Announcing Enhanced Telemetry for PKS

At Pivotal, we’re always focused on our customers’ experiences and outcomes as the most important metric of our success. One of the ways we measure that is through our Pivotal Telemetry Program. Since Pivotal Container Service (PKS) is jointly engineered and supported with VMware, we’ve paired our telemetry program with VMware’s Customer Experience Improvement Program since version 1.1 of PKS. This optional program lets customers share data about their installations. It allows us to better gauge their usage and needs to make sure we’re working on the features and components that matter most to them. We take the responsibility of protecting our participants’ data very seriously and have details on the privacy and security considerations of the VMware CEIP program here.

We’re proud to announce with PKS version 1.5 we’re expanding the program to include an Enhanced Telemetry participation tier for PKS. By providing us your VMware Account Number (VAN) or Pivotal Customer Number (PCN), we can consolidate all your telemetry data centrally and share that data with you!

Highlights of the Enhanced Telemetry Tier

  • Total transparency: Every metric or event that is emitted is detailed in the Public data dictionary

  • Easy opt-in: 

    • Select the Enhanced participation level

    • Provide PCN/VAN and enable outbound traffic to VMware data lake

  • Easy opt-out: Opt-out at any time right in the PKS tile

  • Access to your data:  Reports addressing several common data use cases

    • Usage data - enabling basic chargeback and showback

    • Configuration data - bird's eye view of software versions running on PKS clusters and APIs

    • Event data - Duration and status of events on the PKS API, enabling pattern identification and troubleshooting

    • Workload data - Auditing container images in use across PKS installations

    • Software vulnerabilities - Warnings when vulnerabilities exist in installed versions of PKS 

But Wait, There’s More—Custom Reports Available

Our Telemetry team can create customized reports for you based on any of the data in the data dictionary. Here’s some examples of the data we can include (we’ve built these using test data):

Your consumption of PKS over time, which can be separated by namespace, cluster, and PKS environment

The versions of PKS and (coming soon) Kubernetes that are running along with warnings if vulnerabilities exist

The success/failure ratios and duration of PKS operations (create, resize, delete), as well as any errors encountered

Audit records of the container images they are deploying on k8s clusters spun up by PKS

Additional Reports that are coming soon:

  • Node health and resource consumption over time for all your PKS clusters 

  • Benchmarks that compare your PKS installation to the population-at-large 

To see these reports in more detail, you can download a sample Tableau workbook that contains a subset of these views. To view this report in interactive form, you will need Tableau Reader, which is completely free to use. If you just want a quick sample, you can download a PDF version here too. We even have a video walkthrough of the reports.

If you choose to opt-in to the Enhanced tier of the CEIP, we can create a workbook like this for you with your data and refresh it on an ongoing basis.

How We Use This Data

Besides being able to create great custom reports for you, we also use anonymized large aggregates of the data to give us insight into how our customers are using the platform. Here are two example charts made from sample data. In the first, we can see the size of the clusters by the number of concurrent pods, organized by the number of masters and workers, color-coded by PKS version. In the second chart we can see which versions of PKS are in use over time and how quickly customers are upgrading.


Sounds Great, How Do I Get Started?

Here’s how to enroll in the Enhanced tier and start getting access to reports like these:

  • Upgrade to PKS 1.5.0 or newer

  • Opt-in to the Enhanced tier of the Enterprise PKS CEIP, as described here or watch a video of it

  • For additional info, including our data dictionary and a full list of benefits, go here,

  • Email us at pks-telemetry@pivotal.io or open a Support Case with your details so we can create a workbook for you. You can also contact your account team who will have a live version of this report that they can download for you at any time.

We're just scratching the surface of what is possible with the CEIP dataset in the examples above and there is much more that we can show you about your PKS usage and configuration over time. If there is other data you are interested in seeing, please don't hesitate to contact us via the email above. 

About the Author

Tyler Britten

Tyler has spent the last 18 years working with cloud, virtualization, and infrastructure technologies. Prior to joining Pivotal, Tyler worked in technical marketing and developer advocacy roles for Red Hat, IBM, and EMC. He also worked as a consultant and a network engineer for a Fortune 1000 company. When the computers are off, he likes to spend time outdoors hiking, biking, snowboarding, or tailgating at a Penn State game. He also has his pilot’s license and enjoys cooking and brewing beer.

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