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looking at http://docs.datadoghq.com/guides/metrics/ ,
count/avg/median/max/percentile have AFAICT nothing to do with histograms, as with histograms you divide your spectrum in buckets and count how many values fall within each bucket.
I actually implemented histograms in statsd, and have a pending PR here:etsy/statsd#162
(I also have a corresponding blogpost with more info but it may be TMI http://dieter.plaetinck.be/histogram-statsd-graphing-over-time-with-graphite.html)
Related, at http://docs.datadoghq.com/guides/dogstatsd/ I read "Statsd only supports histograms for timing, not generic values (like the size of uploaded files or the number of rows returned from a query)."
this is not correct, although it is a common misconception because of the 'ms' code in the protocol and the fact that the metric name is "timing".
I opened a ticket for this and plan to rename it to "aggregate" in statsd (see etsy/statsd#98), because this is essentially just computing aggregate statistics on the input set. The histogram feature is then just another set of computed aggregatic statistics, just like mean/avg/percentiles/... are. and they are all in the scope of the same metric type.
hmm that's interesting. I've never encountered histograms where the intervals are defined by percentiles but I guess it's
technically ok to do.
I wonder how to best render such histograms over time. My gold standard so far has been http://imgur.com/P4Hu0, with its fixed intervals and color coding it's easy to spot anomalies (such as differences from a bell curve) (note how this example results in a decreased median/average but there are more high outliers).
thinking about it, the datadog histogram graphs look actually relatively fine, but:
I def. like your idea of adding more bands in the lower part of the distribution, it's good to see trends there.
More so, I'm starting to think my colorcoding example doesn't do anything more or better than your current approach (assuming both have the same amount of buckets to keep it fair), and predefining the interval boundaries with "static" values is not fun indeed.
Closing this as we will stick to the statsd terminology, however broken it is.