Grafana Cloud

Use traces in Grafana

Using Grafana Cloud Traces, you can search for traces, generate metrics from spans, and link your tracing data with logs, metrics, and profiles.

Search for traces

Search for traces using common dimensions such as time range, duration, span tags, service names, etc. Use the trace view to quickly diagnose errors and high latency events in your system.

Sample search visualization

Refine your search using TraceQL

Inspired by PromQL and LogQL, TraceQL is a query language designed for selecting traces.

The default traces search reviews the whole trace. TraceQL provides a method for formulating precise queries so you can zoom in to the data you need. Query results are returned faster because the queries limit what is searched.

If you are using Cloud Traces, you can construct queries using the TraceQL query editor or use the Search query type (preview feature).


The traceqlEditor feature flag needs to be enabled to access the TraceQL editor in Grafana Cloud. Contact Grafana Support to open a ticket to enable this feature.

For details about how queries are constructed, read the TraceQL documentation.

Metrics from spans

RED metrics can be used to drive service graphs and other ready-to-go visualizations of your span data. RED metrics represent:

  • Rate, the number of requests per second
  • Errors, the number of those requests that are failing
  • Duration, the amount of time those requests take

For more information about RED method, refer to The RED Method: how to instrument your services.

Metrics generation is disabled by default. Contact Grafana Support to enable metrics generation for your organization.

Service graph view

These metrics exist in your Hosted Metrics instance and can also be easily used to generate powerful custom dashboards.

Custom Metrics Dashboard

Metrics automatically generate exemplars as well which allows easy metrics to trace linking. Exemplars are GA in Grafana Cloud so you can also push your own.

Trace Exemplars

Service graph view

Service graph view displays a table of request rate, error rate, and duration metrics (RED) calculated from your incoming spans. It also includes a node graph view built from your spans. To use the service graph view, you need to enable service graphs and span metrics. After it’s enabled, this pre-configured view is immediately available in Explore > Service Graphs.

Refer to service graph view documentation for further explanation of this view and how to enable it.

Service graph view overview

If you’re already doing request/response logging with trace IDs, they can be easily extracted from logs to jump directly to your traces.

Logs to Traces visualization

In the other direction, you can configure Grafana Cloud to create a link from an individual span to your Loki logs. If you see a long-running span or a span with errors, you can immediately jump to the logs of the process causing the error.

Traces to Logs visualization

Refer to Set up and use tracing to get started.


Cloud Traces only supports custom tags added by Grafana Support. Cloud Traces supports these default tags: cluster, hostname, namespace, and pod. Contact Support to add a custom tag.

Grafana can correlate different signals by adding the functionality to link between traces and metrics. The trace to metrics feature, a beta feature in Grafana 9.1, lets you quickly see trends or aggregated data related to each span.

You can try it out by enabling the traceToMetrics feature toggle in your Grafana configuration file.

For example, you can use span attributes to metric labels by using the $__tags keyword to convert span attributes to metrics labels.

For more information, refer to the trace to metric configuration documentation.

Using Trace to profiles, you can use Grafana’s ability to correlate different signals by adding the functionality to link between traces and profiles. Refer to the Traces to profiles documentation for configuration instructions.

Selecting a link in the span queries the profile data source