Comprehensive network observability for AKS through Azure Monitor
Published May 23 2023 09:00 AM 6,776 Views


Note: Blog was updated with a missing link to Network Observability add-on documentation (See

At Build 2023, we are happy to announce the public preview of the new Network Observability add-on for AKS. This add-on provides cluster level networking metrics and complete visibility into your cluster network. When combined with the recently announced Istio service mesh add-on  and Azure CNI (powered by Cilium) - Customers now have comprehensive observability across all network layers. These offerings work seamlessly with the Azure managed services for Prometheus and Grafana - providing a unified monitoring experience in Azure Monitor.




This solves a top pain point for AKS customers – the low observability across the multiple layers in the Kubernetes networking stack that make it difficult to spot the root cause for a networking issue.


Network Observability add-on

Comprehensive networking metrics for your AKS cluster



The new Network Observability AKS add-on (Preview) provides complete observability into the network health and connectivity of your AKS cluster.

Key benefits

  • Get access to cluster level network metrics like packet drops, connections stats and more. 
  • (At GA) Access to pod-level metrics and network debuggability features
  • Support for all Azure CNIs - AzureCNI and AzureCNI (Powered by Cilium) 
  • Support for all AKS node types - Linux and Windows
  • Easy deployment using native Azure tools - AKS CLI, ARM templates, PowerShell, etc.
  • Seamless integration with the Azure managed Prometheus and Azure-managed Grafana offerings.

Read more in the documentation.


Istio Service Mesh add-on

Community favorite service mesh for Kubernetes – now available as a managed offering



This service mesh add-on uses and builds on top of the open-source Istio project. This AKS add-on provides the following extra benefits:

  • Istio versions are tested and verified to be compatible with supported versions of Azure Kubernetes Service.
  • Microsoft handles scaling and configuration of Istio control plane.
  • Microsoft adjusts scaling of AKS components like `CoreDNS` when Istio is enabled.
  • Microsoft provides managed lifecycle (upgrades) for Istio components when triggered by user.
  • Verified external and internal ingress set-up.
  • Verified to work with Azure Monitor managed service for Prometheus and Azure Managed Grafana.
  • Official Azure support provided for the add-on.

 See blog and documentation for more information. 


Azure CNI – Powered by Cilium

Performance and innovation of Cilium – available natively on Azure



Azure CNI powered by Cilium integrates the scalable and flexible Azure IPAM control plane with the robust dataplane offered by Cilium OSS to create a modern container networking stack that meets the demands of cloud native workloads. Azure CNI Powered by Cilium offers the following benefits today and provides the ideal platform for future innovations. 

  • Scalable and performant Networking - The Cilium powered CNI supports both Vnet and Overlay modes. The socket-based load-balancing for Kubernetes services in Cilium replaces the inefficient load-balancing based on IPTable rules in KubeProxy to provide superior data path performance at par with direct connectivity to service backend Pod. The performance is deterministic irrespective of the number of services deployed in the cluster. 
  • Kubernetes Network - The Cilium powered CNI comes with built-in support for the basic Kubernetes Network Policies. There is no need to install a separate solution on top. The solution offers significant improvement in scale and performance by eliminating usage of IPTables for network filtering.

See blog and documentation for more information. 


Azure Monitor for Cloud native workloads



Building on our support for Cloud native workloads in Azure Monitor, we are happy to announce the GA of Azure Monitor managed service for Prometheus.

All the network observability components mentioned above work seamless with our managed services for Prometheus and Grafana.

  • The Network Observability and Azure Service Mesh add-on get scraped automatically by the Azure Monitor managed service for Prometheus without the need for any additional configuration
  • To visualize your metrics, you use out-of-box dashboards available in Azure managed Grafana or import community dashboards.


We are excited to see how you will use the capabilities and look forward to your feedback. Stay tuned as we work towards creating integrated monitoring and troubleshooting experiences for cloud native workloads.




Version history
Last update:
‎Jun 20 2023 08:04 AM
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