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Published: Aug 2021
Updated: Aug 2021

Using Datadog is hard. Personally, I’ve been using Datadog for at least six or seven years (as of 2021). It’s the telemetry tool I’m most familiar with. This guide collects some snippets and useful things I’ve learned over the years. At a mimimum this is a resource that I can revist when I need to remember how I did that one thing all that time ago. Oh, did I forget that their docs are so-so and the product has a weird UX bugs? Perhaps this guide can smooth some of those rough patches.

Nginx Ingress Controller Integration

Last Encountered: August 2021

The nginx ingress integration docs are not clear exactly what to do. They assume you already understand Kubernetes autodiscovery (i.e. configuration Datadog integrations by adding annotations to k8s resources) and you know how to get values into Kubernetes objects. This is not immediately obvious if you’re using the official Nginx Ingress Helm chart. Luckily the chart has the appropriate values to make it works.

Here’s a sample values.yaml file you can use in combination with the chart to setup:

  1. Ingress controller metrics (for USE metrics)
  2. Nginx status check (for uptime monitoring)
  3. Log parsing (so logs make sense out of the box)
  4. Overall http check (for uptime monitoring)
  5. OpenTracing with Datadog1

These values are tested against Helm chart 3.34.0 release in July 2021.

    tags.datadoghq.com/env: prod
    tags.datadoghq.com/service: ingress-tools-v2
    ad.datadoghq.com/controller.check_names: |
            [ "nginx", "nginx_ingress_controller" ]
    ad.datadoghq.com/controller.init_configs: |
            [{ }, { }]
    ad.datadoghq.com/controller.instances: |
          "nginx_status_url": "http://%%host%%:18080/nginx_status"
        }, {
          "prometheus_url": "http://%%host%%:10254/metrics"
    ad.datadoghq.com/controller.logs: |
            [{ "source": "nginx-ingress-controller" }]
      tags.datadoghq.com/env: prod
      tags.datadoghq.com/service: ingress-tools-v2
      ad.datadoghq.com/service.check_names: |
                [ "http_check" ]
      ad.datadoghq.com/service.init_configs: |
                [{ }]
      ad.datadoghq.com/service.instances: |
          "name": "ingress-tools-v2",
          "url": "http://%%host%%/healthz"
    enabled: true
          fieldPath: status.hostIP
    enable-opentracing: true
    datadog-collector-host: "$DD_TRACE_AGENT_HOSTNAME"
    datadog-service-name: ingress-tools-v2
    http-snippet: |
      server {
        listen 18080;

        set $proxy_upstream_name "internal";

        access_log off;

        opentracing off;

        location /nginx_status {
          allow all;
          stub_status on;

        location / {
          return 404;

  1. This setup assumes DD is running on the cluster deployed as a DaemonSet. The agent is accessible on the host IP. This seems like the current best practice. The config values support env var values here, so export DD_TRACE_AGENT_HOSTNAME on the pods via extraEnvs. ↩︎