Querying Tags in DDSQL

Join the Beta!

DDSQL is in private beta.

Request Access

Tags are a widespread mechanism to encode metadata about a particular record across several products at Datadog. Tags are key-value pairs for which a key may contain multiple values.

Equality comparisons

Equality comparisons with tags are treated as a “contains” comparison rather than requiring strict equality. service='website' is true if a record has a service tag with the value website, even if it has other service tags as well.

As a consequence of this behavior, the IN operator with tags works as “overlaps”. For example, service IN ('webstore', 'webstore-analytics') matches records that contain service:webstore, service:webstore-analytics, or both, even if other service tags are present (for example, service:webstore,something-else matches).

Strict equality comparisons

To perform a strict comparison, cast the tag reference to a string, or compare it against a group literal in an outer query. For example, a query like

AGGR avg('system.load.1') WHERE team='logs' GROUP BY team

May return the following result:


To instead match only on logs, use this query:

FROM (AGGR avg('system.load.1') WHERE team='logs' GROUP BY team)
WHERE team={'logs'}

This stricter comparison returns only one result:


Implicit tag references

Schema-on-read references on tables that support tags are treated as tag lookups, and are called implicit tag references.

For example, the az column does not exist on the resources.host table, but you may SELECT az FROM resources.host. DDSQL recognizes that the resources.host table supports schema on read, and az becomes an implicit tag reference. Its name in the projection is az, which may be used throughout the query.

Explicit tag references

Explicit tag references allow a user to specify that a column reference should refer to a tag even if a column with an identical name exists in the table schema. Explicit tag references allow some basic defense against schema updates that change the meaning of queries relying on the implicit fallback behavior.

Explicit tag references are column references prepended with the # character. For example, the resources.host table contains a service column, but the query can reference the service tag explicitly:

SELECT #service FROM resources.host

The tag’s name in the projection is #service, which should be used throughout the query, as service refers to the schema column.

For tag references that require quoting, the # should appear outside of quotes (for example, #"availability-zone"). This is necessary to differentiate between explicit tag references and columns that start with a # character.