Traceable Kong v2
  • 14 Feb 2024
  • 6 Minutes to read
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Traceable Kong v2

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Article summary

Kong is an orchestration microservice API gateway. It provides a flexible abstraction layer that securely manages communication between clients and microservices via API. This allows you to easily build robust, high-performance APIs that can scale horizontally. Kong also has built-in security, load balancing, and monitoring features, so you can track your system's health and performance in real-time. Traceable provides a plugin for your Kong API gateway deployment. The following diagram provides high-level information about the deployment. 

Traceable Module Extension (TME)

Traceable module extension (TME) is a type of sidecar container that the Traceable Platform agent can inject into the application pod. It can be considered a miniature Traceable Platform agent. 

TME has ext_cap as a component. This synchronously receives requests from the applications, for example, a gateway. The Traceable module extension also houses libtraceable which has the request-blocking logic. TME is used when native instrumentation or a native plugin is not available. In such cases, TME captures data inline and asynchronously sends the data to the Traceable Platform agent. TME also blocks the requests inline.

Before you begin

Make sure that the following prerequisites are met before deploying Traceable's Kong tracing agent or Kong agent:

  • The instructions provided are specifically for the Kong Ingress Controller on Kubernetes.

  • Make sure that you have access to the kong-values.yml file. The changes are made to this file.

  • unzip installed on the host OS

  • The traceable agent is installed and configured. For more information on Traceable agent installation, see Traceable agent.

  • Lua Rocks CLI is installed. If it is not already installed, enter the following command to install Lua Rocks:


    sudo apt-get install -y luarocks
  • IP address of the machine where the Traceable agent is running.

  • Port number - Make sure that port number 5442 is available. This is used by Traceable Module Extension (TME).

  • Make sure that Kong is installed. For more information on installing Kong, see:

  • Reasonable knowledge about Kong. For more information, see Kong Documentation.


Deploying Traceable's plugin for Kong has the following high-level steps:

  1. Deploy Traceable Platform agent

  2. Inject TME (Traceable module extension) into Kong Proxy

  3. Adding the Traceable plugin to Kong

  4. Configure the Traceable plugin

Step 1 – Deploy Traceable Platform agent

To deploy the Traceable Platform agent, go through the steps mentioned in Helm topic. 

Step 2 – Inject Traceable module extension (TME)

Complete the following steps to inject the Traceable module extension:

  1. Enter the following command to identify the name of Kong deployment:


    ❯ kubectl get deployments -n kong 
    NAME              READY   UP-TO-DATE   AVAILABLE   AGE
    quickstart-kong   1/1     1            1           45m
  2. Label the Kong namespace to allow injection:


    kubectl label ns kong traceableai-inject-tme=enabled
  3. Patch the deployment to add TME. Enter the following command:


    kubectl patch deployment.apps/quickstart-kong -p '{"spec": {"template": {"metadata": {"annotations": {"": "true"}}}}}' -n kong


Enter the following command to verify that TME was successfully injected:

❯ kubectl get pods -n kong 
NAME                                               READY   STATUS      RESTARTS      AGE
quickstart-kong-59d55b78cc-qc2h8                   3/3     Running     2 (12m ago)   13m

Step 3 — Add Traceable's Kong plugin

Complete the following steps to add Traceable's Kong plugin:

  1. Download the Traceable plugin from LuaRocks. Enter the following command:


    curl -LO
  2. Unpack the luarock. Enter the following command:


    luarocks unpack kong-plugin-traceable-2.0.0-1.src.rock
  3. Create a configmap for rock. Enter the following command:


    kubectl create configmap -n kong kong-plugin-traceable --from-file ./kong-plugin-traceable-2.0.0-1/kong-plugin-traceable-2.0.0/kong/plugins/traceable/

You have the following two options to insert the plugin into Kong:

  • Option 1 — Modify the Kong Helm values

  • Option 2 — Apply a deployment patch

Option 1 (with DB only)

Traceable recommends modifying Kong Helm values as the preferred option, as it requires minimal changes. In your Kong Helm values file, add the following:

# This should be under the env key and should already exist
# Note, if you have additional 3rd party plugins, make sure to keep them present
plugins: bundled,traceable

# Add this section at the very bottom of the file
  - name: kong-plugin-traceable
    pluginName: traceable

Enter the following command to upgrade the deployment using the modified kong-values.yml file:

helm upgrade quickstart kong/kong --namespace kong --values kong-values.yaml

Option 2 – Applying a deployment patch

To apply a deployment patch, copy the following content into a new file named kong-traceable-patch.yaml.

apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
  name: ingress-kong
  namespace: kong
      - name: proxy
        - name: KONG_PLUGINS
          value: bundled,traceable
        - name: KONG_LUA_PACKAGE_PATH
          value: "/opt/?.lua;;"
        - name: kong-plugin-traceable
          mountPath: /opt/kong/plugins/traceable
      - name: kong-plugin-traceable
          name: kong-plugin-traceable

Enter the following command:

kubectl patch deployments.apps --type strategic -n kong ingress-kong --patch-file kong-traceable-patch.yml

Choosing either option 1 or option 2 makes Kong aware of the presence of Traceable plugin.

Step 4 – Configure Traceable plugin

Choose from DBless or with DB:

  • DBless – Configure Traceable plugin. Use the following templates to apply both the plugins globally using plugins.yml file.


    kind: KongClusterPlugin
      annotations: kong
      name: traceable-plugin
        global: "true"
      ext_cap_endpoint: http://localhost:5442
    plugin: traceable
  • With DB – When you run Kong with DB, you need to use the Admin API to enable plugins. Access the Kong Admin API. By default, this is available only on localhost:8444. Depending on your setup, you may or may not need the --insecure flag. Send the following CURL requests to enable the Traceable plugin. Enter the following to enable Traceable plugin:


    curl -X POST --insecure https://localhost:8444/plugins/ \
      --data "name=traceable" \
      --data config.ext_cap_endpoint=http://localhost:5442

Step 5 - Rollout

Execute rollout start. Enter the following command:


kubectl rollout restart deployment -n kong


Send traffic through Kong gateway and Kong Proxy, then view the details in Traceable Platform to verify that the installation was successful.

❯ k get svc -n kong 
NAME                      TYPE           CLUSTER-IP      EXTERNAL-IP     PORT(S)                      AGE
kong-proxy                LoadBalancer   80:30825/TCP,443:31308/TCP      67m


You can upgrade the Traceable plugin by repeating the curl commands in Step 3 with new versions of the plugin. For example:

Upgrade Traceable plugin

Complete the following steps:

  1. Enter the following curl command to upgrade the Traceable plugin. Replace <new-version-number>in the following commands with the latest version number.


    curl -LO<new-version-number>.src.rock
  2. Unpack the luarock. Enter the following command:


    luarocks unpack kong-plugin-traceable-<new-version-number>.src.rock
  3. Delete the old configmap: 

    kubectl delete configmap -n kong kong-plugin-traceable
  4. Recreate a configmap. Enter the following command:

    kubectl create configmap -n kong kong-plugin-traceable --from-file ./kong-plugin-traceable-<new-version-number>/kong-plugin-traceable-<new-version-number>/kong/plugins/traceable/

Restart Kong by entering the following command:


kubectl rollout restart deployment -n kong


You have to follow different steps to uninstall DBless and DB installations. 

DBless uninstallation

To uninstall Traceable for a DBless installation, run the following command:


kubectl delete kongclusterplugin traceable-plugin

Restart Kong by entering the following command:

kubectl rollout restart deployment -n kong

DB uninstallation

Run the following command to fetch a JSON response that lists all the installed plugins. Each plugin has a unique UUID associated with it.

curl -X GET "http://localhost:8444/plugins"

Following is a sample JSON response for the above command:

  "data": [
      "id": "a1b2c3d4-e5f6-7890-g1h2-i3j4k5l6m7n8",
      "name": "traceable-plugin",

To delete a plugin, use the UUID of that plugin in the following command:

curl -X DELETE "http://localhost:8444/plugins/<UUID>"

Restart Kong by entering the following command:

kubectl rollout restart deployment -n kong

(Optional) Custom error message

You can optionally configure a custom error code and message for the blocking function by editing the Traceable Platform agent configuration, as shown below. Configure this inside the injector section.

    response_status_code: 403
    response_message: "Access Forbidden"
    response_status_code: 403
    response_message: "Access Forbidden"

If you are using Helm in values.yaml, then you would need to set:


Make sure that the status code is set between 400 and 499. If you add values outside the 4xx range, then 403 (the default status code) is displayed in the Traceable Platform.

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