Configuring commit lag of out-of-order (O3) data

Server configuration may be applied when ingesting data over InfluxDB Line Protocol (ILP) to allow user control on how the system processes and commits late-arriving data for optimum throughput.


As of software version 6.0, QuestDB adds support for out-of-order (O3) data ingestion. The skew and latency of out-of-order data are likely to be relatively constant, so users may configure ingestion based on the characteristics of the data.

Most real-time out-of-order data patterns are caused by the delivery mechanism and hardware jitter, and therefore the timestamp distribution will be contained by some boundary.

A diagram showing how data may arrive with random timings from clients due to network jitter or latency
Records with various network-induced delays

If any new timestamp value has a high probability to arrive within 10 seconds of the previously received value, the boundary for this data is 10 seconds and we name this lag.

When the order of timestamp values follow this pattern, it will be recognized by our out-of-order algorithm and prioritized using an optimized processing path. A commit of this data re-orders uncommitted rows and then commits all rows up to the boundary; the remaining rows stay in memory to be committed later.

Out-of-order (O3) commit parameters#

Commit parameters allow for specifying that commits of out-of-order data should occur when:

  • they are outside a window of time for which they are expected to be out-of-order or
  • when the row-count passes a certain threshold.

Commit parameters are user-configurable for ingestion using InfluxDB line protocol only. This is the case as commits over Postgres wire protocol are invoked client-side and commits via REST API occur either row-by-row or after a CSV import is complete.

The following server configuration parameters are user-configurable:

# the maximum number of uncommitted rows
# the maximum time between jobs that commit uncommitted rows
# the maximum time between ILP jobs that commit uncommitted rows

These parameters are enforced so that commits occur if any one of these conditions are met, therefore out-of-order commits occur based on the age of out-of-order records or by record count.

An out-of-order commit will occur:

  • every cairo.max.uncommitted.rows or
  • if records haven't been committed for line.tcp.maintenance.job.interval

If a commit occurs due to cairo.max.uncommitted.rows being reached, then cairo.commit.lag will be applied.

When to change out-of-order commit configuration#

The defaults for the out-of-order algorithm are optimized for real-world usage and should cover most patterns for timestamp arrival. The default configuration is as follows:


Users should modify out-of-order parameters if there is a known or expected pattern for:

  1. The length of time by which most records are late
  2. The frequency of incoming records and the expected throughput

For optimal ingestion performance, the number of commits of out-of-order data should be minimized. For this reason, if throughput is low and timestamps are expected to be consistently delayed up to thirty seconds, the following configuration settings can be applied


For high-throughput scenarios, lower commit timer and larger number of uncommitted rows may be more appropriate. The following settings would assume a throughput of ten thousand records per second with a likely maximum of 1 second lateness for timestamp values:


How to configure out-of-order ingestion#

Server-wide configuration#

These settings may be applied via server configuration file:


As with other server configuration parameters, these settings may be passed as environment variables:


To set this configuration for the current shell:

Setting environment variables
questdb start

Passing the environment variables via Docker is done using the -e flag:

docker run -p 9000:9000 \
-p 9009:9009 \
-p 8812:8812 \
-p 9003:9003 \

Per-table commit lag and maximum uncommitted rows#

It's possible to set out-of-order values per table when creating a new table as part of the PARTITION BY clause. Configuration is passed using the WITH keyword with the following two parameters:

  • maxUncommittedRows - equivalent to cairo.max.uncommitted.rows
  • commitLag - equivalent to cairo.commit.lag
Setting out-of-order table parameters via SQL
CREATE TABLE my_table (timestamp TIMESTAMP) timestamp(timestamp)
PARTITION BY DAY WITH maxUncommittedRows=250000, commitLag=240s

Checking the values per-table may be done using the tables() function:

List all tables
select id, name, maxUncommittedRows, commitLag from tables();

The values can changed per each table with:

Altering maximum number of out-of-order rows via SQL
ALTER TABLE my_table SET PARAM maxUncommittedRows = 10000


Altering out-of-order commit lag via SQL
ALTER TABLE my_table SET PARAM commitLag = 20s

For more information on setting table parameters via SQL, see the SET PARAM reference. Additional details on checking table metadata is described in the meta functions documentation page.

INSERT commit lag and batch size#

The INSERT keyword may be passed parameters for handling the expected lag of out-of-order records and a batch size for the number of rows to process and insert at once. The following query shows an INSERT AS SELECT operation with lag and batch size applied:

INSERT batch 100000 commitLag 180s INTO trades
SELECT ts, instrument, quantity, price
FROM unordered_trades

For more information on using INSERT statements with parameters, see the INSERT parameters documentation.


Using the lag and batch size parameters during INSERT AS SELECT statements is a convenient strategy to load and order large datasets from CSV in bulk. This strategy along with an example workflow is described in the importing data guide.