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kdb Insights Database Storage


Data storage within the kdb Insights Database is handled by the Storage Manager (SM) for on-disk data persistence in conjunction with the Data Access Processes which provide data presentation of on-disk data as well as in-memory presentation of data not yet persisted to disk. The Storage Manager is responsible for writing data down in a resilient way maintaining database consistency while moving data from fast to slower and cheaper storage media, such as from SSDs to spinning disks to object storage.

In-memory data is persisted in a write-ahead log for recovery

Current features

  • Data-agnostic in design and implementation
  • Commits ingested data to disk in an organized, fault-tolerant manner that is resilient against failure at any point during write-down operations and efficient for querying
  • Supports various types of storage (memory, NVMe, SSD, etc.)
  • Provides parallelism of maintenance operations where possible, to reduce elapsed time
  • Supports late data (data arriving on a day different from that with which it is associated)
  • Supports standard kdb+ table types (basic, splayed, partitioned)
  • Supports tiered storage with configurable migration and compression policies
  • Supports starting off from a pre-existing standard kdb+ partitioned database (which gets converted into SM format)
  • Supports migrating historical data to object storage
  • Supports offline schema changes by reacting to configuration changes at initialization
  • Supports large batch data ingest by merging an external kdb+ HDB on-demand
  • Supports point-in-time snapshot of on-disk databases


The Storage Manager is comprised of four processes:

  • SM is responsible for the coordination of the write-down operations, as well as exposing the front end interface for other microservices to communicate with SM.
  • EOI is responsible for performing the end-of-interval operation that persists a portion of an in-memory data store to disk, stored in IDB partitions.
  • EOD is responsible for performing the end-of-day operation that persists the entirety of the on-disk IDB data to disk, stored in HDB partitions.
  • DBM is responsible for performing the migration of data between HDB storage tiers, which are unique portions of the on-disk database spread across various storage volumes. Such volumes are commonly of various storage types, ranging from high-performance storage (for most-recent, business-critical data) to slower, cheaper storage for data less frequently accessed, possibly in a compressed format.

Distributed storage

Time-series data is stored horizontally by time across storage media, and vertically through labeled assembly shards.

Each horizontal tier of the data allows separate [attributes] to be applied for accelerating queries against that tier.

Storage lifecycle

Stream partitioning (IDB, EOI)

The Storage Manager splits the incoming data stream into stream partitions by injecting signals directly into the data stream. These signals demarcate the start and end of intra-day partitions to be written to the IDB (known as intervals).

All data received within an interval is buffered in-memory, spilling to disk if necessary to keep RAM limits under control (controlled by the blockSize table configuration) and is written down to a new interval partition within the IDB upon receipt of the end-of-interval signal. These frequent write-downs to the IDB relieve memory pressure from SM (and Data Access Process) by quickly getting data to disk.

Query performance impact

Currently, the in-memory Data Access Process (RDB) only holds data that is not written to disk. Thus, a longer interval write-down frequency will allow more data in-memory for queries, while a shorter writedown frequency allows less data in-memory causing more queries to need to read from disk.

Date partitioning (HDB, EOD)

When the day rolls over to a new UTC date (as determined by SM when generating the EOX signal), a configurable amount of time is spent waiting to allow pending publishes from the last day to arrive, after which point the stream signal produced by SM is an end-of-day signal. Upon receipt of this signal from the stream, SM begins collecting all data from the IDB and populating a new HDB partition for the last days data. At this point, the IDB is cleared for the next days data.

While the HDB is being populated with the previous day's IDB data, the IDB is concurrently being updated with new int partitions for the current day so that the IDB does not fall behind the ingestion stream.

Storage tiering

After each EOD completes populating a new partition in the HDB for the previous day's data, checks are performed on the HDB for partitions that should be migrated to slower storage or object storage based on the age of the partition and the tiering configuration.

If used, an object storage must be used as the last HDB storage tier.

Object storage tier is immutable

Note that all date partitions written to object storage are treated as immutable, and the late table data targeting any partition already migrated to object storage will be discarded (with a warning message in DBM logs).

Late data

Resilience and self-healing

Consistent database view

To achieve the instant reloading of HDB and IDB and full recoverability from any write-down failure, SM creates a loadable kdb+ database where the table directories are symbolic links to the versioned physical table data. If an existing kdb+ database is detected in SM’s configured first HDB-tier directory on the first run, it will be enhanced with all the symbolic links SM needs for managing writedown.

Data consistency during writedown


Signal generation

The SM process emits EOX signals into the message bus and tracks its sequence ID:

{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:45.208z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[sm] Signalling EOIa, seqid=2607, ts=2022.12.06 04:13:45","service":"smc"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:45.237z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[sm] Pushing eoi signal with payload=(`_prtnEnd;...)","service":"smc"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:45.255z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[sm] Incremented EOI seq id to 2608 from 2607 (after signal)","service":"smc"}

If the message bus is operational and ingestion is keeping up, the EOI process will immediately get the EOX signal from the stream and begin a writedown.

{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:45.270z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[eoi] Received EOIa trigger event with payload=[...]","service":"eoi"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:45.270z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[eoi] Set tracked seq id to 2607","service":"eoi"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:45.270z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[eoi] EOI initiated for 2022.12.06 2022.12.06D04:03:45.000000000 600 2607 [...]","service":"eoi"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:45.270z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[eoi] Proceeding with EOI writedown","service":"eoi"}

Each writedown will process a set of partitioned tables, with each table indicating when it is processed:

{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:45.356z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[eoi] Starting EOI writedown","service":"eoi"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:45.405z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[eoi] Processing 1 partitioned table","service":"eoi"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:45.405z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[eoi] Starting write of partitioned table (trace)","service":"eoi"}

The initial locations for the data are primed by writing a 0-row table. These 0-row writes are expected even if data has been received.

{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:45.407z","component":"SM","level":"DEBUG","message":"[eoi] Writing 0 rows to: (`:/data/db/idb/data/2022.12.06/15/;12;0;0)","service":"eoi"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:45.427z","component":"SM","level":"DEBUG","message":"[eoi] Writing 0 rows to: (`:/data/db/idb/data/2022.12.06/15/trace/;12;0;0)","service":"eoi"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:45.443z","component":"SM","level":"DEBUG","message":"[eoi] Writing 0 rows to: (`:/data/db/idb/data/2022.12.06/15/;12;0;0)","service":"eoi"}

Following the 0-row writes, a chunked append of the ingested data to the target partitions is performed.

{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:45.461z","component":"SM","level":"DEBUG","message":"[eoi] Appending :/data/db/idb/data/2022.12.06/14/ to :/data/db/idb/data/2022.12.06/15/trace/, ind=0, len=0, chunks=0","service":"eoi"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:45.461z","component":"SM","level":"DEBUG","message":"[eoi] Appending :/data/db/idb/data/2022.12.06/14/ to :/data/db/idb/data/2022.12.06/15/, ind=0, len=0, chunks=0","service":"eoi"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:45.462z","component":"SM","level":"DEBUG","message":"[eoi] Appending :/data/db/idb/data/2022.12.06/14/ to :/data/db/idb/data/2022.12.06/15/trace/, ind=0, len=30000, chunks=1","service":"eoi"}

When all chunks are appended, the data is sorted (if applicable) and attributes are applied. Note, these operations can be RAM intensive.

{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:45.477z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[eoi] Sorting :/data/db/idb/data/2022.12.06/15/trace, cols=,`sensorID rows=30000, size=1140175 chunks=1 crows=30000","service":"eoi"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:45.517z","component":"SM","level":"DEBUG","message":"[eoi] setAttrs      : applying p# to sensorID in :/data/db/idb/data/2022.12.06/15/trace/","service":"eoi"}

Finally, each table will record the ingested size of the table within that interval.

{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:45.522z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[eoi] Finished write of partitioned table (trace)","service":"eoi"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:45.546z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[eoi] Table size of trace: 1143583","service":"eoi"}

When all tables have been written down, the writedown is complete and data is flushed to storage.

{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:45.909z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[eoi] Finished EOI writedown, duration=0D00:00:00.553250257","service":"eoi"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:45.909z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[eoi] Flushing filesystem with :/data/db/idb/eoxaStatus","service":"eoi"}

Finally, the EOI process dispatches to the SM process to commit the new database view, notify client query processes, and cleanup any data no longer required (old views or temporary files used during the write-down).

{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:48.913z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[eoi] EOI metadata: [kxi_sm_eoi_duration_seconds=3.64;kxi_sm_eoi_records=30000]","service":"eoi"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:48.913z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[eoi] Calling to SM to complete EOI...","service":"eoi"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:48.913z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[eoi] Requesting completion of EOI 2607 from main SM process","service":"eoi"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:48.914z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[sm] EOI 2607 complete in EOI process. Finalizing EOI.","service":"smc"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:48.914z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[sm] Committing EOI...","service":"smc"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:48.914z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[sm] Flushing filesystem with :/data/db/idb/eoxaStatus","service":"smc"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:48.914z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[sm] Flushing filesystem with :/data/db/hdb/current/hdbStatus","service":"smc"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:48.915z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[sm] EOI commit","service":"smc"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:53.904z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[sm] EOI committed","service":"smc"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:53.909z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[sm] Notifying client processes of EOI completion for soiTS=2022.12.06D04:03:45.000000000, intv=600, threshold=2022.12.06 04:13:45","service":"smc"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:53.915z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[sm] Finished sending reload signals, expecting acknowledgment from 1 client","service":"smc"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:54.237z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[sm] Starting post-reload-notification processing","service":"smc"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:54.237z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[sm] EOD dispatch requested, but nothing in EOD queue. Ignoring.","service":"smc"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:54.237z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[sm] EOI 2607 finalized. Next EOI scheduled in 0D00:09:50.970402987 at 2022.12.06D04:23:45.208327841.","service":"smc"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:54.238z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[eoi] SM EOI completion successful. Setting new partition and cleaning up.","service":"eoi"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:54.490z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[eoi] Removing old IDB link directory :/data/db/idb/idb.1","service":"eoi"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:54.638z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[eoi] Reporting metric to licensing server. Key: insights.ingest.bytes bytes: 1143583.","service":"eoi"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:54.639z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[eoi] Reporting metric to licensing server. Key: bytes: 103501.","service":"eoi"}
{"time":"2022-12-06T04:13:54.639z","component":"SM","level":"INFO","message":"[eoi] EOI 2607 complete. started: 2022.12.06D04:13:45.272947242 finished: 2022.12.06D04:13:54.639189234 elapsed: 0D00:00:09.366241992 latency: 0D00:10:09.639189234","service":"eoi"}