What does the "sum:" mean in front of the metric in a query?

The sum/avg/max/min aggregates over space. For instance, the ‘avg’ aggregate will produce the average across all instances of that metric at a single time point. So if you are reporting your metric from 100 different instances (regardless of their tags), then sum:metric_name{*} should sum the values of all 100 instances at each time point.

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