Four Minute Paper: Facebook’s time series database, Gorilla

Premise for the paper

Whats unique about Gorilla

Use cases for Gorilla

  • Observability for hundreds of different systems, focusing on reliable real-time monitoring of production systems.
  • Identify issues with new software releases.
  • Be highly available and continue to operate with network failures.
  • Be fault tolerant with multi-region architecture.

Attributes of Gorilla

  • Gorilla is a write thru cache.
  • It’s aggregate data is more important than individual data points.
  • Recent data points are of higher value (85% of queries read past 26 hrs of data).
  • ACID guarantees are not necessary, but a high percentage of writes must succeed.
  • Optimized for being available for reads and writes in the face of failures prioritized over availability of any older data.


  • High data insertion rate.
  • Total data quantity.
  • Real-time aggregation.
  • Reliability requirements.


  • In-memory cache (past 26 hrs) of the on-disk persistent store.
  • Compressed data to reduce size of cache 12x.
  • Multi-instance Gorilla architecture (reads go to closest instance) for fault tolerance.


  • Compression algorithm
  • In-memory data structure
  • Persistent on-disk data structure
  • Fault tolerance





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