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Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis > tools : utilities : libtimeseries
libtimeseries is a C library that provides a high-performance abstraction layer for efficiently writing to time series databases. It is optimized for writing values for many time series simultaneously.


The latest version of libtimeseries is 0.2.0.

Download libtimeseries


libtimeseries has two main components: the Key Package, and Time Series Backend(s).

Key Packages

The Key Package can be thought of as a table of key/value pairs, where the keys are strings, and the values are 64 bit unsigned integers (support for other value types is planned for a future release). Using the Key Package allows libtimeseries to optimize writes by pre-fetching and caching internal key IDs. A Key package is reused by updating the values for keys and then "flushing" to a backend. The flush operation associates a timestamp with the key/values, creating a "point" for each time series represented by the keys of the Key Package.


Time series backends are pluggable components that implement the libtimeseries backend API and provide write support for a specific time series database implementation.

Currently supported backends are:

  • Graphite ASCII format (ascii)
  • DBATS: DataBase of Aggregated Time Series (dbats)
  • TSMQ: Time Series Message Queue

ASCII Backend

The ASCII backend simply writes the time series data to stdout in the Graphite ASCII format (

<key1> <value1> <epoch-seconds>
<key2> <value2> <epoch-seconds>

e.g.: 320 1472669180 100 1472669180

DBATS Backend

The DBATS backend uses libdbats ( to write time series data to a DBATS database. Note that to use this backend, the DBATS database must be on a locally-accessible file-system, and as such this backend is normally used in conjunction with TSMQ (see below).

TSMQ Backend

The TSMQ backend uses libtsmq (included in this release) to transmit time series data to a (remote) server (tsmq-server) via a broker service (tsmq-broker). TSMQ uses CZMQ to provide distributed messaging, normally via TCP.


The TSMQ broker (tools/tsmq-broker) is a service that uses CZMQ to listen for clients on one port, a server on another, and then simply proxies messages between the clients and the server. If multiple clients are connected, it will read from each in a round-robin fashion. Note: currently only **one** server is supported. Connecting additional servers will trigger an exception.


The TSMQ server (tools/tsmq-server) uses CZMQ to connect to a broker service, and then using libtimeseries writes timeseries data to configured backend(s). A common usage configuration for TSMQ is as follows:

--------------------------------------------------[Analysis Machine]
             libtimeseries (tsmq backend)
--------------------------------------------------[Broker Machine]
--------------------------------------------------[DB Machine]
   tsmq-server + libtimeseries (dbats backend)
                      DBATS DB


Because the version of TSMQ included is an early alpha release, there must be a one-to-one relationship between tsmq-server and tsmq-broker. Also, the tsmq-server process *must* be started before the tsmq-broker process.



To build and install libtimeseries:

./configure [options]
make install
Most of the GNU standard configure options and make targets are also available.

API Documentation

See lib/timeseries_pub.h, lib/timeseries_backend_pub.h and lib/timeseries_kp_pub.h for API documentation.

Also, tools/timeseries-insert.c provides a simple example of how to use the API to write timeseries data.


Run any program with the -? option for a list of options.

  • timeseries-insert Simple command-line tool to write time series data (input should be in the Graphite format described above).
  • tsmq-broker, tsmq-server See the description of TSMQ above.


libtimeseries is released under the GPL v3 license.

  Last Modified: Wed Aug-31-2016 13:07:52 PDT
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