Introducing the GraphQL Analytics API: exactly the data you need, all in one place

By GIXnews
Introducing the GraphQL Analytics API: exactly the data you need, all in one place

Introducing the GraphQL Analytics API: exactly the data you need, all in one place

Today we’re excited to announce a powerful and flexible new way to explore your Cloudflare metrics and logs, with an API conforming to the industry-standard GraphQL specification. With our new GraphQL Analytics API, all of your performance, security, and reliability data is available from one endpoint, and you can select exactly what you need, whether it’s one metric for one domain or multiple metrics aggregated for all of your domains. You can ask questions like “How many cached bytes have been returned for these three domains?” Or, “How many requests have all the domains under my account received?” Or even, “What effect did changing my firewall rule an hour ago have on the responses my users were seeing?”

The GraphQL standard also has strong community resources, from extensive documentation to front-end clients, making it easy to start creating simple queries and progress to building your own sophisticated analytics dashboards.

From many APIs…

Providing insights has always been a core part of Cloudflare’s offering. After all, by using Cloudflare, you’re relying on us for key parts of your infrastructure, and so we need to make sure you have the data to manage, monitor, and troubleshoot your website, app, or service. Over time, we developed a few key data APIs, including ones providing information regarding your domain’s traffic, DNS queries, and firewall events. This multi-API approach was acceptable while we had only a few products, but we started to run into some challenges as we added more products and analytics. We couldn’t expect users to adopt a new analytics API every time they started using a new product. In fact, some of the customers and partners that were relying on many of our products were already becoming confused by the various APIs.

Following the multi-API approach was also affecting how quickly we could develop new analytics within the Cloudflare dashboard, which is used by more people for data exploration than our APIs. Each time we built a new product, our product engineering teams had to implement a corresponding analytics API, which our user interface engineering team then had to learn to use. This process could take up to several months for each new set of analytics dashboards.

…to one

Our new GraphQL Analytics API solves these problems by providing access to all Cloudflare analytics. It offers a standard, flexible syntax for describing exactly the data you need and provides predictable, matching responses. This approach makes it an ideal tool for:

  • Data exploration. You can think of it as a way to query your own virtual data warehouse, full of metrics and logs regarding the performance, security, and reliability of your Internet property.
  • Building amazing dashboards, which allow for flexible filtering, sorting, and drilling down or rolling up. Creating these kinds of dashboards would normally require paying thousands of dollars for a specialized analytics tool. You get them as part of our product and can customize them for yourself using the API.
  • In a companion post that was also published today, my colleague Nick discusses using the GraphQL Analytics API to build dashboards. So, in this post, I’ll focus on examples of how you can use the API to explore your data. To make the queries, I’ll be using GraphiQL, a popular open-source querying tool that takes advantage of GraphQL’s capabilities.

    Introspection: what data is available?

    The first thing you may be wondering: if the GraphQL Analytics API offers access to so much data, how do I figure out what exactly is available, and how I can ask for it? GraphQL makes this easy by offering “introspection,” meaning you can query the API itself to see the available data sets, the fields and their types, and the operations you can perform. GraphiQL uses this functionality to provide a “Documentation Explorer,” query auto-completion, and syntax validation. For example, here is how I can see all the data sets available for a zone (domain):

    Introducing the GraphQL Analytics API: exactly the data you need, all in one place

    If I’m writing a query, and I’m interested in data on firewall events, auto-complete will help me quickly find relevant data sets and fields:

    Introducing the GraphQL Analytics API: exactly the data you need, all in one place

    Querying: examples of questions you can ask

    Let’s say you’ve made a major product announcement and expect a surge in requests to your blog, your application, and several other zones (domains) under your account. You can check if this surge materializes by asking for the requests aggregated under your account, in the 30 minutes after your announcement post, broken down by the minute:

    {
     viewer { 
       accounts (filter: {accountTag: $accountTag}) {
         httpRequests1mGroups(limit: 30, filter: {datetime_geq: "2019-09-16T20:00:00Z", datetime_lt: "2019-09-16T20:30:00Z"}, orderBy: [datetimeMinute_ASC]) {
    	  dimensions {
    		datetimeMinute
    	  }
    	  sum {
    		requests
    	  }
    	}
       }
     }
    }

    Here is the first part of the response, showing requests for your account, by the minute:

    Introducing the GraphQL Analytics API: exactly the data you need, all in one place

    Now, let’s say you want to compare the traffic coming to your blog versus your marketing site over the last hour. You can do this in one query, asking for the number of requests to each zone:

    {
     viewer {
       zones(filter: {zoneTag_in: [$zoneTag1, $zoneTag2]}) {
         httpRequests1hGroups(limit: 2, filter: {datetime_geq: "2019-09-16T20:00:00Z",
    datetime_lt: "2019-09-16T21:00:00Z"}) {
           sum {
             requests
           }
         }
       }
     }
    }

    Here is the response:

    Introducing the GraphQL Analytics API: exactly the data you need, all in one place

    Finally, let’s say you’re seeing an increase in error responses. Could this be correlated to an attack? You can look at error codes and firewall events over the last 15 minutes, for example:

    {
     viewer {
       zones(filter: {zoneTag: $zoneTag}) {
         httpRequests1mGroups (limit: 100,
    filter: {datetime_geq: "2019-09-16T21:00:00Z",
    datetime_lt: "2019-09-16T21:15:00Z"}) {
           sum {
             responseStatusMap {
               edgeResponseStatus
               requests
             }
           }
         }
        firewallEventsAdaptiveGroups (limit: 100,
    filter: {datetime_geq: "2019-09-16T21:00:00Z",
    datetime_lt: "2019-09-16T21:15:00Z"}) {
           dimensions {
             action
           }
           count
         }
        }
      }
    }

    Notice that, in this query, we’re looking at multiple datasets at once, using a common zone identifier to “join” them. Here are the results:

    Introducing the GraphQL Analytics API: exactly the data you need, all in one place

    By examining both data sets in parallel, we can see a correlation: 31 requests were “dropped” or blocked by the Firewall, which is exactly the same as the number of “403” responses. So, the 403 responses were a result of Firewall actions.

    Try it today

    To learn more about the GraphQL Analytics API and start exploring your Cloudflare data, follow the “Getting started” guide in our developer documentation, which also has details regarding the current data sets and time periods available. We’ll be adding more data sets over time, so take advantage of the introspection feature to see the latest available.

    Finally, to make way for the new API, the Zone Analytics API is now deprecated and will be sunset on May 31, 2020. The data that Zone Analytics provides is available from the GraphQL Analytics API. If you’re currently using the API directly, please follow our migration guide to change your API calls. If you get your analytics using the Cloudflare dashboard or our Datadog integration, you don’t need to take any action.

    One more thing….

    In the API examples above, if you find it helpful to get analytics aggregated for all the domains under your account, we have something else you may like: a brand new Analytics dashboard (in beta) that provides this same information. If your account has many zones, the dashboard is helpful for knowing summary information on metrics such as requests, bandwidth, cache rate, and error rate. Give it a try and let us know what you think using the feedback link above the new dashboard.

    Source:: CloudFlare