Docs » Metrics and Metadata » Using the Metadata Catalog

Using the Metadata Catalog 🔗

The Metadata Catalog allows you to explore your metadata, such as dimensions, properties, and tags.

To display the Metadata Catalog, open the Profile menu at far right on the navigation bar, then select Metadata catalog. If necessary, click the Sidebar icon to display the sidebar.


Dimension-based searching 🔗

Overview 🔗

Dimension-based search is a familiar concept to anyone who has attempted to shop on an e-commerce site. In some rare cases, you know exactly what you are looking for, and you simply provide a specific search term to the e-commerce site’s search engine to take you to it. Most of the time, you know some of the attributes of the thing you’re looking for, such as color or shoe size, but you need the site to provide additional feedback and options to help guide you to the desired object.

Dimension-based search in the Metadata Catalog works much the same way. In most cases, you will know one or more attributes of what you are looking for, but not all of them, nor will you know the precise syntax used to identify them. With dimension-based search, knowing just one or two attributes should be enough.

For example, if you want to see the average CPU utilization for the hosts in a particular service in a specific datacenter, dimension-based search lets you name whichever of these attributes you want first (say, the datacenter US-East). The Metadata Catalog then displays related attributes, such as the names of the services in that datacenter. When you select an attribute, the page then displays the metrics that are available in SignalFx for those services. Thus, with a minimal amount of knowledge and just a few keystrokes, you can quickly drill down to exactly what you’re looking for.

Preview pane 🔗

Once you’ve found some set of metrics or other objects that might be what you want, the preview pane at right shows relevant information about the selection in the sidebar, which can include data links, metadata, and related metrics. (Exactly what it shows depends on the type of object selected.) The preview pane also contains buttons that let you add the current object as a filter to the search bar, or, for metrics or metric time series, to open a Chart Builder view containing those metrics.


Exploring the Metadata Catalog in detail 🔗

Using the Metadata Catalog sidebar 🔗

The Metadata Catalog contains the metrics you are sending in to SignalFx and the metadata you’ve applied to them. To get an overview of what is in the Metadata Catalog, you can simply scroll down through the sidebar.

The sidebar contains the following types of objects:

  • services
  • servers (hosts or instances)
  • dimensions (i.e. any dimension that was sent in with your metrics)
  • signals (metrics, metric time series, and events)
  • properties (including AWS metadata that has been synchronized)
  • tags

For each category of objects, such as hosts, you will see a list of specific instances of that category, e.g. by host name or server ID. By default, you will see up to 5 instances; to see more, click Show all.

Using the preview pane 🔗

The information that is shown in the preview pane for the categories or instances changes depending on the nature of the item that is selected.

Services 🔗

For services, the sidebar displays sub-services, metrics, hosts, or other information, depending on the service selected.

Servers (hosts or instances) 🔗

As with all objects in the Metadata Catalog, there is a set of metadata associated with the host, including a description, tags, and properties.

Dimensions 🔗

Dimensions are submitted with your metrics and events, and are treated by SignalFx as part of the identity of the metric. If you are using a standard integration such as a collectd agent or the AWS integration, many of the dimensions you see in the Metadata Catalog will reflect the underlying implementation of the integration.

For example, collectd extracts data from the host using plugins, and each of the plugins that is installed (e.g. the Docker plugin, or the Generic JMX plugin) will appear in the Metadata Catalog as dimensions.

Similarly, AWS CloudWatch metrics report 5 statistics for each metric (count, average, min, max, and sum); these values will appear under the heading stat.

If you select a dimension, you will see the metrics that it is associated with, as well as relevant metadata, including a description, tags, and properties.

Signals 🔗

The Metadata Catalog provides 15-minute previews of metrics and metric time series so that you can get a feel as to whether you’ve found the object you want. In addition, for metrics you can see what type of metric it is, along with description, tags, and properties. For metric time series, you will typically see a number of dimensions associated with the time series, along with description, tags, and other properties.

Properties 🔗

Properties are a form of metadata that can be applied to dimensions. Properties applied to a dimension will be propagated to all time series that include that dimension.

Tags 🔗

Tags can be thought of as labels or keywords assigned to dimensions. They are not key:value pairs.

The primary use case for tags is when there is a many-to-one relationship between the tag and the object you are assigning it to. For example, suppose you have hosts that are running multiple apps. You can create a tag for each app, then apply multiple tags to each host to specify the apps that are running on that host.

Adding or editing metadata 🔗

To add or edit an existing description, tag, or property, select the add or edit link for the appropriate section. Note that you can only add or edit properties and tags, not dimensions. For more information about metadata, see Metric Metadata.