Manage metric details

View and edit metric details to better understand and interpret your data.


Cloud Observability stores and displays details about metrics, including descriptions, units, and last-edited dates. You can view and edit those metric details to help you and your team do the following:

  • Understand and interpret metrics.
  • Troubleshoot and make decisions.
  • Maintain consistency across projects.

Metric details appear in Settings > Metric details and in charts. For example, you can see metric units in chart tooltips and tables.

View metric details

To access metric details, select Settings > Metric details. The page displays all metrics reporting to the selected project. By default, Cloud Observability lists metrics alphabetically.

Metric details table

The Metric details table shows the following information:

  • Name - Identifies the metric.
  • Kind - Specifies how Cloud Observability interprets the metric value relative to other values, such as gauge or delta.
  • Description - Gives additional context about the metric. You can edit the description.

    If the metric is from OpenTelemetry (OTel), Cloud Observability displays the description from OTel.

  • Unit - Describes the metric unit, visible in tooltips and chart tables. You can edit the unit.

    If the metric is from OTel, Cloud Observability displays the unit information from OTel.

    Metric units

    When customizing metric units, use the following options for optimal Cloud Observability experience:

    • nanoseconds, nanosecond, nanos, or ns.
    • microseconds, microsecond, micros, or µs.
    • milliseconds, millisecond, millis, or ms.
    • seconds or second.
    • percent - Displays percentiles as decimals (for example, 20% is 0.2).
    • percent_hundred - Displays percentiles in whole numbers (for example, 20% is 20).
    • ops_s - Operations per second.
    • byte or bytes.
    • unitless - Displays numbers without unit formatting, overriding default units.

      Expandable end

  • Type - Specifies metric’s value type, such as integer or float.
  • Last edited - Shows the time someone last edited the metric details.
  • Edited by - Shows the user who last edited the metric details.

Metric detail panel

To access the Metric details panel, select Settings > Metric details and then select any metric. The panel shows the following information:

  • Attributes - Lists the metric’s attribute key-value pairs. Cardinality reports the number of values associated with the attribute key. You can point to the Label values column to see every attribute value.
  • Usage - Lists and links to the alerts, dashboards, and notebooks using the metric.
  • Details - Shows other metric information, including who last edited the metric and when.

You can also access the Metric details panel from Cloud Observability’s Unified Query Builder (UQB). To open the panel from the UQB, query a metric and select Metric details: Info icon for metric details

OTel metric details

OpenTelemetry (OTel) lets you define descriptions and units when sending metrics to Cloud Observability. Cloud Observability stores that information and shows it in the Metric details table and panel.

If descriptions or units are from OTel, Cloud Observability shows them as Auto-populated from OpenTelemetry metrics metadata.

How to edit OTel metric details:

  • Edit descriptions or units sent from OTel.

    Because of processing time, it can take up to 30 minutes for the OTel changes to show in Cloud Observability.

  • Edit descriptions or units directly in Cloud Observability.

    The changes you make in the UI override the information Cloud Observability gets from OTel.

Edit metric details

Update a metric unit or description to share context and standardize information.

Follow these steps to edit metric details:

  1. In Cloud Observability, select Settings > Metric details.
  2. Select your project in the For project drop-down and select a metric to open the Metric details panel.
  3. In the panel’s Details tab, edit the Unit or Description fields.
  4. [Optional] Select Apply changes to all projects.

    That option updates the metric’s unit or description in every project it reports to, not just the project you selected above.

  5. To implement your changes, select Save changes.

Cloud Observability displays Metric details saved successfully for <metric name>.

See also

Create and manage dashboards

Create and manage panels

Create alerts

Updated Apr 17, 2024