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Sumo Logic

Manually Casting String Data to a Number

Most data in Sumo Logic is stored as string type data. Metadata fields are stored as string data. And parsed fields are, by default, parsed as string type data. Sumo Logic will implicitly cast string data to a number type assuming it is clear that you need a number to perform an action, such as a math calculation or when using a function like sum or avg. However, if there is any ambiguity about whether a number is required, the data remains string data.

This detail can be important when you are building queries. There are at least two cases where you will need to manually cast string data to a number so that you get the results that you expect:

  • When using the where operator to match integers like this:
    • where value in (integer_value1, integer_value2, integer_value3)
    • where value not in (integer_value1, integer_value2, integer_value3)
  • When you need to numerically sort a series of results from a query, like in this example:
    • * | parse "took *ms" as duration | toLong(duration) | sort by duration

In the first case, if your statement looks something like "where some_value in (1, 2, 4, 16)" and you need to match (or not match) integers, then you will first need to cast "some_value" to a number.

In the second case, the results will sort out of order as text values if you do not first cast the field "duration" to a number. After the field is cast to a number type, the sort order will produce expected results.

Sumo Logic accepts these functions for casting string data to a number:

  • num()
  • number()
  • toLong()

When casting a field to a number, remember to separate the casting statement with a pipe, like this:

* | parse "OSload *ms" as boot_time | number(boot_time) | sort by boot_time