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Hatem Houssein
Hatem Houssein

Posted on

Time Series database drawbacks

Use case

Lately, I needed to create an analysis page on the app to count how many shoes a shop has. The database set up is MongoDB so I looked for a good database design suitable for analysis.

My analysis is

  1. Yearly, monthly, daily count of shoes
  2. A shoe has the maker name and color

After searching, I found Time Series can be done on MongoDB from this article. Still, needed a bit more solid production-level tutorial, and luckily I found it here on Dev Community by the awesome Riccardo Cardin!


Assuming these datasets we have for the shoes counters, I started implementing it and it was ready.


Makers: ['Nike', 'Adidas', 'Onitsuka Tiger']
Colors: ['White', 'Black', 'Red']
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The way I set up the Analysis DB is to have the collection Shoes containing a document/year. When the document first created, all counters are set to 0 then incremented daily.

DB Shoes Collection document 

  created_at: ISODate("2019-01-01T00:00:10.000Z"),
  year: 2019,
  nike: 15000,
  adidas: 10000,
  tiger: 8000,
  black: 25000,
  white: 1000,
  red: 8000,
  // months is an array of 12 elements
  months: [
      created_at: ISODate("2019-01-01T00:00:10.000Z"),
      nike: 200,
      adidas: 1000,
      tiger: 80,
      black: 200,
      white: 1000,
      red: 80,
      // days is an array of days/month
      days: [
          created_at: ISODate("2019-01-01T00:00:10.000Z"),
          nike: 20,
          adidas: 100,
          tiger: 8,
          black: 120,
          white: 8,
          red: 0,
         // rest of days
    // rest of months
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  • This structure is powerful because the document size doesn't change after creation so IO processes are not as expensive, this document size would be around 35 Kbs
  • Fetching the document and getting what you need (e.g. Nike shoes number on 2/8/2019) can be tricky at first sight, but thanks to Functional programming, create 1 function and reuse it
  • The structure is neat and very well-organized.


Let's say we want to use some filtering on the Graph to find Black Adidas shoes count on 15/4/2019. The above DB structure fails to give us any information about overlapping joined counters, they're just atomic mere counters.

The only way around it I could think of is creating new counters with every possible joint. This is absolutely a terrible idea, hence, decided to put down the Time Series DB for now and find another design for this use case.

Discussion (1)

encryptblockr profile image
encryptblockr • Edited on

there is now native support for time series starting from mongodb 5.0; did you test that yet?

Starting in MongoDB 5.0 there is a new collection type, 
time-series collections, which are specifically designed 
for storing and working with time-series data without 
the hassle or need to worry about low-level model optimization.
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