Ingesting data

TimescaleDB supports standard SQL inserts. For more information about how to use SQL to write data into TimescaleDB, see the Writing Data section.

You can choose to leverage existing third party tools to build data ingest pipelines that increase ingest rates by performing batch writes, instead inserting data one row or metric at a time. Any tool that can read or write to PostgreSQL also works with TimescaleDB.

This section covers some popular frameworks and systems used in conjunction with TimescaleDB.


Prometheus is a popular tool used to monitor infrastructure metrics. It can scrape any endpoints that expose metrics in a Prometheus-compatible format. The metrics are stored in Prometheus and can be queried using PromQL. Prometheus itself is not built for long-term metrics storage, and instead, supports a variety of remote storage solutions.

We developed a Promscale that allows Prometheus to use TimescaleDB as a remote store for long-term metrics. Promscale supports both PromQL and SQL, PromQL queries can be directed to the Promscale endpoint or Prometheus instance and the SQL API can be accessed by connecting to Timescale directly. It also offers other native time-series capabilities, such as automatically compressing your data, retention policies, continuous aggregate views, downsampling, data gap-filling, and interpolation. It is already natively supported by Grafana via the Prometheus and PostgreSQL/TimescaleDB data sources.

Read more about Promscale and how we designed it to perform well in our design doc or check out our github project.

PostgreSQL and TimescaleDB output plugin for Telegraf

Telegraf is an agent that collects, processes, aggregates, and writes metrics. Since it is plugin-driven for both the collection and the output of data, it is easily extendable. In fact, it already contains over 200 plugins for gathering and writing different types of data.

We wrote the PostgreSQL output plugin which also has the ability to send data to a TimescaleDB hypertable. Telegraf handles batching, processing, and aggregating the data collected prior to inserting that data into TimescaleDB.


The pull request is open and currently under review by the Telegraf developers, waiting to be merged. To give users the opportunity to try this functionality, we built downloadable binaries of Telegraf with our plugin already included.

The PostgreSQL plugin extends the ease of use users get from leveraging Telegraf by handling schema generation and modification. This means that as metrics are collected by Telegraf, the plugin creates a table if it doesn't exist and alters the table if a schema has changed. By default, the plugin leverages a wide model, which is typically the schema model that TimescaleDB users tend to choose when storing metrics. However, you can specify that you want to store metrics in a narrow model with a separate metadata table and foreign keys. You can also choose to use JSONB.

To get started with the PostgreSQL and TimescaleDB output plugin, visit the tutorial.

PostgreSQL's Kafka connector

Another popular method of ingesting data into TimescaleDB is through the use of the PostgreSQL connector with Kafka Connect. The connector is designed to work with Kafka Connect and to be deployed to a Kafka Connect runtime service. It's purpose is to ingest change events from PostgreSQL databases (i.e. TimescaleDB).

The deployed connector monitors one or more schemas within a TimescaleDB server and write all change events to Kafka topics, which can be independently consumed by one or more clients. Kafka Connect can be distributed to provide fault tolerance to ensure the connectors are running and continually keeping up with changes in the database.


The PostgreSQL connector can also be used as a library without Kafka or Kafka Connect, enabling applications and services to directly connect to TimescaleDB and obtain the ordered change events. This approach requires the application to record the progress of the connector so that upon restart, the connect can continue where it left off. This approach may be useful for less critical use cases. However, for production use cases, it's recommended that you use this connector with Kafka and Kafka Connect.

To start using the PostgreSQL connector, visit the GitHub page. If you are interested in an alternative method to ingest data from Kafka to TimescaleDB, you can download the StreamSets Data Collector and get started with this tutorial.

TimescaleDB parallel copy

For bulk inserting historical data, you can use the TimescaleDb parallel copy tool, called timescaledb-parallel-copy. Install the tool from our repository with this command:

go get

For more information about the parallel copy tool, see the developer documentation.

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