What Makes a Modern Time Series Platform?
At InfluxData, we deliver a complete Open Source Platform built from the ground up for metrics, events, and other time-based data—a modern Time Series Platform. But what makes a platform modern, what do developers need, and what are the requirements for that modern platform?
Why Time Series?
The way we see it, sensor, server, network, application, and human event driven data are all time series in nature. In fact, we believe that IoT is synonymous with time series since the purpose of any sensor is to measure change over time—sensor data is relatively meaningless without time, so time is a fundamental element.
Server, application, and human event driven data is all time series in nature. To gain insight and act, users will have to evaluate and ask questions about such data which are based on time frames and ranges. Time is no longer something added to data; it is constitutive of the data. There’s no time to write time series routines as they arise because time is already here.
Why the need for a Modern Time Series Platform?
Time series problems are not new. We have been storing timestamps in databases since the advent of the computer, but things have changed dramatically. The first-generation Time Series Platforms were primarily focused on looking at financial data, the volatility of stock trading, and systems built to solve trading. But the fundamental conditions of computing have changed dramatically over the last decade. Everything has become compartmentalized. Monolithic mainframes have vanished, replaced by serverless servers, microservers, and containers. Today, everything that can be a component is a component.
We are witnessing the instrumentation of every available surface in the material world—streets, cars, factories, power grids, ice caps, satellites, clothing, phones, microwaves, milk containers, planets, human bodies. Everything has, or will have, a sensor. So now everything inside and outside the company is emitting a relentless stream of metrics and events or time series data.
This means that the underlying platforms need to evolve to support these new workloads—more data points, more data sources, more monitoring, more controls. What we’re witnessing, and what the times demand, is a paradigmatic shift in how we approach our data infrastructure and how we approach building, monitoring, controlling, and managing systems.
InfluxData’s Time Series Platform was designed from the ground up to support these 3 tenets. It provides a highly scalable data ingestion and storage engine which is super efficient at collecting, storing, querying, visualizing, and taking action on the streams of data in real time. It provides downsampling and data retention policies to support keeping high-value, high-precision data in memory and lower-value data to disk. It is built in a cloud-native fashion providing scalability across multiple deployment topologies including cloud, on-premises, and hybrid environments.
The modern is developer-centric. Platforms have to be built with developers’ happiness as the key cornerstone, which means:
At InfluxData, the real reason we created a modern platform is to drive our users’ and developers’ time to value down as much as possible. Our goal is to enable developers to focus on the business applications that they’re building rather than the infrastructure required to build the solution. It’s the inspiration for why we built InfluxDB rather than just building on top of Cassandra. We believe that a complete platform that is easy to set up and use and that requires as little code as necessary to get results will ultimately make developers happy and more productive. Why not give InfluxData a try?
We may not always be successful, but that is a component of the modern: it is never finally finished. After all, if time is constitutive of the modern environment, so is change. There will inevitably be new issues that systems have to face. What will the real demands of AI be? What about the store of so much time series data? How will new compression technology affect us? What will retention policies be? How will they change?
This is just the beginning. The modern is as much an invitation as a demand. It’s a journey and a challenge. We hope you’ll join us.