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Trace Search


Use Trace Search & Analytics to filter application performance metrics and APM Events by user-defined tags. It allows deep exploration of the web requests flowing through your service.

Trace Search & Analytics can be enabled per APM service and per host. A service on which it is enabled exposes all its APM Events to Datadog.

Downstream services like databases and cache layers aren’t in the list of available services (as they don’t generate traces on their own), but their information is picked up by the top level services that call them.

In the Trace Search view you can:

APM Events

When a request hits a service (e.g. webserver, database), the Datadog Agent creates an APM event. It’s a record of the request including its duration, response code, and any custom metadata. An APM event is represented by a single span with attached metadata for the handled request. For each service that receives a request, the agent creates an APM event. If a request runs through a web service, listing service, and database service, the request will generate 3 APM events. To reduce the amount of APM Events generated, explicitly turn on/off any APM event collection for a specific service.

To start collecting APM events, enable Trace Search & Analytics for your services.

Complete traces

If checked, APM Events listed in the trace stream have a trace associated with them, so you can display the full trace with all its associated span.

All search parameters are contained in the url of the page, so it is very simple to share your view.

Search syntax

A query is composed of terms and operators.

There are two types of terms:

To combine multiple terms into a complex query, use any of the following boolean operators:

Operator**Description ****Example **
ANDIntersection: both terms are in the selected events (if nothing is added, AND is taken by default)authentication AND failure
ORUnion: either terms is contained in the selected eventsauthentication OR password
-Exclusion: the following term is NOT in the eventauthentication AND -password

To search on a specific facet you must add it as a facet first then add @ to specify you are searching on a facet.

For instance, if your facet name is url and you want to filter on the url value just enter:

Your traces inherit tags from hosts and integrations that generate them. They can be used in the search and as facets as well:

("env:prod" OR test)All traces with the tag #env:prod or the tag #test
(service:srvA OR service:srvB) or (service:(srvA OR srvB))All traces that contain tags #service:srvA or #service:srvB.
("env:prod" AND -"version:beta")All traces that contain #env:prod and that do not contain #version:beta

If your tags don’t follow tags best practices and don’t use the key:value syntax, use this search query:

  • tags:<MY_TAG>


To perform a multi-character wildcard search, use the * symbol as follows:

  • service:web* matches every trace that has a services starting with web
  • @url:data* matches every trace that has a url starting by data.

Numerical values

Use <,>, <=, or >= to perform a search on numerical attributes. For instance, retrieve all traces that have a response time over 100ms with:


It is also possible to search for numerical attributes within a specific range. For instance, retrieve all your 4xx errors with:

@http.status_code:[400 TO 499]


Typing a complex query can be cumbersome. Use the search bar’s autocomplete feature to complete your query using existing values:

Escaping of special characters

The following attributes are considered as special: ?, >, <, :, =,", ~, /, and \ require escaping. For instance, to search traces that contain user=JaneDoe in their url the following search must be entered:


The same logic must be applied to spaces within trace attributes. It is not recommended to have spaces in trace attributes but in such cases, spaces require escaping. If an attribute is called user.first name, perform a search on this attribute by escaping the space:

@user.first\ name:myvalue

Saved Searches

Don’t lose time building the same views everyday. Saved searches contain your search query, columns, and time horizon. They are then available in the search bar thanks to the auto-complete matching whether the search name or query.

To delete a saved search, click on the bin icon under the Trace search drop-down.

Time Range

The time range allows you to display traces within a given time period. Quickly change the time range by selecting a preset range from the dropdown:

Trace Stream

The Trace Stream is the list of traces that match the selected context. A context is defined by a search bar filter and a time range.

Sort the list by clicking the date column header.

Displaying a full Trace

Click on any trace to see more details about it:


To add more Trace details to the list, click the Columns button and select any Facets you want to see:

Multi-line display

Choose to display one, three, or ten lines from your traces. 3 and 10 lines display are here to give you more insights on the error.stack attribute.

  • With one line displayed:

  • With three lines displayed:

  • With ten lines displayed:


A Facet displays all the distinct values of an attribute or a tag as well as provides some basic analytics such as the amount of traces represented. This is also a switch to easily filter your data.

Facets allow you to pivot or filter your datasets based on a given attribute. Examples Facets may include users, services, etc…

Create a Facet

To start using an attribute as a Facet or in the search, click on it and add it as a Facet:

Once this is done, the value of this attribute is stored for all new traces and can be used in the search bar, the Facet Panel, and in the Trace graph query.

Facet Panel

Use Facets to easily filters on your Traces. The search bar and url automatically reflect your selections.

Further Reading