Link Search Menu Expand Document

Time Series Databases

Definition : A Time Series Database (TSDB) is a database type which is optimized fortime series or time-stamped data.
It is built specifically for handling metrics,events or measurements that are time-stamped. A TSDB is optimized formeasuring change over time. A TSDB allows its users to create, enumerate,update, destroy and organize various time series in a more efficient manner.The key difference with time series data from regular data is that mostly youask questions about it over time. Nowadays, the majority of the companiesare generating a insanely large stream of metrics and events (time series data)and hence the need of a TSDBs is unavoidable.


The main properties distinguishing time series data from the regular dataworkloads are summarization, data life cycle management, and large rangescans of many records. The overview of some of the required properties of aTSDB is as follows:

  • Data Location:If related data is not located together in the physicalstorage, the data queries can be really slow and even result in timeoutsbecause non-sequential I/O operations are still very slow as comparedto the sequential I/O even when using SSD. A TSDB co-locates chucksof data within the same time range on the same physical part of thedatabase cluster and hence enables quick access for faster, more efficientanalysis.
  • Fast, easy range queries:As a TSDB keeps the co-related datatogether it ensures that the range queries are fast. In many cases regulardatabases produce an index out of memory error because of the sheervolume of time series data and subsequently affect the performanceof read and write operations. In addition, it should be taken intoconsideration that the query language used should make it easier forusers to write such queries.
  • High write performance: A lot of databases are not able to serverequests predictably and quickly during peak loads. TSDBs shouldensure high availability and high performance for both read and write operations during peak loads because they are usually designed to stayavailable even under the most demanding conditions. Time series datais usually being recorded every second or even less than that, so writeoperations need to be fast.
  • Data compression: As time-series data is mostly recorded per secondor even with less granularity, they usually need a better data compres-sion technique. And as the data grows older granularity becomes lessimportant, so TSDBs should provide functionality to perform roll-upsin such scenarios for data compaction.
  • Scalability: Time-series data increases very quickly. For example aconnected car will send 25 GB of data to the cloud every hour And regular databases are not designed to handle this scalability. On theother hand time series databases are designed to take care of scale byintroducing functionalities that are only possible when you treat timeas your first concern. This can result in performance improvements,including: higher insertion rates, faster queries at scale, and betterdata compression.
  • Usability: TSDBs typically include functions and operations that arecommon to time series data analysis. For example they utilize dataretention policies, continuous queries, flexible time aggregations, rangequeries etc. So this increases the usability by improving the user expe-rience in case of dealing with time related analysis.