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Adding instrumentation for tracing and logging

It can be extremely valuable to add tracing, metrics and logging to your GraphQL API. At Netflix we publish tracing spans and metrics for each datafetcher to our distributed tracing/metrics backends, and log queries and query results to our logging backend. The implementations we use at Netflix are highly specific for our infrastructure, but it's easy to add your own to the framework!

Internally the DGS framework uses GraphQL Java. GraphQL Java supports the concept of instrumentation. In the DGS framework we can easily add one or more instrumentation classes by implementing the graphql.execution.instrumentation.Instrumentation interface and register the class as @Component. The easiest way to implement the Instrumentation interface is to extend graphql.execution.instrumentation.SimpleInstrumentation.

The following is an example of an implementation that outputs the execution time for each data fetcher, and the total query execution time, to the logs. Most likely you would want to replace the log output with writing to your tracing/metrics backend. Note that the code example accounts for async data fetchers. If we wouldn't do this, the result for an async data fetcher would always be 0, because the actual processing happens later.

public class ExampleTracingInstrumentation extends SimpleInstrumentation {
    private final static Logger LOGGER = LoggerFactory.getLogger(ExampleTracingInstrumentation.class);

    public InstrumentationState createState() {
        return new TracingState();

    public InstrumentationContext<ExecutionResult> beginExecution(InstrumentationExecutionParameters parameters) {
        TracingState tracingState = parameters.getInstrumentationState();
        tracingState.startTime = System.currentTimeMillis();
        return super.beginExecution(parameters);

    public DataFetcher<?> instrumentDataFetcher(DataFetcher<?> dataFetcher, InstrumentationFieldFetchParameters parameters) {
        // We only care about user code
        if(parameters.isTrivialDataFetcher()) {
            return dataFetcher;

        return environment -> {
            long startTime = System.currentTimeMillis();
            Object result = dataFetcher.get(environment);
            if(result instanceof CompletableFuture) {
                ((CompletableFuture<?>) result).whenComplete((r, ex) -> {
                    long totalTime = System.currentTimeMillis() - startTime;
          "Async datafetcher {} took {}ms", findDatafetcherTag(parameters), totalTime);
            } else {
                long totalTime = System.currentTimeMillis() - startTime;
      "Datafetcher {} took {}ms", findDatafetcherTag(parameters), totalTime);

            return result;

    public CompletableFuture<ExecutionResult> instrumentExecutionResult(ExecutionResult executionResult, InstrumentationExecutionParameters parameters) {
        TracingState tracingState = parameters.getInstrumentationState();
        long totalTime = System.currentTimeMillis() - tracingState.startTime;"Total execution time: {}ms", totalTime);

        return super.instrumentExecutionResult(executionResult, parameters);

    private String findDatafetcherTag(InstrumentationFieldFetchParameters parameters) {
        GraphQLOutputType type = parameters.getExecutionStepInfo().getParent().getType();
        GraphQLObjectType parent;
        if (type instanceof GraphQLNonNull) {
            parent = (GraphQLObjectType) ((GraphQLNonNull) type).getWrappedType();
        } else {
            parent = (GraphQLObjectType) type;

        return  parent.getName() + "." + parameters.getExecutionStepInfo().getPath().getSegmentName();

    static class TracingState implements InstrumentationState {
        long startTime;
class ExampleTracingInstrumentation: SimpleInstrumentation() {

    val logger : Logger = LoggerFactory.getLogger(

    override fun createState(): InstrumentationState {
        return TraceState()

    override fun beginExecution(parameters: InstrumentationExecutionParameters): InstrumentationContext<ExecutionResult> {
        val state: TraceState = parameters.getInstrumentationState()
        state.traceStartTime = System.currentTimeMillis()

        return super.beginExecution(parameters)

    override fun instrumentDataFetcher(dataFetcher: DataFetcher<*>, parameters: InstrumentationFieldFetchParameters): DataFetcher<*> {
        // We only care about user code
        if(parameters.isTrivialDataFetcher) {
            return dataFetcher

        val dataFetcherName = findDatafetcherTag(parameters)

        return DataFetcher { environment ->
            val startTime = System.currentTimeMillis()
            val result = dataFetcher.get(environment)
            if(result is CompletableFuture<*>) {
                result.whenComplete { _,_ ->
                    val totalTime = System.currentTimeMillis() - startTime
          "Async datafetcher '$dataFetcherName' took ${totalTime}ms")
            } else {
                val totalTime = System.currentTimeMillis() - startTime
      "Datafetcher '$dataFetcherName': ${totalTime}ms")


    override fun instrumentExecutionResult(executionResult: ExecutionResult, parameters: InstrumentationExecutionParameters): CompletableFuture<ExecutionResult> {
        val state: TraceState = parameters.getInstrumentationState()
        val totalTime = System.currentTimeMillis() - state.traceStartTime"Total execution time: ${totalTime}ms")

        return super.instrumentExecutionResult(executionResult, parameters)

    private fun findDatafetcherTag(parameters: InstrumentationFieldFetchParameters): String {
        val type = parameters.executionStepInfo.parent.type
        val parentType = if (type is GraphQLNonNull) {
            type.wrappedType as GraphQLObjectType
        } else {
            type as GraphQLObjectType

        return "${}.${parameters.executionStepInfo.path.segmentName}"

    data class TraceState(var traceStartTime: Long = 0): InstrumentationState

Datafetcher 'Query.shows': 0ms

Total execution time: 3ms

Metrics Out of The Box


  • Supported via the opt-in graphql-dgs-spring-boot-micrometer module.
  • Provides specific GraphQL metrics such as gql.query, gql.error, and gql.dataLoader.
  • Supports several backend implementations since its implemented via Micrometer.
dependencies {
    implementation ''
dependencies {


Note that the version is missing since we assume you are using the latest BOM. We recommend you use the DGS Platform BOM to handle such versions.

Shared Tags

The following are tags shared across most of the meters.


tag name values description
gql.operation QUERY, MUTATION, SUBSCRIPTION are the possible values. These represent the GraphQL operation that is executed. GraphQL operation name if any, else anonymous. Since the cardinality of the value is high it will be limited.
gql.query.complexity one in [5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000] The total number of nodes in the query. Refer to Query Complexity section. for additional information.
gql.query.sig.hash Query Signature Hash of the query that was executed. Since the cardinality of the value is high it will be limited.

GraphQL Query Complexity

The gql.query.complexity is typically calculated as 1 + Child's Complexity. The query complexity is valuable to calculate the cost of a query as this can vary based on input arguments to the query. The computed value is represented as one of the bucketed values to reduce the cardinality of the metric.

Example Query:

query {
  viewer {
    repositories(first: 50) {
      edges {
        repository:node {

          issues(first: 10) {
            edges {
              node {

Example Calculation:

50          = 50 repositories
50 x 10     = 500 repository issues

            = 550 total nodes

GraphQL Query Signature Hash

The Query Signature is defined as the tuple of the GraphQL AST Signature of the GraphQL Document and the GraphQL AST Signature Hash. The GraphQL AST Signature of a GraphQL Document is defined as follows:

A canonical AST which removes excess operations, removes any field aliases, hides literal values and sorts the result into a canonical query Ref graphql-java

The GraphQL AST Signature Hash is the Hex 256 SHA string produced by encoding the AST Signature. While we can't tag a metric by its signature, due its length, we can use the hash, as now expressed by the gql.query.sig.hash tag.

There are a few configuration parameters that can change the behavior of the gql.query.sig.hash tag.

  • management.metrics.dgs-graphql.query-signature.enabled: Defaulting to true, it enables the calculation of the GQL Query Signature. The gql.query.sig.hash will express the GQL Query Signature Hash.
  • management.metrics.dgs-graphql.query-signature.caching.enabled: Defaulting to true, it will cache the GQL Query Signature. If set to false it will just disable the cache but will not turn the calculation of the signature off. If you want to turn such calculation off use the management.metrics.dgs-graphql.query-signature.enabled property.

Cardinality Limiter

The cardinality of a given tag, the number of different values that a tag can express, can be problematic to servers supporting metrics. In order to prevent the cardinality of some of the tags supported out of the box there are some limiters by default. The limited tag values will only see the first 100 different values by default, from there new values will be expressed as --others--.

You can change the limiter via the following configuration:

  • management.metrics.dgs-graphql.tags.limiter.limit: Defaults to100, sets the number of different values expressed per limited tag.

Not all tags are limited, currently, only following are:

  • gql.query.sig.hash

Query Timer: gql.query

Captures the elapsed time that a given GraphQL query, or mutation, takes.

Name: gql.query


tag name values description
outcome success or failure Result of the operation, as defined by the ExecutionResult.

Error Counter: gql.error

Captures the number of GraphQL errors encountered during query execution of a query or mutation. Remember that one graphql request can have multiple errors.

Name: gql.error


tag name description
gql.errorCode The GraphQL error code, such as VALIDATION, INTERNAL, etc.
gql.path The sanitized query path that resulted in the error.
gql.errorDetail Optional flag containing additional details, if present.

Data Loader Timer: gql.dataLoader

Captures the elapsed time for a data loader invocation for a batch of queries. This is useful if you want to find data loaders that might be responsible for poor query performance.

Name: gql.dataLoader


tag name description
gql.loaderName The name of the data loader, may or may not be the same as the type of entity.
gql.loaderBatchSize The number of queries executed in the batch.

Data Fetcher Timer: gql.resolver

Captures the elapsed time of each data fetcher invocation. This is useful if you want to find data fetchers that might be responsible for poor query performance. That said, there might be times where you want to remove a data fetcher from being measured/included in this meter. You can do so by annotating the method with @DgsEnableDataFetcherInstrumentation(false).


This metric is not available if:

  • The data is resolved via a Batch Loader.
  • The method is annotated with @DgsEnableDataFetcherInstrumentation(false).
  • The DataFetcher is TrivialDataFetcher. A trivial DataFetcher is one that simply maps data from an object to a field. This is defined directly in graphql-java.

Name: gql.resolver


tag name description
gql.field Name of the data fetcher. This has the ${parentType}.${field} format as specified in the @DgsData annotation.

Data Fetcher Timer as a Counter

The data fetcher, or resolver, timer can be used as a counter as well. If used in this manner it will reflect the number of invocations of each data fetcher. This is useful if you want to find out which data fetchers are used often.

Further Tag Customization

You can customize the tags applied to the metrics above by providing beans that implement the following functional interfaces.

Interface Description
DgsContextualTagCustomizer Used to add common, contextual tags. Example of these could be used to describe the deployment environment, application profile, application version, etc
DgsExecutionTagCustomizer Used to add tags specific to the ExecutionResult of the query. The SimpleGqlOutcomeTagCustomizer is an example of this.
DgsFieldFetchTagCustomizer Used to add tags specific to the execution of data fetchers. The SimpleGqlOutcomeTagCustomizer is an example of this as well.

Additional Metrics Configuration

  • management.metrics.dgs-graphql.enabled: Enables the metrics provided out of the box; defaults to true.
  • management.metrics.dgs-graphql.tag-customizers.outcome.enabled: Enables the tag customizer that will label the gql.query and gql.resolver timers with an outcome reflecting the result of the GraphQL outcome, either success or failure; defaults to true.
  • Enables instrumentation of data loaders; defaults to true.