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Analyze services with span tags in Splunk Observability Cloud 🔗

Drill down into service performance with span tags. Span tags provide additional context about operations that spans represent. Default span tags include things like the endpoint, operation, and HTTP method associated with a span. Using these tags, you can analyze requests, errors, and latency for spans that contain specific span tags. This context lets you understand service performance at a glance and helps you discover the root cause of issues faster.


Span tags are key-value pairs added to spans through instrumentation. In the Splunk OpenTelemetry Collector, these key-value pairs are as attributes. See Add span tags with an OpenTelemetry Collector to learn how to add span tags as attributes in an OpenTelemetry Collector configuration YAML file.

APM processes and generates additional context for span tags you index. When you index a span tag, APM generates Troubleshooting MetricSets, which are high cardinality metrics with short retention. For more information about MetricSets in APM, see MetricSets.

Index span tags to analyze services in the following ways:

  • Break down service performance by indexed tags in the Troubleshooting Service Map.

  • View charts of service performance metrics by indexed span tags in Tag Spotlight.

  • Track multiple traces for a specific activity with Business Workflows.

If you don’t index any span tags, you can still view them when analyzing whole traces. You can also download traces and filter or process data by span tags manually. For more information, see Download traces.

Before you can index span tags, send spans with span tags to APM. For more information, see Add context to traces with span tags for Splunk Observability Cloud.

For information about how APM defines span tags and which span tags to index, see Deciding which span tags to index for Splunk Observability Cloud.

To index span tags so APM generates Troubleshooting MetricSets, see Index span tags to gain insight into service performance.