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InfluxDB users detail time series database use cases

InfluxData sees a lot of potential for its InfluxDB open source database, as the need to instrument and collect data from both physical and virtual sources continues to grow.

In a world in which enterprises are focused on collecting data, InfluxData is aiming to make more inroads for its InfluxDB data platform.

InfluxData hosted its InfluxDays North America 2021 virtual conference this week, with users outlining how they use the vendor’s open source InfluxDB time series database.

InfluxData also used the event as an opportunity to introduce a series of incremental improvements to its InfluxDB database, designed to accelerate application development. Among the improvements is the ability for developers to more easily create scripts to manage alerts and tasks using the notebook features in InfluxDB Cloud.

In a user session, Martin Moucka, a senior network engineer at Red Hat, detailed how the Linux vendor uses InfluxDB to enable network monitoring for its own operations.

Moucka's team manages the network for Red Hat's data centers and development labs, as well as offices. The network monitoring function enables Red Hat to better understand the performance of its network and helps identify potential problems.

"We built something that we call 'network map,' which is a full visualization of a given campus where you can see all the devices, how they are connected together," Moucka said. "We are feeding that with the data from InfluxDB."

How InfluxDB time series database helps users

With InfluxDB, Red Hat is able to collect network telemetry data from devices and server interfaces. That data provides visibility into the overall status of the network.

Moucka said the fact that InfluxDB is open source was key in Red Hat’s decision to use the time series database. Red Hat is also an open source vendor, and the ability to see the code as well as contribute code is important to him, Moucka said.

Because Red Hat is collecting data from a large and growing network, being able to store all the data in an optimized way is critical, he added.

"InfluxDB definitely has efficient data storage, which is something that was crucial for us because in the past we had different monitoring systems, and they were inefficient with data storage, which caused a lot of issues," Moucka said.

Our alerting system now does not have a single point of failure, and with the help of InfluxDB we have redundancy in our observability architecture.
Tanny NgSenior product manager, WP Engine

Another organization using InfluxDB to aid with network and application monitoring is WordPress platform services vendor WP Engine.

During a user session at InfluxDays North America, Tanny Ng, senior product manager at WP Engine, said the vendor’s platform has been growing in recent years, and in 2020 that growth led to some observability challenges. She noted that the WP Engine monitoring platform was not able to scale, as the vendor was logging about 3 TB of data daily.

To meet that challenge, WP Engine decided to build out a new observability platform, using the InfluxDB time series database as a core component.

"Our alerting system now does not have a single point of failure, and with the help of InfluxDB we have redundancy in our observability architecture," Ng said.

Screenshot from virtual conference of an InfluxDB time series database user
InfluxDB user Tanny Ng, senior product manager at WP Engine, details how her company uses the time series database.

Why time series databases matter

In a keynote address at the conference, Paul Dix, co-founder and CTO at InfluxData, detailed where he sees the potential for time series databases.

As the world becomes increasingly digital, nearly every type of device is collecting some form of data.

"We think that everything that can be instrumented will be instrumented," Dix said. "What all that information instrumentation will lead to is that means everything that can be optimized, will be optimized."

In Dix's view, all data, whether it's from the physical or virtual world, is collected over a period of time. In order to better understand that data, organizations need to put some structure in places so the data can be queried -- which is what a time series database such as InfluxDB is designed to do.

"The truth is, we believe that all data is based in time," Dix said. "No matter what data it is you're collecting, there is a time component to it."

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