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Monitoring a federated graph

As with any distributed architecture, a federated graph introduces more complexity than its monolithic counterpart. To help address this complexity and improve reliability, you should make sure that your federated graph has proper observability, monitoring, and automation in place.

This article describes Apollo managed federation features that help you monitor and debug your graph.

Metrics and observability

Federated graphs can push metrics to Apollo Studio to enable many powerful tools, including:

  • performance dashboards
  • Schema checks (paid)
  • Performance alerts (paid and experimental)

With a federated graph, your s pass trace data (timing and error information for each resolved ) to the gateway for every . The gateway then pushes that data to Studio:

Pushes traces
Passes traces
Passes traces
Passes traces
Products subgraph
Reviews subgraph
Inventory subgraph
Apollo Studio

Individual s do not push trace data directly to Studio.

Traces are displayed in Studio in the shape of the query plan, with each unique fetch to a reporting timing and error data.

-level statistics are still collected for operations sent by clients, and those operations are validated as part of .


To enable federated tracing, you set the APOLLO_KEY environment variable in your gateway's environment. Do not set this environment for your servers.

If other features require you to set APOLLO_KEY in your servers, disable usage reporting in those servers.

Also ensure that all instances of Apollo Server in your graph are using an up-to-date version of the apollo-server library (at least version 2.13).

Inspecting your subgraphs

View basic details for the s that make up your federated graph with the Rover CLI's rover subgraph list command:

$ rover subgraph list docs-example-graph@production
Listing subgraphs for docs-example-graph@production using credentials from the default profile.
│ Name │ Routing Url │ Last Updated │
│ products │ http://localhost:4001/graphql │ 2020-12-18 10:29:14 -08:00 │
│ reviews │ http://localhost:4002/graphql │ 2020-12-18 10:28:59 -08:00 │
View full details at

This command includes a link to an Apollo Studio page that provides additional information about your s.

If you're using the Apollo CLI, run apollo service:list instead.

Query plans
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