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 M3 and Rockset so you can quickly see how they compare against each other.
The primary purpose of this article is to compare how M3 and Rockset 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.
M3 vs Rockset Breakdown
Time series database
Real time database
The M3 stack can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud, using containerization technologies like Kubernetes or as a managed service on platforms like AWS or GCP
Rockset is a real-time analytics database built for modern cloud applications, designed to enable developers to create real-time, event-driven applications and run complex queries on structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data with low-latency. Rockset uses a cloud-native, distributed architecture that separates storage and compute, allowing for horizontal scalability and efficient resource utilization. Data is automatically indexed and served by a distributed, auto-scaled set of query processing nodes.
Monitoring, observability, IoT, Real-time analytics, large-scale metrics processing
Real-time analytics, event-driven applications, search and aggregations, personalized user experiences, IoT data analysis
Horizontally scalable, designed for high availability and large-scale deployments
Horizontally scalable with distributed storage and compute
M3 is a distributed time series database written entirely in Go. It is designed to collect a high volume of monitoring time series data, distribute storage in a horizontally scalable manner, and efficiently leverage hardware resources. M3 was initially developed by Uber as a scalable remote storage backend for Prometheus and Graphite and later open-sourced for broader use.
Rockset is a real-time indexing database designed for fast, efficient querying of structured and semi-structured data. Founded in 2016 by former Facebook engineers, Rockset aims to provide a serverless search and analytics solution that enables users to build powerful applications and data-driven products without the complexities of traditional database management.
M3 for Time Series Data
M3 is specifically designed for time-series data. It is a distributed and scalable time-series database optimized for handling large volumes of high-resolution data points, making it an ideal solution for storing, querying, and analyzing time-series data.
M3’s architecture focuses on providing fast and efficient querying capabilities, as well as high ingestion rates, which are essential for working with time-series data. Its horizontal scalability and high availability ensure that it can handle the demands of large-scale deployments and maintain performance as data volumes grow.
Rockset for Time Series Data
Rockset’s real-time indexing and low-latency querying capabilities make it an excellent choice for time series data analysis. Its schemaless ingestion and support for complex data types enable effortless handling of time series data, while its Converged Index ensures efficient querying of both historical and real-time data. Rockset is particularly suitable for applications that demand real-time analytics, such as IoT monitoring and anomaly detection.
M3 Key Concepts
- Time Series Compression: M3 has the ability to compress time series data, resulting in significant memory and disk savings. It uses two compression algorithms, M3TSZ and protobuf encoding, to achieve efficient data compression.
- Sharding: M3 uses virtual shards that are assigned to physical nodes. Timeseries keys are hashed to a fixed set of virtual shards, making horizontal scaling and node management seamless.
- Consistency Levels: M3 provides variable consistency levels for read and write operations, as well as cluster connection operations. Write consistency levels include One (success of a single node), Majority (success of the majority of nodes), and All (success of all nodes). Read consistency level is One, which corresponds to reading from a single nod
Rockset Key Concepts
- Converged Index: Rockset uses a unique indexing approach that combines both an inverted index and a columnar index, allowing the database to optimize for both search and analytics use cases.
- Schemaless Ingestion: Rockset automatically infers schema on ingestion, making it easy to work with semi-structured data formats like JSON.
- Virtual Instances: Rockset uses the concept of virtual instances to provide isolation and resource allocation to different workloads, ensuring predictable performance.
M3 is designed to be horizontally scalable and handle high data throughput. It uses fileset files as the primary unit of long-term storage, storing compressed streams of time series values. These files are flushed to disk after a block time window becomes unreachable. M3 has a commit log, equivalent to the commit log or write-ahead-log in other databases, which ensures data integrity. Client Peer streaming is responsible for fetching blocks from peers for bootstrapping purposes. M3 also implements caching policies to optimize efficient reads by determining which flushed blocks are kept in memory.
Rockset uses a cloud-native, serverless architecture that is built on top of a distributed, shared-nothing system. It is a NoSQL database, which allows for greater flexibility and scalability compared to traditional relational databases. The core components of Rockset’s architecture include the Ingestion Service, Storage Service, and Query Service. The Ingestion Service is responsible for ingesting data from various sources, while the Storage Service maintains the Converged Index. The Query Service processes queries and provides APIs for developers to interact with the database.
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M3 uses a commit log to ensure data integrity, providing durability for write operations.
M3’s client peer streaming fetches data blocks from peers for bootstrapping purposes, optimizing data retrieval and distribution.
M3 implements various caching policies to efficiently manage memory usage, keeping frequently accessed data blocks in memory for faster reads.
Rockset automatically scales resources based on the workload, which means users don’t need to manage any infrastructure or capacity planning. ### Full-Text Search Rockset’s Converged Index supports full-text search, making it an ideal choice for applications that require advanced search capabilities. ### Integration with BI tools Rockset provides native integrations with popular business intelligence (BI) tools like Tableau, Looker, and Redash, allowing users to visualize and analyze their data without any additional setup.
M3 Use Cases
Monitoring and Observability
M3 is particularly suitable for large-scale monitoring and observability tasks, as it can store and manage massive volumes of time-series data generated by infrastructure, applications, and microservices. Organizations can use M3 to analyze, visualize, and detect anomalies in the metrics collected from various sources, enabling them to identify potential issues and optimize their systems.
IoT and Sensor Data
M3 can be used to store and process the vast amounts of time-series data generated by IoT devices and sensors. By handling data from millions of devices and sensors, M3 can provide organizations with valuable insights into the performance, usage patterns, and potential issues of their connected devices. This information can be used for optimization, predictive maintenance, and improving the overall efficiency of IoT systems.
Financial Data Analysis
Financial organizations can use M3 to store and analyze time-series data related to stocks, bonds, commodities, and other financial instruments. By providing fast and efficient querying capabilities, M3 can help analysts and traders make more informed decisions based on historical trends, current market conditions, and potential future developments.
Rockset Use Cases
Rockset’s low-latency querying and real-time ingestion capabilities make it ideal for building real-time analytics dashboards for applications like IoT monitoring, social media analysis, and log analytics.
With its Converged Index and support for advanced search features, Rockset is an excellent choice for building full-text search applications, such as product catalogs or document search systems.
Rockset’s ability to ingest and query large-scale, semi-structured data in real-time makes it a suitable choice for machine learning applications.
M3 Pricing Model
M3 is an open source database and can be used freely, although you will have to account for the cost of managing your infrastructure and the hardware used to run M3. Chronosphere is the co-maintainer of M3 along with Uber and also offers a hosted observability that uses M3 as the backend storage layer.
Rockset Pricing Model
Rockset offers a usage-based pricing model that charges customers for the amount of data ingested, the number of virtual instances, and the volume of queries executed. The pricing model is designed to be transparent and flexible, allowing users to only pay for the resources they consume. Rockset also provides a free tier with limited resources for developers to explore the platform. Users can choose between on-demand and reserved instances, depending on their needs.
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