Choosing the right database is a critical choice when building any software application. All databases have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to performance, so deciding which database has the most benefits and the most minor downsides for your specific use case and data model is an important decision. Below you will find an overview of the key concepts, architecture, features, use cases, and pricing models of Graphite and OpenTSDB so you can quickly see how they compare against each other.
The primary purpose of this article is to compare how Graphite and OpenTSDB perform for workloads involving time series data, not for all possible use cases. Time series data typically presents a unique challenge in terms of database performance. This is due to the high volume of data being written and the query patterns to access that data. This article doesn’t intend to make the case for which database is better; it simply provides an overview of each database so you can make an informed decision.
Graphite vs OpenTSDB Breakdown
Time series database
Time series database
Graphite can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud, and it supports horizontal scaling by partitioning data across multiple backend nodes.
OpenTSDB can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud, with HBase running on a distributed cluster of nodes.
Monitoring, observability, IoT, real-time analytics, DevOps, application performance monitoring
Monitoring, observability, IoT, log data storage
Horizontally scalable, supports clustering and replication for high availability and performance
Horizontally scalable across multiple nodes using HBase as its storage backend
Graphite is an open-source monitoring and graphing tool created in 2006 by Orbitz and open sourced in 2008. Graphite is designed for storing time series data and is widely used for collecting, storing, and visualizing metrics from various sources, such as application performance, system monitoring, and business analytics.
OpenTSDB (Open Time Series Database) is an open-source, distributed, and scalable time series database built on top of Apache HBase, a NoSQL database. OpenTSDB was designed to address the growing need for storing and processing large volumes of time series data generated by various sources, such as IoT devices, sensors, and monitoring systems. It was initially developed by StumbleUpon in 2010 and later became an independent project with an active community of contributors.
Graphite for Time Series Data
Graphite is specifically designed and optimized for time series data. It uses the Whisper database format, which efficiently stores and manages time series data by automatically aggregating and expiring data based on user-defined retention policies. Graphite supports a wide range of functions for querying, transforming, and aggregating time series data, enabling users to create custom graphs and dashboards. However, as Graphite focuses exclusively on time series data, it may not be suitable for other types of data or use cases that require more advanced data modeling or querying capabilities.
OpenTSDB for Time Series Data
OpenTSDB is designed for time series data storage and analysis, making it an ideal choice for managing large scale time series datasets. Its architecture enables high write and query performance, and it can handle millions of data points per second with minimal resource consumption. OpenTSDB’s flexible querying capabilities allow users to perform complex analysis on time series data efficiently.
Graphite Key Concepts
- Metric: A metric in Graphite represents a time series data point, consisting of a path (name), timestamp, and value.
- Series: A series is a collection of metrics that are all related to the same thing. For example, you might have a series for CPU usage, a series for memory usage, and a series for disk usage.
- Whisper: Whisper is a fixed-size, file-based time series database format used by Graphite. It automatically manages data retention and aggregation.
- Carbon: Carbon is the daemon responsible for receiving, caching, and storing metrics in Graphite. It listens for incoming metrics and writes them to Whisper files.
- Graphite-web: Graphite-web is the web application that provides a user interface for visualizing and querying the stored time series data.
OpenTSDB Key Concepts
- Data Point: A single measurement in time consisting of a timestamp, metric, value, and associated tags.
- Metric: A named value that represents a specific aspect of a system, such as CPU usage or temperature.
- Tags: Key-value pairs associated with data points that provide metadata and help categorize and query the data.
Graphite’s architecture consists of several components, including Carbon, Whisper, and Graphite-web. Carbon is responsible for receiving metrics from various sources, caching them in memory, and storing them in Whisper files. Whisper is a file-based time series database format that efficiently manages data retention and aggregation. Graphite-web is the web application that provides a user interface for querying and visualizing the stored time series data. Graphite can be deployed on a single server or distributed across multiple servers for improved performance and scalability.
OpenTSDB is built on top of Apache HBase, a distributed and scalable NoSQL database, and relies on its architecture for data storage and management. OpenTSDB stores time series data in HBase tables, with data points organized by metric, timestamp, and tags. The database uses a schema-less data model, which allows for flexibility when adding new metrics and tags. The OpenTSDB architecture also supports horizontal scaling by distributing data across multiple HBase nodes.
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Real-time monitoring and visualization
Graphite provides real-time monitoring and visualization capabilities, allowing users to track and analyze their time series data as it is collected.
Flexible querying and aggregation functions
Graphite supports a wide range of functions for querying, transforming, and aggregating time series data, enabling users to create custom graphs and dashboards tailored to their specific needs.
Data retention and aggregation
Graphite’s Whisper database format automatically manages data retention and aggregation, reducing storage requirements and improving query performance.
OpenTSDB’s distributed architecture allows for horizontal scaling, ensuring that the database can handle growing volumes of time series data.
OpenTSDB uses various compression techniques to reduce the storage footprint of time series data.
Query Language with time series support
OpenTSDB features a flexible query language that supports aggregation, downsampling, filtering, and other operations for analyzing time series data.
Graphite Use Cases
Application performance monitoring
Graphite is widely used for monitoring the performance of applications and services, helping developers and operations teams track key metrics, such as response times, error rates, and resource utilization. By visualizing these metrics in real-time, users can identify performance bottlenecks, detect issues, and optimize their applications for better performance and reliability.
Infrastructure and system monitoring
Graphite is also popular for monitoring the health and performance of servers, networks, and other infrastructure components. By collecting and analyzing metrics such as CPU usage, memory consumption, network latency, and disk I/O, IT administrators can ensure their infrastructure is running smoothly and proactively address potential issues before they impact system performance or availability.
Business analytics and metrics
In addition to technical monitoring, Graphite can be used for tracking and visualizing business-related metrics, such as user engagement, sales data, or marketing campaign performance. By visualizing and analyzing these metrics over time, business stakeholders can gain insights into trends, identify opportunities for growth, and make data-driven decisions to improve their operations.
OpenTSDB Use Cases
Monitoring and Alerting
OpenTSDB is well-suited for large-scale monitoring and alerting systems that generate vast amounts of time series data from various sources.
IoT Data Storage
OpenTSDB can store and analyze time series data generated by IoT devices, such as sensors and smart appliances, enabling real-time insights and analytics.
OpenTSDB’s flexible querying capabilities make it an ideal choice for analyzing system and application performance metrics over time.
Graphite Pricing Model
Graphite is an open-source project, and as such, it is freely available for users to download, install, and use without any licensing fees. However, users are responsible for setting up and maintaining their own Graphite infrastructure, which may involve costs related to server hardware, storage, and operational expenses. There are also several commercial products and services that build on top of or integrate with Graphite, offering additional features, support, or managed hosting options at varying price points.
OpenTSDB Pricing Model
OpenTSDB is open-source software, which means it is free to use without any licensing fees. However, the cost of running OpenTSDB depends on the infrastructure required to support the underlying HBase database, such as cloud services or on-premises hardware.
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