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Relic Solution: NRQL feature release: Aggregate or separate metrics with Wildcards



Who knew one character could make such a huge impact!


What it is: Query multiple metrics using NRQL’s wildcard character (%)


  1. Makes it faster and easier to query and chart multiple metrics together.
  2. Eliminates the need to manually add individual metrics to a query when new metrics are created that follow a similar naming pattern.

How: By using the ‘%’ character to represent a wildcard in the metric name (see Docs site)

Hierarchical naming patterns are commonly used to add structure to metric data and make it easy to understand what a metric is measuring at a glance. For example::

  • jvm.memory.heap.used
  • jvm.memory.heap.committed
  • algorithm.A.duration
  • algorithm.B.duration

With NRQL’s old syntax, charting the average of algorithms A and B (from above) required the following:

FROM Metric SELECT average(algorithm.A.duration), average(algorithm.B.duration) TIMESERIES

Wildcards to the rescue
Let’s say you have the following metrics, which show the duration of different algorithms related to a single process:

  • algorithm.A.duration
  • algorithm.B.duration
  • algorithm.C.duration

Now, you can use wildcarding to query all three algorithms with ease, and facet according to the structure of the rest of the query.

Scenario 1: Aggregate average duration as a single value:

FROM Metric SELECT average(algorithm.%.duration) TIMESERIES

Scenario 2: Facet average duration by metric:

FROM Metric SELECT average(algorithm.%.duration) FACET metricName TIMESERIES

In both scenarios, the wildcard (%) is processed as a variable. Thus, any metric with a metricName that starts with algorithm and ends with duration will be returned.