Network API

Network API provides a set of plain text commands for inserting numeric time series, key=value properties, and tagged messages into the database via TCP and UDP network protocols.

You can use netcat, telnet, bash pseudo-device files, or a programming language such as Java that implements the TCP/UDP stack.


The database accepts incoming commands on the following ports:

  • TCP 8081
  • UDP 8082
  • HTTP 8088 POST /api/v1/command
  • HTTPS 8443 POST /api/v1/command


Authentication and authorization are supported by the /api/v1/command endpoint.

Sending Commands

Single Command

To send a single command, connect to an ATSD server, send the command in plain text, and close the connection.

  • netcat: echo
echo -e "series e:station_1 m:temperature=32.2 m:humidity=81.4 d:2016-05-15T00:10:00Z" | nc -q 0 atsd_hostname 8081
  • netcat: printf
printf 'series e:station_2 m:temperature=32.2 m:humidity=81.4 s:1463271035' | nc -q 0 atsd_hostname 8081
echo -e "series e:station_3 m:temperature=32.2 m:humidity=81.4" > /dev/tcp/atsd_hostname/8081

/dev/tcp/host/port and /dev/udp/host/port are bash pseudo-device files which can be used in redirection.

  • telnet: one line
telnet atsd_hostname 8081 << EOF
series e:station_4 m:temperature=32.2 m:humidity=81.4
  • telnet: session
$ telnet atsd_hostname 8081
Trying atsd_hostname...
Connected to atsd_hostname.
Escape character is '^]'.
series e:station_5 m:temperature=32.2 m:humidity=81.4
Connection closed by foreign host.
  • java: socket
Socket s = new Socket("atsd_hostname", 8081);
PrintWriter writer = new PrintWriter(s.getOutputStream(), true);
writer.println("series e:station_6 m:temperature=32.2");

The above examples insert timestamped temperature and humidity metric samples for various station entities.

Multiple Commands

Separate commands by a line feed symbol \n (LF, 0x0A) when sending a batch containing multiple commands over the same connection.

A trailing line feed is not required for the last command in the batch.

Use the -e option in echo commands to enable interpretation of backslash escapes.

echo -e "series e:station_1 m:temperature=32.2 m:humidity=81.4 d:2016-05-15T00:10:00Z\nseries e:station_1 m:temperature=32.1 m:humidity=82.4 d:2016-05-15T00:25:00Z" | nc -q 0 atsd_hostname 8081
Socket s = new Socket("atsd_hostname", 8081);
PrintWriter writer = new PrintWriter(s.getOutputStream(), true);
writer.println("series e:station_6 m:temperature=30.1\nseries e:station_7 m:temperature=28.7");

Persistent Connection

A client application can establish a persistent connection to continuously write commands, one command per line, and close the connection.

Trailing line feed is not required for the last command when the connection is closed.

Commands are processed as they are received by the server, without buffering.

To prevent the connection from timing out, send a ping command at a regular interval.

Clients can submit different types of commands over the same connection.

$ telnet atsd_hostname 8081
Trying atsd_hostname...
Connected to atsd_hostname.
Escape character is '^]'.
series e:station_1 m:temperature=32.2
property e:station_2 t:location v:city=Cupertino v:state=CA v:country=USA
Connection closed by foreign host.

Note that the server ceases the connection if the server receives an unsupported or malformed command.

$ telnet atsd_hostname 8081
Trying atsd_hostname...
Connected to atsd_hostname.
Escape character is '^]'.
unknown_command e:station_1 m:temperature=32.2
Connection closed by foreign host.

If the connection is closed due to client error, all valid commands sent prior to the first invalid command are stored.

Because of the delay between closing the channel on client error and the connection shutdown, the database can store valid commands present in the network buffer, even if they are received after the discarded command.

valid command   - stored
...             - stored
valid command   - stored
invalid command - discarded -> initiate channel closing
valid command   - possibly stored if present in buffer

The above behavior can be modified by changing the input.disconnect.on.error setting to No on the Settings > Server Properties page.

This causes the database to maintain a client connection even if one of the received commands is malformed or unknown.

UDP Datagrams

The UDP protocol does not guarantee delivery but has a higher throughput compared to TCP.

In addition, sending commands with UDP datagrams decouples the client application from the server to minimize the risk of blocking I/O time-outs.

echo -e "series e:station_3 m:temperature=32.2 m:humidity=81.4" | nc -u -w 1 atsd_hostname 8082
printf 'series e:station_3 m:temperature=32.2 m:humidity=81.4' | nc -u -w 1 atsd_hostname 8082

Unlike TCP, the last command in a multi-command UDP datagram must end with the line feed character.

echo -e "series e:station_33 m:temperature=32.2\nseries e:station_34 m:temperature=32.1 m:humidity=82.4\n" | nc -u -w 1 atsd_hostname 8082

Duplicate Commands

Multiple commands with the same timestamp and key fields override each others value.

If such commands are submitted at the same time, there is no guarantee that they are processed in the order received.

  • Duplicate example: same key, same current time
echo -e "series e:station_1 m:temperature=32.2\nseries e:station_1 m:temperature=42.1" | nc atsd_hostname 8081
  • Duplicate example: same key, same time
echo -e "series e:station_1 m:temperature=32.2 d:2016-05-15T00:10:00Z\nseries e:station_1 m:temperature=42.1  d:2016-05-15T00:10:00Z" | nc atsd_hostname 8081

TCP Client Examples


Line Syntax

A command must begin with a name such as series followed by space-separated fields each identified with a prefix, followed by : colon, and name=value.

command-name field-prefix:[field-name=]field-value
  • The order of fields is not important.
  • Refer to the ABNF rules of a particular command for its exact rules.

Field name:

  • A field name can contain only printable characters.
  • If the field name contains a double-quote (") or an equal (=) sign, it must be enclosed in double quotes. For example: v:"os=name"=Ubuntu or v:"os""name"=Ubuntu
  • Any double quote character in the value must be escaped with another double quote.

Field value:

  • A field value can contain printable and non-printable characters including space, line breaks, tab.
  • If the field value contains a double-quote (") or equal (=) sign or a non-printable character, it must be enclosed in double quotes. For example: v:os="Ubuntu 14.04" or v:os="Ubuntu=""14"""
  • Any double quote character in the value must be escaped with another double quote.

Use CSV escaping methods in core libraries where available, for example StringEscapeUtils.escapeCsv in Java.

Case Sensitivity

  • Field names are case-insensitive and are converted to lower case when stored in the database.
  • Field values are case-sensitive and are stored as submitted, except for entity names, metric names, and property types, which are converted to lower case.
# input command
series e:nurSWG m:Temperature=38.5 t:Degrees=Celsius

# stored record
series e:nurswg m:temperature=38.5 t:degrees=Celsius

Command Limits

Length Limit

The command length cannot exceed 128 kilobytes.

The client must split a command that is too long into multiple commands.

Tag Count Limit

The number of tags included in the command cannot exceed the following limit:

Command Maximum Tags
series 1024 series tags
property 1024 keys and tags
message 1024 message tags


  • New entities, metrics, and tags are created automatically when inserting data.
  • The number of unique identifiers is subject to the following limits:
Type Maximum Identifier
metric 16777215
entity 16777215
tag_key 65535
tag_value 16777215
message_type 65535
message_source 65535

Date Field

The timestamp field records the time of an observation or an event as determined by the source and can be specified with ms, s, or d fields.

Field Type Description
ms long Unix time in milliseconds
s integer Unix time in seconds
d string ISO date.

Supported d field formats:

Format Description
yyyy-MM-ddTHH:mm:ss[.S]Z Z denotes UTC time zone.
yyyy-MM-ddTHH:mm:ss[.S]±hh[:]mm Time zone offset.

d field examples:

  • 2016-06-09T16:15:04.005Z
  • 2016-06-09T12:15:04-04:00

Date limits:

  • The minimum time that can be stored in the database is 1970-01-01T00:00:00.000Z, or 0 milliseconds from Unix time.
  • The maximum date that can be stored by the database is 2106-02-07T06:59:59.999Z, or 4294969199999 milliseconds from Unix time.
  • If the timestamp field is not specified, time is set to current server time.

Number Formatting

  • The decimal separator is a period (.).
  • No thousands separator is allowed.
  • No digit grouping is allowed.
  • Negative numbers use the negative sign (-) at the beginning of the number.
  • Not-a-Number is literal NaN.


Enable Debug Mode

By default, ATSD does not return acknowledgements to the client after processing data commands. Include the debug command at the start of the line to instruct the server to respond with ok or error message for each processed command.

  • debug with valid command
$ echo -e "debug series e:station_1 m:temperature=32.2" \
  | nc -w 1 atsd_hostname 8081
  • debug with unknown command
$ echo -e "debug my_command e:station_1 m:temperature=32.2" \
  | nc -w 1 atsd_hostname 8081
Invalid command: my_command e:station_1 m:temperature=32.2

Review Client Commands

To review a sequence of commands sent by the client, launch the netcat utility in server mode, reconfigure the client to send data to the netcat port.

nc -lk -p 2081 > command-in.log &
echo -e "series e:station_1 m:temperature=32.2 m:humidity=81.4 d:2016-05-15T00:10:00Z" \
  | nc -w 1 localhost 2081
cat command-in.log

Dropped Commands

Reasons for the ATSD server to drop commands:

  • Entity, metric, or tag names are not valid.
  • Timestamp is negative or earlier than 1970-01-01T00:00:00Z.
  • Timestamp field s:/ms: is not numeric.
  • Timestamp field d field format is not supported.
  • Metric value cannot not be parsed as a number using . as the decimal separator. Note that scientific notation is supported.
  • Multiple data points for the same entity, metric, and tags have the same timestamp in which case commands are duplicates and some of them are dropped. This situation can occur if multiple commands for the same series are sent without a timestamp.
  • Data is sent using the UDP protocol and the client UDP buffer or the server UDP buffer overflows.
  • Value is below Min Value or above Max Value limit specified for the metric and the Invalid Value Action is set to DISCARD.
  • Last command in a multi-line UDP packed does not end with line feed symbol.

To review dropped commands, open command*.log files in ATSD.