Get started with InfluxDB Cloud Serverless

InfluxDB Cloud Serverless is the platform purpose-built to collect, store, process and visualize time series data. The InfluxDB v3.0 storage engine provides a number of benefits including nearly unlimited series cardinality, improved query performance, and interoperability with widely used data processing tools and platforms.

Time series data is a sequence of data points indexed in time order. Data points typically consist of successive measurements made from the same source and are used to track changes over time. Examples of time series data include:

  • Industrial sensor data
  • Server performance metrics
  • Heartbeats per minute
  • Electrical activity in the brain
  • Rainfall measurements
  • Stock prices

This multi-part tutorial walks you through writing time series data to InfluxDB Cloud Serverless, querying, and then visualizing that data.

Key concepts before you get started

Before you get started using InfluxDB, it’s important to understand how time series data is organized and stored in InfluxDB and some key definitions that are used throughout this documentation.

Data organization

The InfluxDB Cloud Serverless data model organizes time series data into buckets and measurements. A bucket can contain multiple measurements. Measurements contain multiple tags and fields.

  • Bucket: Named location where time series data is stored. A bucket can contain multiple measurements.
    • Measurement: Logical grouping for time series data. All points in a given measurement should have the same tags. A measurement contains multiple tags and fields.
      • Tags: Key-value pairs that provide metadata for each point–for example, something to identify the source or context of the data like host, location, station, etc. Tag values may be null.
      • Fields: Key-value pairs with values that change over time–for example, temperature, pressure, stock price, etc. Field values may be null, but at least one field value is not null on any given row.
      • Timestamp: Timestamp associated with the data. When stored on disk and queried, all data is ordered by time. A timestamp is never null.

Schema on write

When using InfluxDB, you define your schema as you write your data. You don’t need to create measurements (equivalent to a relational table) or explicitly define the schema of the measurement. Measurement schemas are defined by the schema of data as it is written to the measurement.

Important definitions

The following definitions are important to understand when using InfluxDB:

  • Point: Single data record identified by its measurement, tag keys, tag values, field key, and timestamp.
  • Series: A group of points with the same measurement, tag keys and values, and field key.
  • Primary key: Columns used to uniquely identify each row in a table. Rows are uniquely identified by their timestamp and tag set. A row’s primary key tag set does not include tags with null values.
Example InfluxDB query results

name: weather


Tools to use

The following table compares tools that you can use to interact with InfluxDB Cloud Serverless. This tutorial covers many of the recommended tools.

influx CLI-
influx3 data CLI*-
influxctl CLI---
InfluxDB user interface *-
InfluxDB v3 client libraries*-
InfluxDB v1 client libraries-
InfluxDB v2 client libraries-
Third-party tools
Flight SQL clients--
* Covered in this tutorial

The influxctl admin CLI isn’t available for InfluxDB Cloud Serverless. It only works with InfluxDB Cloud Dedicated and InfluxDB Clustered.

InfluxDB user interface

The InfluxDB user interface (UI) provides a web-based visual interface for interacting with and managing InfluxDB. To access the InfluxDB Cloud Serverless UI, log into your InfluxDB Cloud account.

influx CLI

The influx CLI lets you manage InfluxDB Cloud Serverless and write data from a command line. Querying InfluxDB Cloud Serverless isn’t supported.

For detailed CLI installation instructions, see the influx CLI reference.

influx3 data CLI

The influx3 data CLI is a community-maintained tool that lets you write and query data in InfluxDB Cloud Serverless from a command line. It uses the HTTP API to write data and uses Flight gRPC to query data.


The InfluxDB HTTP API provides a simple way to let you manage InfluxDB Cloud Serverless and write and query data using HTTP(S) clients. Examples in this tutorial use cURL, but any HTTP(S) client will work.

The /write and /query v1-compatible endpoints work with the username/password authentication schemes and existing InfluxDB 1.x tools and code. The /api/v2/write v2-compatible endpoint works with existing InfluxDB 2.x tools and code.

InfluxDB client libraries

InfluxDB client libraries are community-maintained, language-specific clients that interact with InfluxDB APIs.

InfluxDB v3 client libraries are the recommended client libraries for writing and querying data InfluxDB Cloud Serverless. They use the HTTP API to write data and use Flight gRPC to query data.

InfluxDB v2 client libraries can use /api/v2 HTTP endpoints to manage resources such as buckets and API tokens, and write data in InfluxDB Cloud Serverless.

InfluxDB v1 client libraries can write data to InfluxDB Cloud Serverless.


InfluxDB Cloud Serverless requires authentication using API tokens. Each API token is associated with a user and a specific set of permissions for InfluxDB resources. You can use administration tools such as the InfluxDB UI, the influx CLI, or the InfluxDB HTTP API to create and manage API tokens.

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InfluxDB Cloud Serverless