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202 Stars 25 Forks Apache License 2.0 20 Commits 2 Opened issues


Kenshin: A time-series database alternative to Graphite Whisper with 40x improvement in IOPS

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Kenshin (るろうに剣心)

Kenshin project consists of two major components:

  • Kenshin
    is a fixed-size time-series database format, similar in design to Whisper, it's an alternative to Whisper for Graphite storage component. Whisper performs lots of tiny I/O operations on lots of different files, Kenshin is aiming to improve the I/O performance. For more design details please refer to design docs (Chinese) and QCon 2016 Presentation slide.
  • Rurouni-cache
    is a storage agent that sits in front of kenshin to batch up writes to files to make them more sequential, rurouni-cache is to kenshin as carbon-cache is to whisper.

Kenshin is developing and maintaining by Douban Inc. Currently, it is working in production environment, powering all metrics (host, service, DAE app, user defined) in

What's the performance of Kenshin?

In our environment, after using Kenshin, the IOPS is decreased by 97.5%, and the query latency is not significantly slower than Whisper.

Quick Start

We recommend using virtualenv when installing dependencies:

$ git clone
$ cd Kenshin
$ virtualenv venv
$ source venv/bin/activate
$ pip install -r requirements.txt

Tests can be run using nosetests:

$ nosetests -v

Setup configuration

$ misc/

Setup Kenshin

$ python build_ext --inplace && python install

Start two rurouni-cache instances

$ python bin/ --debug --config=conf/rurouni.conf --instance=0 start
$ python bin/ --debug --config=conf/rurouni.conf --instance=1 start

Then go to Graphite-Kenshin for starting Web instances.


Why don't you just use whisper?

Whisper is great, and initially we did use it. Over time though, we ran into several issues:

  1. Whisper using a lot of IO. There are serval reasons:
    • Using one file per metric.
    • Realtime downsample feature (different data resolutions based on age) causes a lot of extra IO
  2. Carbon-cache & Carbon-relay is inefficient and even is cpu-bound. We didn't write our own carbon-relay, but replaced carbon-relay with carbon-c-relay.

Why did you totally rewrite whisper? Couldn't you just submit a patch?

The reason I didn't simply submit a patch for Whisper is that kenshin's design is incompatible with Whisper's design. Whisper using one file per metric. Kenshin on the other hand merge N metrics into one file.

How to intergrate Kenshin with Graphite-Web?

We use write a plugin for Graphite-API named Graphite-Kenshin




Kenshin is licensed under version 2.0 of the Apache License. See the LICENSE file for details.

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