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Announcing Lightstep Unified Query Language

We’re excited to announce the general availability of our Unified Query Language (UQL)general availability of our Unified Query Language (UQL), which extends visibility across Kubernetes and other cloud-native technologies to provide a clearer, more accurate picture of your microservices architecture.

Lightstep UQL powers unified observability-as-codeobservability-as-code to help teams manage the end-to-end pipeline of instrumentation—from definition to management of outputs. Since it’s embedded across the entire platform, you can use UQL anywhere in Lightstep to query and correlate across metrics, logs, and traces—on demand.

As observability shifts left, UQL helps DevOps teams ensure all Kubernetes applications are natively observable. It also safeguards consistency, maintainability, and reproducibility—all key best practices. This frees SRE teams to focus on what they do best: resolving incidents and introducing reliability into your ecosystem.

We built UQL to offer three key benefits:

  • Express more powerful queries

  • Increase reliability and repeatability with observability-as-code

  • Provide deeper interoperability between Lightstep and customers’ monitoring tools

Let’s take a closer look.

Powerful queries

Querying should feel like a superpower—offering limitless new insights and perspectives in a way that’s fast and intuitive. With powerful and highly expressive queries, Lightstep UQL goes beyond what the Lightstep product offers today via the Unified Query Builder (UQB). UQL offers more operators and functionality, encouraging teams to ask more targeted questions of their data, such as:

  • What are the top 10 and bottom 10 hosts by cpu and memory utilization?

  • What is the prevalence of different error codes in the checkout service?

  • What is the p95 of all file sizes for customer “ProWool”?

  • Which services are generating the highest amount of time series cardinality?

  • What is the error rate for the last hour compared to the same hour a week ago?

UQL offers a textual alternative with powerful yet intuitive querying capabilities, giving users more expressiveness without compromising usability. The language is fully integrated with the query builder—you can toggle between the query builder and text editor while preserving the original query. UQL is embedded across the entire Lightstep platform: It is available in Notebooks, dashboards, alerts, and APIs.


At Lightstep, we use TerraformTerraform to manage our internal cloud environment, bringing many of the benefits of code to our infrastructure. However, the definition of “infrastructure” doesn’t have to stop at Kubernetes clusters and containers. Infrastructure should also include business-critical dashboards and alerts, resources that help you better monitor the health of your system and rapidly troubleshoot issues.

With the Lightstep Terraform providerTerraform provider and UQL-supported APIs, you can now implement observability-as-code, which enables you to automatically set up monitoring for your containers, clusters, applications, and more. You can instantly deploy dashboards and alerts for your environment with a single command. Observability-as-code best practices increase developer velocity while improving repeatability and reliability.

Deeper interoperability

For organizations with complex, multifaceted environments, UQL-supported APIs offer deeper interoperability between Lightstep monitoring and customers’ existing ecosystems. You can now automate the configuration of your monitoring and alerting coverage, making your monitoring practices more pervasive and scalable across the organization. UQL-supported APIs allow you to programmatically create dashboards, configure alerts, take snapshots, and retrieve time-series data.

Our most strategic customers have leveraged our UQL-supported APIs innovatively. Examples include sophisticated alert routing to reduce alert fatigue and custom telemetry reporting to identify low-value services that contribute to wasteful telemetry spend.

Unified observability

Lightstep UQL marks an important milestone in our journey toward building a truly unified observability solution. It builds on the work we’ve started with Notebooks, Unified Dashboards, and our UQB by bringing uniformity and extensibility across the entire observability experience.

With a unified and seamless observability experience within one solution, you can scale with your business and provide deep insights into system performance and behavior—even with a rapid rate of change.

We believe this can be achieved only by seamlessly connecting insights and actions across all the tools, people, and processes involved in delivering digital customer experiences. Whatever your tool of choice, we have you covered.

Holistic, end-to-end visibility is needed to turn real-time insights into action. With our acquisition of Era SoftwareEra Software, we’re putting log management, tracing, and metrics under one roof for key observability use cases. The end result is better outcomes across technology investments, capitalizing on the promise of digital transformation.

If you aren’t a Lightstep user yet, take it for a spin by requesting a free trialfree trial or watch this on-demand webinaron-demand webinar to see it in action.

Interested in joining our team? See our open positions here.Interested in joining our team? See our open positions here.
October 24, 2022
4 min read

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Ben Sigelman

Ben Sigelman

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