Building a web application is always exciting for a newbie software engineer. As a web developer, you might have started with building the frontend then backend and then you add features one by one. You choose some database for your application to store the information. Now your web application starts growing and you start getting the users for that. 100, 1000, 10000 and so on…..but what if the users will keep growing? Will it be possible that your current database can handle millions of users? If not then it can create a problem for you. You will have to migrate to another more scalable database. This is one of the reasons a software engineer has to think and consider all the case scenarios before they start building something.
A lot of web applications face scaling issues due to the growth of users along with the increasing complexity of data traffic. Business comes the need to process data faster and here comes the part of DynamoDB. DynamoDB is a NoSQL database of Amazon Web Services that supports data structures and key-valued cloud services. It is a fast, flexible, cost-effective, highly-scalable, fault-tolerant and secure database service. You can scale from 10 to 1000 transactions per second (tps) in a couple of seconds.
Now the question is what are some major benefits of using DynamoDB? How to decide that this is the right database for your application. What are some of its real-life use cases and what is the downside of using this database? Let’s discuss everything in detail.
Benefits of using DynamoDB
Let’s discuss first why DynamoDB is useful for your application.
1. Performance and Scalability: People who are working in software development or IT industry know that when there is a load on a database or when more traffic then scaling databases become difficult and risky. DynamoDB has the ability to auto-scale by tracking how close your usage is to the upper bounds. This feature helps your system to adjust according to the amount of data traffic and it improves the performance of the application and it reduces cost as well.
2. Access to Control Rules: In the software industry when data gets more specific and personal it becomes more important to have specific access control. You need to easily apply for access control to the right people without creating bottlenecks in other people’s workflow. DynamoDB has the feature of fine-grained access control and that allows the table owner to gain a higher level of control over the data in the table.
3. Persistence of Event Stream Data: DynamoDB stream has this feature that allows you to receive and update item-level data before and after changes in that data. It provides a time-ordered sequence of changes made to the data within the last 24 hours. You can access a stream with a simple API call and make changes to a full-text search data store such as Elasticsearch, push incremental backups to Amazon S3, or maintain an up-to-date read-cache.
4. Time To Live: DynamoDB allows developers to set a timestamp for expired data in your table. Once the timestamp expires, the data that is marked to expire is then deleted from the table. This functionality helps developers to keep track of expired data and delete it automatically instead of doing it manually. TTL also helps in reducing storage and cutting the costs of manual data deletion work.
5. Storage of Inconsistent Schema Items: If you need to store your data object in inconsistent schemas then DynamoDB can manage that. DynamoDB is a NoSQL data model and this the reason that it handles less structured data more efficiently than a relational data model, which is why it’s easier to address query volumes and offers high performance queries for item storage in inconsistent schemas.
6. Automatic Data Management: For security and safety purposes, DynamoDB creates a backup of your data which allows owners to have data saved on the cloud.
Real-Life Use Cases of DynamoDB
A lot of developers get confused if they should use DynamoDB or not for their application. If it is fit for their project or not. We are going to mention some examples where companies are using this database to help manage the larger influx and of data at high speeds.
1. Duolingo: Duolingo is an online learning site that uses the DynamoDB database to store and handle approximate 31 billion data objects on their web server. This website has around 18 million monthly users who perform around six billion exercises using the Duolingo app. Their application has 24,000 read units per second and 3,300 write units per second and DynamoDB is the only database that has been able to meet their needs, both in terms of data storage and DevOps.
2. Hess Corporation: This corporation is a well-known energy company. The company works on the exploration and production of natural gas and crude oil. This corporation also uses DynamoDB and shifted its E&P (Energy Exploration and Production) project onto AWS. The operational infrastructure of DynamoDB helps the company to handle data effectively and get optimized and well-managed results also it helped the company in separating potential buyers’ data from business systems.
3. GE Healthcare: GE Healthcare is known for the medical imaging equipment that helps in diagnostics through radiopharmaceuticals and imaging agents. This company also uses DynamoDB to increase customer value, enabled by cloud access, storage, and computation. The GE Health Cloud provides a single portal for healthcare professionals all over the US to process and share images of patient cases.
4. Docomo: Docomo is a popular mobile phone operating company. The company is known for its voice recognition services, which need the best performance and capacity. This is the reason Docomo turned towards DynamoDB which has helped the company scale towards better performance. The company also rely heavily on Amazon DynamoDB to store their marketing data of different types. The data includes user events, user profiles, visited links and clicks. Sometimes, this data also includes ad targeting, attribution, and real-time bidding.
DynamoDB is a reliable system that helps small, medium and large enterprises scale their applications. You can use it for mobile and web apps. It provides the option to backup, restore and secure data. You can build event-driven architecture and user-friendly applications with DynamoDB.
We have discussed the major benefits of using DynamoDB but every database has some pros and cons and the same for the DynamoDB. DynamoDB is a NoSQL database. That means you can not do joining or complex queries on DynamoDB. Also, No ACID as it’s not an RDBMS. DynamoDB’s not ideal for storing events as well. Understand your requirements very well and then choose the database according to your needs.