Service Performance Monitoring (SPM) - Experimental

Version  1.34 Latest

As the Service Performance Monitoring feature is in its infancy, it is being marked as experimental to signal that this feature will be in flux while bugs are fixed and enhancements are added in response to community feedback.

Service Performance Monitoring

Surfaced in Jaeger UI as the “Monitor” tab, the motivation for this feature is to help identify interesting traces (e.g. high QPS, slow or erroneous requests) without needing to know the service or operation names up-front.

It is essentially achieved through aggregating span data to produce RED (Request, Error, Duration) metrics.

Potential use cases include:

  • Post deployment sanity checks across the org, or on known dependent services in the request chain.
  • Monitoring and root-causing when alerted of an issue.
  • Better onboarding experience for new users of Jaeger UI.
  • Long-term trend analysis of QPS, errors and latencies.
  • Capacity planning.

UI Feature Overview

The “Monitor” tab provides a service-level aggregation, as well as an operation-level aggregation within the service, of Request rates, Error rates and Durations (P95, P75 and P50), also known as RED metrics.

Within the operation-level aggregations, an “Impact” metric, computed as the product of latency and request rate, is another signal that can be used to rule-out operations that may naturally have a high latency profile such as daily batch jobs, or conversely highlight operations that are lower in the latency rankings but with a high RPS (request per second).

From these aggregations, Jaeger UI is able to pre-populate a Trace search with the relevant service, operation and lookback period, narrowing down the search space for these more interesting traces.

Getting Started

This is for demonstration purposes only and does not reflect deployment best practices.

A locally runnable setup is available in the Jaeger repository along with instructions on how to run it.

The feature can be accessed from the “Monitor” tab along the top menu.

This demo includes Microsim; a microservices simulator to generate trace data.

If generating traces manually is preferred, the Sample App: HotROD can be started via docker. Be sure to include --net monitor_backend in the docker run command.


The RED metrics queried by Jaeger for the Monitor tab are the result of span data collected by the OpenTelemetry Collector which is then aggregated by the SpanMetrics Processor component configured within its pipeline.

These metrics are finally exported by the OpenTelemetry Collector (via prometheus exporters) to a Prometheus-compatible metrics store.

It is important emphasize that this is a “read-only” feature and, as such, is only relevant to the Jaeger Query component (and All In One).

graph TRACE_RECEIVER[Trace Receiver] --> |spans| SPANMETRICS_PROC[Spanmetrics Processor] TRACE_RECEIVER --> |spans| TRACE_EXPORTER[Trace Exporter] SPANMETRICS_PROC --> |metrics| PROMETHEUS_EXPORTER[Prometheus/PromethesusRemoteWrite Exporter] UI[Jaeger UI] --> QUERY QUERY[Jaeger Query Service] --> METRICS_STORE[Metrics Storage] PROMETHEUS_EXPORTER --> |metrics| METRICS_STORE subgraph OpenTelemetry Collector subgraph Pipeline TRACE_RECEIVER SPANMETRICS_PROC TRACE_EXPORTER PROMETHEUS_EXPORTER end end style UI fill:#9AEBFE,color:black style QUERY fill:#9AEBFE,color:black style TRACE_RECEIVER fill:#404ca8,color:white style TRACE_EXPORTER fill:#404ca8,color:white style SPANMETRICS_PROC fill:#404ca8,color:white style PROMETHEUS_EXPORTER fill:#404ca8,color:white

Derived Time Series

Though more in scope of the OpenTelemetry Collector, it is worth understanding the additional metrics and time series that the SpanMetrics Processor will generate in metrics storage to help with capacity planning when deploying SPM.

Please refer to Prometheus documentation covering the concepts of metric names, types, labels and time series; terms that will be used in the remainder of this section.

Two metric names will be created:

  • calls_total
    • Type: counter
    • Description: counts the total number of spans, including error spans. Call counts are differentiated from errors via the status_code label. Errors are identified as any time series with the label status_code = "STATUS_CODE_ERROR".
  • latency
    • Type: histogram
    • Description: a histogram of span latencies. Under the hood, Prometheus histograms will create a number of time series:
      • latency_count: The total number of data points across all buckets in the histogram.
      • latency_sum: The sum of all data point values.
      • latency_bucket: A collection of n time series (where n is the number of latency buckets) for each latency bucket identified by an le (less than or equal to) label. The latency_bucket counter with lowest le and le >= span latency will be incremented for each span.

The following formula aims to provide some guidance on the number of new time series created:

num_status_codes * num_span_kinds * (1 + num_latency_buckets) * num_operations

  num_status_codes = 3 max (typically 2: ok/error)
  num_span_kinds = 6 max (typically 2: client/server)
  num_latency_buckets = 17 default

Plugging those numbers in, assuming default configuration:

max = 324 * num_operations
typical = 72 * num_operations


  • Custom latency buckets or dimensions configured in the spanmetrics processor will alter the calculation above.
  • Querying custom dimensions are not supported by SPM and will be aggregated over.


Enabling SPM

The following configuration is required to enable the SPM feature:

  • Jaeger UI
  • Jaeger Query
    • Set the METRICS_STORAGE_TYPE environment variable to prometheus.
    • Optional: Set --prometheus.server-url (or PROMETHEUS_SERVER_URL environment variable) to the URL of the prometheus server. Default: http://localhost:9090.



The recommended way to programmatically retrieve RED metrics is via jaeger.api_v2.metrics.MetricsQueryService gRPC endpoint defined in the metricsquery.proto IDL file.


Used internally by the Monitor tab of Jaeger UI to populate the metrics for its visualizations.

Refer to this README file for a detailed specification of the HTTP API.


Check the /metrics endpoint

The /metrics endpoint can be used to check if spans for specific services were received. The /metrics endpoint is served from the admin port. Assuming that Jaeger all-in-one and query are available under hosts named all-in-one and jaeger-query respectively, here are sample curl calls to obtain the metrics:

$ curl http://all-in-one:14269/metrics

$ curl http://jaeger-query:16687/metrics

The following metrics are of most interest:

# all-in-one

# jaeger-query

Each of these metrics will have a label for each of the following operations:


If things are working as expected, the metrics with label result="ok" should be incrementing, and result="err" being static. For example:

jaeger_query_requests_total{operation="get_call_rates",result="ok"} 18
jaeger_query_requests_total{operation="get_error_rates",result="ok"} 18
jaeger_query_requests_total{operation="get_latencies",result="ok"} 36

jaeger_query_latency_bucket{operation="get_call_rates",result="ok",le="0.005"} 5
jaeger_query_latency_bucket{operation="get_call_rates",result="ok",le="0.01"} 13
jaeger_query_latency_bucket{operation="get_call_rates",result="ok",le="0.025"} 18

jaeger_query_latency_bucket{operation="get_error_rates",result="ok",le="0.005"} 7
jaeger_query_latency_bucket{operation="get_error_rates",result="ok",le="0.01"} 13
jaeger_query_latency_bucket{operation="get_error_rates",result="ok",le="0.025"} 18

jaeger_query_latency_bucket{operation="get_latencies",result="ok",le="0.005"} 7
jaeger_query_latency_bucket{operation="get_latencies",result="ok",le="0.01"} 25
jaeger_query_latency_bucket{operation="get_latencies",result="ok",le="0.025"} 36

If there are issues reading metrics from Prometheus such as a failure to reach the Prometheus server, then the result="err" metrics will be incremented. For example:

jaeger_query_requests_total{operation="get_call_rates",result="err"} 4
jaeger_query_requests_total{operation="get_error_rates",result="err"} 4
jaeger_query_requests_total{operation="get_latencies",result="err"} 8

At this point, checking the logs will provide more insight towards root causing the problem.

Query Prometheus

Graphs may still appear empty even when the above Jaeger metrics indicate successful reads from Prometheus. In this case, query Prometheus directly on any one of these metrics:

  • latency_bucket
  • calls_total

You should expect to see these counters increasing as spans are being emitted by services to the OpenTelemetry Collector.

Inspect the OpenTelemetry Collector

If the above latency_bucket and calls_total metrics are empty, then it could be misconfiguration in the OpenTelemetry Collector or anything upstream from it.

Some questions to ask while troubleshooting are:

Service/Operation missing in Monitor Tab

If the service/operation is missing in the Monitor Tab, but visible in the Jaeger Trace search service and operation drop-downs menus, a common cause of this is the default server span kind used in metrics queries.

The service/operations you are not seeing could be from spans that are non-server span kinds such as client or worse, unspecified. Hence, this is an instrumentation data quality issue, and the instrumentation should set the span kind.

The reason for defaulting to server span kinds is to avoid double-counting both ingress and egress spans in the server and client span kinds, respectively.