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What is an entity in New Relic?

New Relic monitoring is built around the concept of the entity. An entity is anything that reports data to New Relic. This document explains:

  • What entities are
  • How to find entity data
  • How to modify existing entity types or create new ones
  • How entities are related to one another
  • How to organize them into groups for easier analysis

What is an entity?

From a New Relic product perspective, entity is a broad concept. An entity is anything we can identify that has data you can monitor.

"Entity" can refer to fundamental data-reporting components like applications, hosts, and database services, but it can also refer to larger groupings of those components. For example, to monitor a data center, you could aggregate those hosts in New Relic to be a workload (a custom grouping of entities). That workload is, itself, also an entity.

This conceptual definition of "entity" is important because New Relic's goal is to give you practical information about the status of your business-important entities (and not just give you an unhelpfully large stream of assorted metrics and data). Our focus on entities, and the relationships between them, helps us optimize monitoring and troubleshooting of complex, modern systems.

Find and explore entities

You'll find your entities wherever you see your data reporting in New Relic.

Tip

You can create new entity types to monitor any data source. Learn more about entity synthesis.

Some tips for finding and understanding entity data:

  • To find an entity's unique global identifier (GUID): from any list of monitored entities in the New Relic Explorer, hover over a specific entity and click the icon to see the GUID and other metadata.
  • An entity's GUID is reported as the attribute entityGuid. You can query for an entity using this attribute in the query builder.
  • Use the Related Entities view in the New Relic Explorer, service maps, distributed tracing, and our relationships API in GraphQL to see connections between entities.
  • Explore entity data using our NerdGraph GraphiQL explorer (api.newrelic.com/graphiql).

Entity synthesis

If you have telemetry from any source that's not supported by New Relic out of the box, you can propose a mapping for it. Once approved, any telemetry received by New Relic which matches your definition file will be synthesized into an entity.

Tip

For more information on how to modify existing entity types or create new ones please refer to our Entity Synthesis documentation.

Reserved attributes for synthesized entities

These attributes are meant to be synthesized from the telemetry we receive. Do not set them unless you are aware of the implications and consequences.

Attribute

Description

entity.guid

Generally, you should not set this attribute field on your telemetry data. New Relic may add this field to ingested data to store a unique identifier for the entity associated with the data point. If telemetry arrives with the entity.guid attribute already present, then New Relic will not change the value. However, it may cause undefined behavior such as missing entities in the UI, or telemetry not associating with the expected entities.

One use case for passing this attribute is to associate ingested telemetry with an entity already created by New Relic. When the entity.guid attribute is sent, the value will override New Relic’s entity identification system (such as entity synthesis definitions) and instead will use the attribute as the data.

entity.name

This attribute shouldn't be put on ingested telemetry data unless you're trying to override the entity name that would have been selected by New Relic’s entity identification system. While New Relic won't change the value if it's already present on the data, New Relic may add the attribute to your data. Therefore invalid or unexpected values may cause undefined behavior such as missing entities in the UI, or telemetry not associating with the expected entities.

If this field is present on ingested telemetry, its value will be used to name the entity associated with the data point. This name will be used instead of the name selected by New Relic’s entity identification system (for example, entity synthesis definitions). Note that many entities use the name as part of their identification, so changing this field may result in the generation of a new entity.

entity.type

This attribute shouldn't be put on ingested telemetry data except for certain legacy cases where it's required to distinguish entity types. Passing this field may interfere with entity detection, particularly if unrecognized values are sent in this field.

While New Relic won't change the value if already present on the data, the field is not guaranteed to provide unambiguous filtering of telemetry at query-time. Existing entity definitions already have overlapping values, and we recommend avoiding entity.type in favor of other fields for filtering telemetry queries.

This field is used by New Relic, meaning that invalid or unexpected values may cause undefined behavior such as missing entities in the UI, or telemetry not associating with the expected entities.

Connections between entities are automatically created by New Relic based on what we can infer from your telemetry. For example, when two services that communicate using HTTP are instrumented with New Relic, we infer a "calls/called-by" relationship between them.

When viewing a single entity in either the New Relic Explorer, Navigator, or Lookout, you can see its Related Entities in the entity's mini overview. Related Entities is a visualization of the various entities connected directly to the current entity in focus. You can quickly view important metrics for these related entities and navigate from one entity to another, through all the connected parts of your stack.

Tip

You can learn more about how entities are related using our NerdGraph API.

When relationships are not automatically detected, you can manually create them using the "Add/edit related entities" link in Related Entities.

Important

Currently, you can only manually create calls/called-by relationships between service entities.

Tip

To manage manual relationships, you need to have modify and delete capabilities on entity relationships. If you don’t see the edit relationships button, contact your account admin.

Which relationships are created?

These are the relationships created between entities:

Group and organize entities

You can place entities into groups that reflect business-important relationships in your organization. For example, you might group all entities related to a specific team or department, or related to a specific service. Or you might group multiple hosts together to reflect their grouping in a data center.

To group your entities, see:

For more help

If you need more help, check out these support and learning resources:

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