This page describes how to configure Jaeger for Kiali.

Jaeger configuration

Jaeger is a highly recommended service because Kiali uses distributed tracing data for several features, providing an enhanced experience.

By default, Kiali will try to reach Jaeger at the GRPC-enabled URL of the form http://tracing.<istio_namespace_name>:16685/jaeger, which is the usual case if you are using the Jaeger Istio add-on. If this endpoint is unreachable, Kiali will disable features that use distributed tracing data.

If your Jaeger instance has a different service name or is installed to a different namespace, you must manually provide the endpoint where it is available, like in the following example:

      # Enabled by default. Kiali will anyway fallback to disabled if
      # Jaeger is unreachable.
      enabled: true
      # Jaeger service name is "tracing" and is in the "telemetry" namespace.
      # Make sure the URL you provide corresponds to the non-GRPC enabled endpoint
      # if you set "use_grpc" to false.
      in_cluster_url: "http://tracing.telemetry:16685/jaeger"
      use_grpc: true
      # Public facing URL of Jaeger
      url: "http://my-jaeger-host/jaeger"

Minimally, you must provide spec.external_services.tracing.in_cluster_url to enable Kiali features that use distributed tracing data. However, Kiali can provide contextual links that users can use to jump to the Jaeger console to inspect tracing data more in depth. For these links to be available you need to set the spec.external_services.tracing.url which may mean that you should expose Jaeger outside the cluster.

Use Jaeger frontend with Grafana Tempo tracing backend

It is possible to use the Grafana Tempo tracing backend exposing the Jaeger API. tempo-query is a Jaeger storage plugin. It accepts the full Jaeger query API and translates these requests into Tempo queries.

Since Tempo is not yet part of the built-in addons that are part of Istio, you need to manage your Tempo instance.


The official Grafana Tempo documentation explains how to deploy a Tempo instance using Tanka. You will need to tweak the settings from the default Tanka configuration to:

  • Expose the Zipkin collector
  • Expose the GRPC Jaeger Query port

When the Tempo instance is deployed with the needed configurations, you have to set meshConfig.defaultConfig.tracing.zipkin.address from Istio to the Tempo Distributor service and the Zipkin port. Tanka will deploy the service in distributor.tempo.svc.cluster.local:9411.

The in_cluster_url Kiali option needs to be set to' http://query-frontend.tempo.svc.cluster.local:16685.

Tempo Operator

The Tempo Operator for Kubernetes provides a native Kubernetes solution to deploy Tempo easily in your system.

After installing the Tempo Operator in your cluster, you can create a new Tempo instance with the following CR:

kubectl create namespace tempo
kubectl apply -n tempo -f - <<EOF
apiVersion: tempo.grafana.com/v1alpha1
kind: TempoStack
  name: smm
  storageSize: 1Gi
      type: s3
      name: object-storage
        memory: 2Gi
        cpu: 2000m
        enabled: true
          type: ingress

Note the name of the bucket where the traces will be stored in our example is called object-storage. Check the Tempo Operator documentation to know more about what storages are supported and how to create the secret properly to provide it to your Tempo instance.

Now, you are ready to configure the meshConfig.defaultConfig.tracing.zipkin.address field in your Istio installation. It needs to be set to the 9411 port of the Tempo Distributor service. For the previous example, this value will be tempo-smm-distributor.tempo.svc.cluster.local:9411.

Now, you need to configure the in_cluster_url setting from Kiali to access the Jaeger API. You can point to the 16685 port to use GRPC or 16686 if not. For the given example, the value would be http://tempo-ssm-query-frontend.tempo.svc.cluster.local:16685.

There is a related tutorial with detailed instructions to setup Kiali and Grafana Tempo with the Operator.

Last modified August 23, 2023 : Mc tutorial suggestions (#689) (e30ba9b)