open-source monitoring and alerting system. When used along with Grafana, you can create a dynamic dashboard for monitoring ingress into our Kubernetes cluster.


This guide will focus on deploying Prometheus and Grafana alongside Emissary-ingress in Kubernetes using the Prometheus Operator.

Note: Both Prometheus and Grafana can be deployed as standalone applications outside of Kubernetes. This process is well-documented within the website and docs within their respective projects.


Emissary-ingress makes it easy to output Envoy-generated statistics to Prometheus. For the remainder of this guide, it is assumed that you have installed and configured Emissary-ingress into your Kubernetes cluster, and that it is possible for you to modify the global configuration of the Emissary-ingress deployment.

The /metrics endpoint can be accessed internally via the Emissary-ingress admin port (default 8877):

or externally by creating a Mapping similar to below:

Note: Since /metrics in an endpoint on Emissary-ingress itself, the service field can just reference the admin port on localhost.

Using the cluster_tag setting

The metrics that Prometheus scrapes from Emissary-ingress are keyed using the name of the Envoy cluster that is handling traffic for a given Mapping. The name of a given cluster is generated by Emissary-ingress and, as such, is not necessarily terribly readable.

You can set the cluster_tag attribute within a Mapping to specify a prefix for the generated cluster name, to help manage metrics.

Prometheus Operator with standard YAML

In this section, we will deploy the Prometheus Operator using the standard YAML files. Alternatively, you can install it with Helm if you prefer.

  1. Deploy the Prometheus Operator

    To deploy the Prometheus Operator, you can clone the repository and follow the instructions in the README, or simply create the resources published in the YAML with kubectl.

  2. Deploy Prometheus by creating a Prometheus CRD

    First, create RBAC resources for your Prometheus instance

    Then, copy the YAML below, and save it in a file called prometheus.yaml

  3. Create a ServiceMonitor

    Finally, we need to tell Prometheus where to scrape metrics from. The Prometheus Operator easily manages this using a ServiceMonitor CRD. To tell Prometheus to scrape metrics from Emissary-ingress's /metrics endpoint, copy the following YAML to a file called ambassador-monitor.yaml, and apply it with kubectl.

    Scrape metrics directly from the /metrics endpoint of Emissary-ingress running in the ambassador namespace:

Prometheus is now configured to gather metrics from Emissary-ingress.

Prometheus Operator with Helm

In this section, we will deploy the Prometheus Operator using Helm. Alternatively, you can install it with kubectl YAML if you prefer.

The default Helm Chart will install Prometheus and configure it to monitor your Kubernetes cluster.

This section will focus on setting up Prometheus to scrape stats from Emissary-ingress. Configuration of the Helm Chart and analysis of stats from other cluster components is outside of the scope of this documentation.

  1. Install the Prometheus Operator from the helm chart

    Following the most up-to-date instructions on the kube-prometheus-stack official repository, you should install the Prometheus Operator in a similar way:

  2. Create a ServiceMonitor

    The Prometheus Operator Helm chart creates a Prometheus instance that is looking for ServiceMonitors with label: release=prometheus.

    Scrape metrics directly from the /metrics endpoint of Emissary-ingress running in the ambassador namespace. You may want to adjust namespace and label selectors to match your installation:

Prometheus is now configured to gather metrics from Emissary-ingress.

Prometheus Operator CRDs

The Prometheus Operator creates a series of Kubernetes Custom Resource Definitions (CRDs) for managing Prometheus in Kubernetes.

Custom Resource DefinitionDescription
AlertManagerAn AlertManager handles alerts sent by the Prometheus server.
PrometheusRuleRegisters altering and reporting rules with Prometheus.
PrometheusCreates a Prometheus instance.
ServiceMonitorTells Prometheus where to scrape metrics from.

The prometheus-operator project published a full API reference to these different CRDs.


Grafana is an open-source graphing tool for plotting data points. Grafana allows you to create dynamic dashboards for monitoring your ingress traffic stats collected from Prometheus.

We have published a sample dashboard you can use for monitoring your ingress traffic and control plane operations.

Note: If you deployed the Prometheus Operator via the Helm Chart, a Grafana dashboard is created by default. You can use this dashboard or set grafana.enabled: false and follow the instructions below.

To deploy Grafana behind Emissary-ingress: replace {{AMBASSADOR_IP}} with the IP address or DNS name of your Emissary-ingress service, copy the YAML below, and apply it with kubectl:

Note: If you forgot how to get the value of your AMBASSADOR_IP or have not set-up DNS, you can get the IP by using the kubectl get services -n ambassador command, and select the External-IP of your Emissary-ingress LoadBalancer service.

Now, create a service and Mapping to expose Grafana behind Emissary-ingress:

Note: Don't forget to replace {{GRAFANA_NAMESPACE}} with the namespace you deployed Grafana to. In our example we used the default namespace, so for this example you would change it to grafana.default or just grafana.

Now, access Grafana by going to {AMBASSADOR_IP}/grafana/ and logging in with username: admin : password: admin.

Before you can import the Emissary-ingress dashboard. You need to add a data source. From the Grafana home page, select Add your first data source. Now, select 'Prometheus'. In the URL section, type in http://prometheus.default:9090, or http://prometheus-operated.default:9090 if you installed Prometheus with Helm. We deployed prometheus to the default namespace in our example, but if you deployed it to a different namespace, make sure to replace default with your namespace. Press Save & Test to confirm that the data source works.

Import the provided dashboard by clicking + Import while hovering the Dashboards menu in the left side-bar, and entering the dashboard ID 4698.

From here, select the Prometheus data source we created from the Prometheus drop down menu, and select import to finish adding the dashboard.

In the dashboard we just added, you should now be able to view graphs with Emissary-ingress metrics.

Viewing stats/metrics

Above, you have created an environment where Emissary-ingress is handling ingress traffic, Prometheus is scraping and collecting statistics from Envoy, and Grafana is displaying these statistics in a dashboard.

You can easily view a sample of these statistics via the Grafana dashboard at {AMBASSADOR_IP}/grafana/ and logging in with the credentials above.

The example dashboard you installed above displays 'top line' statistics about the API response codes, number of connections, connection length, number of registered services, etc.

To view the full set of stats available to Prometheus you can access the Prometheus UI by running:

and going to http://localhost:9090/ from a web browser

In the UI, discover all the stats Prometheus is able to scrape from Emissary-ingress by searching for expressions starting with envoy and ambassador.

The Prometheus data model is, at its core, time-series based. Therefore, it makes it easy to represent rates, averages, peaks, minimums, and histograms. Review the Prometheus documentation for a full reference on how to work with this data model.