What is Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) Network Observability? (Preview)

Kubernetes is a powerful tool for managing containerized applications. As containerized environments grow in complexity, it can be difficult to identify and troubleshoot networking issues in a Kubernetes cluster.

Network observability is an important part of maintaining a healthy and performant Kubernetes cluster. By collecting and analyzing data about network traffic, you can gain insights into how your cluster is operating and identify potential problems before they cause outages or performance degradation.

Diagram of Network Observability components.

Overview of Network Observability add-on in AKS


AKS Network Observability is currently in PREVIEW. See the Supplemental Terms of Use for Microsoft Azure Previews for legal terms that apply to Azure features that are in beta, preview, or otherwise not yet released into general availability.

Networking Observability add-on operates seamlessly on Non-Cilium and Cilium data-planes. It empowers customers with enterprise-grade capabilities for DevOps and SecOps. This solution offers a centralized way to monitor network issues in your cluster for cluster network administrators, cluster security administrators, and DevOps engineers.

When the Network Observability add-on is enabled, it allows for the collection and conversion of useful metrics into Prometheus format, which can then be visualized in Grafana. There are two options available for using Prometheus and Grafana in this context: Azure managed Prometheus and Grafana or BYO Prometheus and Grafana.

  • Azure managed Prometheus and Grafana: This option involves using a managed service provided by Azure. The managed service takes care of the infrastructure and maintenance of Prometheus and Grafana, allowing you to focus on configuring and visualizing your metrics. This option is convenient if you prefer not to manage the underlying infrastructure.

  • BYO Prometheus and Grafana: Alternatively, you can choose to set up your own Prometheus and Grafana instances. In this case, you're responsible for provisioning and managing the infrastructure required to run Prometheus and Grafana. Install and configure Prometheus to scrape the metrics generated by the Network Observability add-on and store them. Similarly, Grafana needs to be set up to connect to Prometheus and visualize the collected data.

  • Multi CNI Support: Network Observability add-on supports both Azure CNI and Kubenet network plugins.


Network Observability add-on currently only supports node level metrics in both Linux and Windows platforms. The below table outlines the different metrics generated by the Network Observability add-on.

Metric Name Description Labels Linux Windows
networkobservability_forward_count Total forwarded packet count Direction, NodeName, Cluster Yes Yes
networkobservability_forward_bytes Total forwarded byte count Direction, NodeName, Cluster Yes Yes
networkobservability_drop_count Total dropped packet count Reason, Direction, NodeName, Cluster Yes Yes
networkobservability_drop_bytes Total dropped byte count Reason, Direction, NodeName, Cluster Yes Yes
networkobservability_tcp_state TCP active socket count by TCP state. State, NodeName, Cluster Yes Yes
networkobservability_tcp_connection_remote TCP active socket count by remote address. Address, Port, NodeName, Cluster Yes No
networkobservability_tcp_connection_stats TCP connection statistics. (ex: Delayed ACKs, TCPKeepAlive, TCPSackFailures) Statistic, NodeName, Cluster Yes Yes
networkobservability_tcp_flag_counters TCP packets count by flag. Flag, NodeName, Cluster Yes Yes
networkobservability_ip_connection_stats IP connection statistics. Statistic, NodeName, Cluster Yes No
networkobservability_udp_connection_stats UDP connection statistics. Statistic, NodeName, Cluster Yes No
networkobservability_udp_active_sockets UDP active socket count NodeName, Cluster Yes No
networkobservability_interface_stats Interface statistics. InterfaceName, Statistic, NodeName, Cluster Yes Yes


  • Pod level metrics aren't supported.


Certain scale limitations apply when you use Azure managed Prometheus and Grafana. For more information, see Scrape Prometheus metrics at scale in Azure Monitor

Next steps