Semantic Conventions for Database Client Calls

Status: Experimental

Warning Existing Database instrumentations that are using v1.20.0 of this document (or prior):

  • SHOULD NOT change the version of the networking conventions that they emit until the HTTP semantic conventions are marked stable (HTTP stabilization will include stabilization of a core set of networking conventions which are also used in Database instrumentations). Conventions include, but are not limited to, attributes, metric and span names, and unit of measure.
  • SHOULD introduce an environment variable OTEL_SEMCONV_STABILITY_OPT_IN in the existing major version which is a comma-separated list of values. The only values defined so far are:
    • http - emit the new, stable networking conventions, and stop emitting the old experimental networking conventions that the instrumentation emitted previously.
    • http/dup - emit both the old and the stable networking conventions, allowing for a seamless transition.
    • The default behavior (in the absence of one of these values) is to continue emitting whatever version of the old experimental networking conventions the instrumentation was emitting previously.
    • Note: http/dup has higher precedence than http in case both values are present
  • SHOULD maintain (security patching at a minimum) the existing major version for at least six months after it starts emitting both sets of conventions.
  • SHOULD drop the environment variable in the next major version.

Span kind: MUST always be CLIENT.

The span name SHOULD be set to a low cardinality value representing the statement executed on the database. It MAY be a stored procedure name (without arguments), DB statement without variable arguments, operation name, etc. Since SQL statements may have very high cardinality even without arguments, SQL spans SHOULD be named the following way, unless the statement is known to be of low cardinality: <db.operation> <>.<db.sql.table>, provided that db.operation and db.sql.table are available. If db.sql.table is not available due to its semantics, the span SHOULD be named <db.operation> <>. It is not recommended to attempt any client-side parsing of db.statement just to get these properties, they should only be used if the library being instrumented already provides them. When it’s otherwise impossible to get any meaningful span name, or the tech-specific database name MAY be used.

Connection-level attributes

These attributes will usually be the same for all operations performed over the same database connection. Some database systems may allow a connection to switch to a different db.user, for example, and other database systems may not even have the concept of a connection at all.

AttributeTypeDescriptionExamplesRequirement Level
db.connection_stringstringThe connection string used to connect to the database. It is recommended to remove embedded credentials.Server=(localdb)\v11.0;Integrated Security=true;Recommended
db.instance.idstringAn identifier (address, unique name, or any other identifier) of the database instance that is executing queries or mutations on the current connection. This is useful in cases where the database is running in a clustered environment and the instrumentation is able to record the node executing the query. The client may obtain this value in databases like MySQL using queries like select @@hostname.mysql-e26b99z.example.comRecommended: If different from the server.address
db.systemstringAn identifier for the database management system (DBMS) product being used. See below for a list of well-known identifiers.other_sqlRequired
db.userstringUsername for accessing the database.readonly_user; reporting_userRecommended
network.peer.addressstringPeer address of the network connection - IP address or Unix domain socket name.; /tmp/my.sockRecommended
network.peer.portintPeer port number of the network connection.65123Recommended: If network.peer.address is set.
network.transportstringOSI transport layer or inter-process communication method. [1]tcp; udpRecommended
network.typestringOSI network layer or non-OSI equivalent. [2]ipv4; ipv6Recommended
server.addressstringName of the database host. [3];; /tmp/my.sockRecommended
server.portintServer port number. [4]80; 8080; 443Conditionally Required: [5]

[1]: The value SHOULD be normalized to lowercase.

Consider always setting the transport when setting a port number, since a port number is ambiguous without knowing the transport. For example different processes could be listening on TCP port 12345 and UDP port 12345.

[2]: The value SHOULD be normalized to lowercase.

[3]: When observed from the client side, and when communicating through an intermediary, server.address SHOULD represent the server address behind any intermediaries, for example proxies, if it’s available.

[4]: When observed from the client side, and when communicating through an intermediary, server.port SHOULD represent the server port behind any intermediaries, for example proxies, if it’s available.

[5]: If using a port other than the default port for this DBMS and if server.address is set.

db.system has the following list of well-known values. If one of them applies, then the respective value MUST be used, otherwise a custom value MAY be used.

other_sqlSome other SQL database. Fallback only. See notes.
mssqlMicrosoft SQL Server
mssqlcompactMicrosoft SQL Server Compact
oracleOracle Database
db2IBM Db2
redshiftAmazon Redshift
hiveApache Hive
hsqldbHyperSQL DataBase
progressProgress Database
maxdbSAP MaxDB
hanadbSAP HANA
cacheInterSystems Caché
adabasAdabas (Adaptable Database System)
derbyApache Derby
pervasivePervasive PSQL
coldfusionColdFusion IMQ
cassandraApache Cassandra
hbaseApache HBase
cosmosdbMicrosoft Azure Cosmos DB
dynamodbAmazon DynamoDB
geodeApache Geode
spannerCloud Spanner

network.transport has the following list of well-known values. If one of them applies, then the respective value MUST be used, otherwise a custom value MAY be used.

pipeNamed or anonymous pipe.
unixUnix domain socket

network.type has the following list of well-known values. If one of them applies, then the respective value MUST be used, otherwise a custom value MAY be used.


Notes and well-known identifiers for db.system

The list above is a non-exhaustive list of well-known identifiers to be specified for db.system.

If a value defined in this list applies to the DBMS to which the request is sent, this value MUST be used. If no value defined in this list is suitable, a custom value MUST be provided. This custom value MUST be the name of the DBMS in lowercase and without a version number to stay consistent with existing identifiers.

It is encouraged to open a PR towards this specification to add missing values to the list, especially when instrumentations for those missing databases are written. This allows multiple instrumentations for the same database to be aligned and eases analyzing for backends.

The value other_sql is intended as a fallback and MUST only be used if the DBMS is known to be SQL-compliant but the concrete product is not known to the instrumentation. If the concrete DBMS is known to the instrumentation, its specific identifier MUST be used.

Back ends could, for example, use the provided identifier to determine the appropriate SQL dialect for parsing the db.statement.

When additional attributes are added that only apply to a specific DBMS, its identifier SHOULD be used as a namespace in the attribute key as for the attributes in the sections below.

Call-level attributes

These attributes may be different for each operation performed, even if the same connection is used for multiple operations. Usually only one will be used per connection though.

AttributeTypeDescriptionExamplesRequirement Level
db.namestringThis attribute is used to report the name of the database being accessed. For commands that switch the database, this should be set to the target database (even if the command fails). [1]customers; mainConditionally Required: If applicable.
db.operationstringThe name of the operation being executed, e.g. the MongoDB command name such as findAndModify, or the SQL keyword. [2]findAndModify; HMSET; SELECTConditionally Required: If db.statement is not applicable.
db.statementstringThe database statement being executed.SELECT * FROM wuser_table; SET mykey "WuValue"Recommended: [3]

[1]: In some SQL databases, the database name to be used is called “schema name”. In case there are multiple layers that could be considered for database name (e.g. Oracle instance name and schema name), the database name to be used is the more specific layer (e.g. Oracle schema name).

[2]: When setting this to an SQL keyword, it is not recommended to attempt any client-side parsing of db.statement just to get this property, but it should be set if the operation name is provided by the library being instrumented. If the SQL statement has an ambiguous operation, or performs more than one operation, this value may be omitted.

[3]: Should be collected by default only if there is sanitization that excludes sensitive information.

Semantic Conventions for specific database technologies

More specific Semantic Conventions are defined for the following database technologies:

  • AWS DynamoDB: Semantic Conventions for AWS DynamoDB.
  • Cassandra: Semantic Conventions for Cassandra.
  • Cosmos DB: Semantic Conventions for Microsoft Cosmos DB.
  • CouchDB: Semantic Conventions for CouchDB.
  • Elasticsearch: Semantic Conventions for Elasticsearch.
  • GraphQL: Semantic Conventions for GraphQL Server.
  • HBase: Semantic Conventions for HBase.
  • MongoDB: Semantic Conventions for MongoDB.
  • MSSQL: Semantic Conventions for MSSQL.
  • Redis: Semantic Conventions for Redis.
  • SQL: Semantic Conventions for SQL databases.