Advanced features of the Azure metrics explorer

Note

This article assumes you're familiar with basic features of the Azure metrics explorer feature of Azure Monitor. If you're a new user and want to learn how to create your first metric chart, see Getting started with the metrics explorer.

In Azure Monitor, metrics are a series of measured values and counts that are collected and stored over time. Metrics can be standard (also called "platform") or custom.

Standard metrics are provided by the Azure platform. They reflect the health and usage statistics of your Azure resources.

Resource scope picker

The resource scope picker allows you to view metrics across single resources and multiple resources. The following sections explain how to use the resource scope picker.

Select a single resource

Select Metrics from the Azure Monitor menu or from the Monitoring section of a resource's menu. Then choose Select a scope to open the scope picker.

Use the scope picker to select the resources whose metrics you want to see. The scope should be populated if you opened the Azure metrics explorer from a resource's menu.

Screenshot showing how to open the resource scope picker.

For some resources, you can view only one resource's metrics at a time. In the Resource types menu, these resources are in the All resource types section.

Screenshot showing a single resource.

After selecting a resource, you see all subscriptions and resource groups that contain that resource.

Screenshot showing available resources.

Tip

If you want the capability to view the metrics for multiple resources at the same time, or to view metrics across a subscription or resource group, select Upvote.

When you're satisfied with your selection, select Apply.

View metrics across multiple resources

Some resource types can query for metrics over multiple resources. The resources must be within the same subscription and location. Find these resource types at the top of the Resource types menu.

For more information, see Select multiple resources.

Screenshot showing cross-resource types.

For types that are compatible with multiple resources, you can query for metrics across a subscription or multiple resource groups. For more information, see Select a resource group or subscription.

Multiple metric lines and charts

In the Azure metrics explorer, you can create charts that plot multiple metric lines or show multiple metric charts at the same time. This functionality allows you to:

  • Correlate related metrics on the same graph to see how one value relates to another.
  • Display metrics that use different units of measure in close proximity.
  • Visually aggregate and compare metrics from multiple resources.

For example, imagine you have five storage accounts, and you want to know how much space they consume together. You can create a (stacked) area chart that shows the individual values and the sum of all the values at particular points in time.

Multiple metrics on the same chart

To view multiple metrics on the same chart, first create a new chart. Then select Add metric. Repeat this step to add another metric on the same chart.

Note

Typically, your charts shouldn't mix metrics that use different units of measure. For example, avoid mixing one metric that uses milliseconds with another that uses kilobytes. Also avoid mixing metrics whose scales differ significantly.

In these cases, consider using multiple charts instead. In the metrics explorer, select New chart to create a new chart.

Screenshot showing multiple metrics.

Multiple charts

To create another chart that uses a different metric, select New chart.

To reorder or delete multiple charts, select the ellipsis (...) button to open the chart menu. Then choose Move up, Move down, or Delete.

Screenshot showing multiple charts.

Time range controls

In addition to changing the time range using the time picker panel, you can also pan and zoom using the controls in the chart area.

Pan

To pan, click on the left and right arrows at the edge of the chart. This will move the selected time range back and forward by one half the chart's time span. For example, if you're viewing the past 24 hours, clicking on the left arrow will cause the time range to shift to span a day and a half to 12 hours ago.

Most metrics support 93 days of retention but only let you view 30 days at a time. Using the pan controls, you look at the past 30 days and then easily walk back 15 days at a time to view the rest of the retention period.

Animated gif showing the left and right pan controls.

Zoom

You can click and drag on the chart to zoom into a section of a chart. Zooming will update the chart's time range to span your selection and will select a smaller time grain if the time grain is set to "Automatic". The new time range will apply to all charts in Metrics.

Animated gif showing the metrics zoom feature.

Aggregation

When you add a metric to a chart, the metrics explorer automatically applies a default aggregation. The default makes sense in basic scenarios. But you can use a different aggregation to gain more insights about the metric.

Before you use different aggregations on a chart, you should understand how the metrics explorer handles them. Metrics are a series of measurements (or "metric values") that are captured over a time period. When you plot a chart, the values of the selected metric are separately aggregated over the time grain.

You select the size of the time grain by using the metrics explorer's time picker panel. If you don't explicitly select the time grain, the currently selected time range is used by default. After the time grain is determined, the metric values that were captured during each time grain are aggregated on the chart, one data point per time grain.

For example, suppose a chart shows the Server response time metric. It uses the average aggregation over time span of the last 24 hours. In this example:

  • If the time granularity is set to 30 minutes, the chart is drawn from 48 aggregated data points. That is, the line chart connects 48 dots in the chart plot area (24 hours x 2 data points per hour). Each data point represents the average of all captured response times for server requests that occurred during each of the relevant 30-minute time periods.
  • If you switch the time granularity to 15 minutes, you get 96 aggregated data points. That is, you get 24 hours x 4 data points per hour.

The metrics explorer has five basic statistical aggregation types: sum, count, min, max, and average. The sum aggregation is sometimes called the total aggregation. For many metrics, the metrics explorer hides the aggregations that are irrelevant and can't be used.

  • Sum: The sum of all values captured during the aggregation interval.

    Screenshot of a sum request.

  • Count: The number of measurements captured during the aggregation interval.

    When the metric is always captured with the value of 1, the count aggregation is equal to the sum aggregation. This scenario is common when the metric tracks the count of distinct events and each measurement represents one event. The code emits a metric record every time a new request arrives.

    Screenshot of a count request.

  • Average: The average of the metric values captured during the aggregation interval.

    Screenshot of an average request.

  • Min: The smallest value captured during the aggregation interval.

    Screenshot of a minimum request.

  • Max: The largest value captured during the aggregation interval.

    Screenshot of a maximum request.

Filters

You can apply filters to charts whose metrics have dimensions. For example, imagine a "Transaction count" metric that has a "Response type" dimension. This dimension indicates whether the response from transactions succeeded or failed. If you filter on this dimension, you'll see a chart line for only successful (or only failed) transactions.

Add a filter

  1. Above the chart, select Add filter.

  2. Select a dimension (property) to filter.

    Screenshot that shows the dimensions (properties) you can filter.

  3. Select the operator you want to apply against the dimension (property). The default operator is = (equals)

    Screenshot that shows the operator you can use with the filter.

  4. Select which dimension values you want to apply to the filter when plotting the chart (this example shows filtering out the successful storage transactions):

    Screenshot that shows the successful filtered storage transactions.

  5. After selecting the filter values, click away from the Filter Selector to close it. Now the chart shows how many storage transactions have failed:

    Screenshot that shows how many storage transactions have failed.

  6. You can repeat steps 1-5 to apply multiple filters to the same charts.

Metric splitting

You can split a metric by dimension to visualize how different segments of the metric compare. Splitting can also help you identify the outlying segments of a dimension.

Apply splitting

  1. Above the chart, select Apply splitting.

    Note

    Charts that have multiple metrics can't use the splitting functionality. Also, although a chart can have multiple filters, it can have only one splitting dimension.

  2. Choose a dimension on which to segment your chart:

    Screenshot that shows the selected dimension on which to segment the chart.

    The chart now shows multiple lines, one for each dimension segment:

    Screenshot that shows multiple lines, one for each segment of dimension.

  3. Choose a limit on the number of values to be displayed after splitting by selected dimension. The default limit is 10 as shown in the above chart. The range of limit is 1 - 50.

    Screenshot that shows split limit, which restricts the number of values after splitting.

  4. Choose the sort order on segments: Ascending or Descending. The default selection is descending.

    Screenshot that shows sort order on split values.

  5. Click away from the Grouping Selector to close it.

    Note

    To hide segments that are irrelevant for your scenario and to make your charts easier to read, use both filtering and splitting on the same dimension.

Locking the range of the y-axis

Locking the range of the value (y) axis becomes important in charts that show small fluctuations of large values.

For example, a drop in the volume of successful requests from 99.99 percent to 99.5 percent might represent a significant reduction in the quality of service. But noticing a small numeric value fluctuation would be difficult or even impossible if you're using the default chart settings. In this case, you could lock the lowest boundary of the chart to 99 percent to make a small drop more apparent.

Another example is a fluctuation in the available memory. In this scenario, the value will technically never reach 0. Fixing the range to a higher value might make drops in available memory easier to spot.

To control the y-axis range, open the chart menu (...). Then select Chart settings to access advanced chart settings.

Screenshot that highlights the chart settings selection.

Modify the values in the Y-axis range section, or select Auto to revert to the default values.

Screenshot that highlights the Y-axis range section.

Warning

If you need to lock the boundaries of the y-axis for charts that track counts or sums over a period of time (by using count, sum, min, or max aggregations), you should usually specify a fixed time granularity. In this case, you shouldn't rely on the automatic defaults.

You choose a fixed time granularity because chart values change when the time granularity is automatically modified after a user resizes a browser window or changes screen resolution. The resulting change in time granularity affects the look of the chart, invalidating the current selection of the y-axis range.

Line colors

After you configure the charts, the chart lines are automatically assigned a color from a default palette. You can change those colors.

To change the color of a chart line, select the colored bar in the legend that corresponds to the chart. The color picker dialog box opens. Use the color picker to configure the line color.

Screenshot that shows how to change color.

Your customized colors are preserved when you pin the chart to a dashboard. The following section shows how to pin a chart.

Pinning to dashboards

After you configure a chart, you might want to add it to a dashboard. By pinning a chart to a dashboard, you can make it accessible to your team. You can also gain insights by viewing it in the context of other monitoring telemetry.

To pin a configured chart to a dashboard, in the upper-right corner of the chart, select Pin to dashboard.

Screenshot showing how to pin a chart to a dashboard.

Alert rules

You can use your visualization criteria to create a metric-based alert rule. The new alert rule will include your chart's target resource, metric, splitting, and filter dimensions. You can modify these settings by using the alert rule creation pane.

To begin, select New alert rule.

Screenshot that shows the New alert rule button highlighted in red.

The alert rule creation pane opens. In the pane, you see the chart's metric dimensions. The fields in the pane are prepopulated to help you customize the rule.

Screenshot showing the rule creation pane.

For more information, see Create, view, and manage metric alerts.

Correlate metrics to logs

To help customer diagnose the root cause of anomalies in their metrics chart, we created Drill into Logs. Drill into Logs allows customers to correlate spikes in their metrics chart to logs and queries.

Before we dive into the experience, we want to first introduce the different types of logs and queries provided.

Term Definition
Activity logs Provides insight into the operations on each Azure resource in the subscription from the outside (the management plane) in addition to updates on Service Health events. Use the Activity Log, to determine the what, who, and when for any write operations (PUT, POST, DELETE) taken on the resources in your subscription. There is a single Activity log for each Azure subscription.
Diagnostic log Provide insight into operations that were performed within an Azure resource (the data plane), for example getting a secret from a Key Vault or making a request to a database. The content of resource logs varies by the Azure service and resource type. Note: Must be provided by service and enabled by customer
Recommended log Scenario-based queries that customer can leverage to investigate anomalies in their metrics explorer.

Currently, Drill into Logs are available for select resource providers. The resource providers that have the complete Drill into Logs experience are:

  • Application Insights
  • Autoscale
  • App Services
  • Storage 

Below is a sample experiences for the Application Insights resource provider.

Spike in failures in app insights metrics blade

To diagnose the spike in failed requests, click on “Drill into Logs”.

Screenshot of drill into logs dropdown

By clicking on the failure option, you will be led to a custom failure blade that provides you with the failed operation operations, top exceptions types, and dependencies.

Screenshot of app insights failure blade

Common problems with Drill into Logs

  • Log and queries are disabled - To view recommended logs and queries, you must route your diagnostic logs to Log Analytics. Read this document to learn how to do this.
  • Activity logs are only provided - The Drill into Logs feature is only available for select resource providers. By default, activity logs are provided.

Troubleshooting

If you don't see any data on your chart, review the following troubleshooting information:

  • Filters apply to all of the charts on the pane. While you focus on a chart, make sure that you don't set a filter that excludes all the data on another chart.

  • To set different filters on different charts, create the charts in different blades. Then save the charts as separate favorites. If you want, you can pin the charts to the dashboard so you can see them together.

  • If you segment a chart by a property that the metric doesn't define, the chart displays no content. Try clearing the segmentation (splitting), or choose a different property.

Next steps

To create actionable dashboards by using metrics, see Creating custom KPI dashboards.