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How would you design’s database | System Design

Last Updated : 16 Oct, 2023
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A thorough approach to designing Amazon’s database involves managing customers, product catalogs, order processing, and recommendations alongside other elements. To ensure scalability, these components must be integrated: load balancers, application servers, caching, CDNs, search engines, and analytics tools. The key to building a robust and efficient system is identifying and mitigating potential bottlenecks. Future growth and technological advancements need an adaptable architecture.


1. High Availability

The high availability of Amazon’s database makes sure Amazon is always accessible and functional 24/7, reducing downtime. Amazon uses multi-AZ (multi Availability Zone) data redundancy, load balancing, and fail-over mechanism in order to ensure high uptime of the database. Multi-region deployment and data replication ensure service availability even if there is a regional failure.

2. Data Integrity

Data integrity is about the completeness and consistency of data in the database. On the other hand, ensuring data integrity is a top priority for Amazon, utilizing referential integrity constraints and data validation checks to prevent mistakes and inconsistencies. The transactional support based on ACID guarantees that data is consistent at the time of complex operations.

3. Security

The security serves to protect user data, transactions, and personal information. Amazon uses strong security measures like encryption of data in rest and in transit, IAM (identity and access management), with regards to access control, and authentication mechanisms. Make sure to have the necessary compliance in terms of industry standards (e.g GDPR for protecting users’ data).

4. Redundancy and Disaster Recovery

Redundancy is the process of creating duplicate copies of data and systems to avoid data loss and keep the service available at all time. Amazon uses data redundancy through replication to multiple AWS data centers and regions. In disaster recovery planning, you should include, backup plans, automated failover, and off-site backups in case of any data loss.

5. Data Partitioning

Data partitioning is the process of splitting large datasets into smaller partitions based on certain criteria. Data partitioning helps amazon to store data and retrieve faster in terms of the number of products in its catalogue or user database. Partitioning criteria may be based on the date, product type, or user geography.

6. Real-Time Data Processing

With real-time data processings allows Amazon to take a decision or gain insights at once. Amazon uses stream processing and event-driven architectures for processing live data. Some examples of use cases include real-time pricing changes, real-time recommendations updates, fraud detection.

7. efficient Indexing

For faster query performance efficient indexing is essential. Amazon creates indexes on its database tables to ensure query performance remains good as the dataset increases. Indexes are chosen in line with query and access patterns.

8. Database engine

This is an important decision on which RDBMS to use. Amazon uses several databases such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Amazon Aurora (highly available and scaleable relational database). Deciding between engine options, in terms of Amazon services, is determined by specific use cases and needs for each service.

9. Query Processing

This allows the query processing in Amazon’s database to be efficient and data to be returned rapidly to the user. (For instance, Amazon applies query optimisation, caching, and parallel processing to perform queries quickly.) Using distributed query processing, you can query across multiple database instances.

Capacity estimation of Amazon’s Database

Accurately estimating capacity is a critical step in designing’s database to ensure the system can handle current and future user demands. This process involves predicting the expected traffic, data volume, and resource requirements to create an architecture that is both scalable and performant.

More than 295 million visitors per month on Amazon
Amazon sells about 150,000 products per day in India
Total Product Sell in a month in India = 150,000 * 30 = 4,500,000

Use-case Diagram for Amazon’s database

A Use Case Diagram for Amazon’s database would visualize the various interactions and functionalities as far as Amazon’s e-commerce platform is concerned. Use Case Diagrams usually focus on the interaction of end users.


Below is the explanation of the above diagram:

  • Write reviews about products, whether bought or not, as part of their review, buyers can rate products.
    • Reviews can be annotated with the surname of the critic or his fashionability as a critic( ”reviewer rank ”), grounded on both positive and negative votes entered, as well the review was published.
    • Other buyers can write commentary on reviews, rate them as useful/ unuseful, and report them to the company if they consider them obnoxious or unhappy.
  • Leave feedback about sellers after a purchase, with a comment.
    • Dealer conditions are reckoned using the votes entered over the deals performed in a specific period of time. merchandisers have the occasion to respond to the comment/ standing and rate the sale, but they can not rate buyers( only feedback submitted by buyers is considered to cipher a dealer standing).
  • Join client communities buyers can produce a profile and partake it with other buyers, join different communities, share in forums, produce Listmania lists with the Amazon products they like or recommend
    • Wish lists with the products they’re interested in, suggest products to their communities by adding a label. Posts can be replied to, rated, and reported

Database design and diagram

Design a relational database that includes tables for customers, orders, products, reviews, payments, etc. establish relationships between tables using primary and foreign keys. Here’s a simplified example of tables:

  • Customers (Customer_ID, name, email, address, …)
  • Orders (Order_ID, Customer_ID, Order_Date, Total_Amount, …)
  • Products (Product_ID, name, description, price, …)
  • Reviews (Review_ID, product_ID, Customer_ID, rating, comment, …)
  • Payments (Payment_ID, Order_ID, Customer_ID,Payment_Date, amount, …) 

amazon-databaseChoosen approach for Amazon’s Database

Relational databases are preferred for designing Amazon’s database because they offer strong data integrity, ACID compliance, complex query support, and consistent performance, ensuring the reliability and delicacy required for critical functions like fiscal deals and order processing, which are fundamental to Amazon’s e- commerce platform.

1. Structured Data

Relational databases excel at handling structured data, which comprises a significant portion of Amazon’s database, including product catalogs, customer information, and transaction records.

2. ACID Compliance

Relational databases provide strong ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) guarantees, ensuring transactional integrity and data consistency, which is crucial for financial transactions and order processing on Amazon.

3. Data Integrity

Relational databases enforce referential integrity constraints, ensuring that data relationships are maintained correctly. This is essential for maintaining the accuracy of product catalogs, user profiles, and order histories

4. Complex Queries

Amazon’s database must support complex queries, such as product searches, personalized recommendations, and sales analytics. Relational databases offer robust SQL query capabilities for these requirements.

5. Consistent Performance

Relational databases can provide consistent and predictable performance for a wide range of operations, which is essential for delivering a seamless shopping experience to millions of users.

6. Scalability Options

Relational databases like Amazon RDS offer options for horizontal and vertical scaling to accommodate growing data and user traffic. They can be combined with caching layers and load balancing for improved scalability.

7. Security

Relational databases offer robust security features, including access control, encryption, and authentication mechanisms, which are vital for protecting user data and sensitive information.

Scalability for Amazon’s Database

The key to maintaining high performance in the face of growing data and web traffic is to scale the database accordingly. With the growth of Amazon comes the need for scalable database management across multiple servers. On how to efficiently scale a database, here is a detailed guide.

1. Data Center-Wide Partition

Data center wide partitioning calls for distributing data across multiple physical locations or data centers. To ensure high availability and disaster recovery, Amazon takes this approach. Distributing its data centers globally helps Amazon achieve low latency and dependable service. Replication and distribution of data across centers ensure that even if one data center experiences downtime, others can handle the load and maintain service continuity.

2. Horizontal Scaling

Adding more servers or instances to distribute the workload, horizontal scaling involves. During peak times like Black Friday or holiday seasons, Amazon must handle increased user traffic by adding more servers. Multiple servers аre utilized in thiс аppроаch to distriбуte incomings and рrоteсt аgаinst оverloоd evenlyаs.

3. Partitioning

Through partitioning or sharding, a large database can be split into smaller subseтs and distribuтed acrоss multiple servers. Partitioning is a technique Amazon might use for high-growth tables or datasets. With independent operation, partitions allow efficient data recovery for specific groups or ranges. Product data can be partitioned based on product categories, for example.

4. Command Query Responsibility Segregation (CQRS)

An architectural pattern that divides the read and write operations of a system, CQRS is. Database performance optimization is something that can be achieved by implementing CQRS, Amazon might. By segregating read and write operations, Amazon improves the database schema queries for each use case. By separating read and write operations, query performance can be optimized in heavy read applications while still supporting efficient writes.

5. Vertical Scaling

Upgrading а single server’s ressources tо handle inсreаsing workloads іs verticаl scaling. Vertical scaling can be achieved by Amazon through separate upgrades of server hardware elements. Handling sudden spikes in traffic, this approach provides a quick way to boost performance without altering the architecture drastically.

6. Query Optimization

Optimizing questions in a database means better performance. Vast аmounts оf dаta at Amazоn require cоmplex questions tо be аsked to retrieve inforмation quickly. Through query rewriting, indexing, and caching, Amazon optimizes queries. Amazon fine-tunes query execution plans and database indices to ensure data retrieval remains efficient even as the database grows.

Why Horizontal Scaling is Good?

Amazon’s need to handle massive amounts of user traffic and data, horizontal scaling is a robust solution. It allows Amazon to distribute the load, handle traffic spikes, and ensure high availability. As Amazon’s customer base and data continue to grow, horizontal scaling enables the platform to seamlessly accommodate increasing demands while maintaining responsiveness and reliability.


In Amazon’s Context

  • Amazon’s vast e-commerce platform encounters varying levels of user activity, from routine shopping to major sales events.
  • Distributing the load across a multitude of servers enables Amazon to efficiently process user requests, prevent bottlenecks, and provide a seamless shopping experience even during peak times.
  • Handling traffic spikes is crucial for events like Black Friday, where sudden surges in user activity occur. Horizontal scaling allows Amazon to scale out rapidly and handle the influx of traffic while maintaining performance.
  • High availability is essential for Amazon’s reputation and customer trust. By ensuring that its application remains available even when individual servers face issues, Amazon prevents disruptions and delivers a reliable platform for users to shop and interact.

Remember that while horizontal scaling is a powerful approach, the specific choice depends on your application’s unique requirements and constraints. Careful planning, monitoring, and optimization are essential to ensuring the successful implementation of horizontal scaling.

Bottleneck conditions for Amazon’s Database

Bottleneck conditions are the critical points in a system where performance suffers, causing overall efficiency to decline. For complex systems like, relating and addressing Bottleneck conditions is key to delivering a seamless user experience and upholding high functionality. Conditions can emerge due to factors like limitations, algorithm restraints, or altered demand and they call for strategic measures to ensure system reliability and receptiveness.

1. High Query Load

User queries in the form of product searches, recommendations, and reviews are handled by Amazon. The pressure of peak hours or events like Prime Day forces database servers to operate at full capacity, leading to poor performance. Query optimization, indexing, and caching strategies are crucial to ensure quick and accurate queries execution even under heavy load.

2. Network Latency

Latency in the network can have an impact on performance in a distributed environment like Amazon’s. Delays in data retrieval can occur due to slow communication between applicatiоn serv ers аnd the dаtabаse. Network architecture optimization and CDN use can help address latency problems.

3. Data Inconsistencies

By replicating its database, Amazon ensures data availability and distribution across multiple servers. Consistency and data updates in replicas are a challenge, but vital. At Amazon, sophisticated synchronization methods and accuracy protocols are used to minimize inconsistencies in data representation.

4. Inefficient Indexing

Vital for fast query execution is efficient indexing. When it comes to optimizing queries, Amazon’s case highlights the importance of well-chosen indexes for a extensive product database. User experience suffers due to slow query execution times or database scans caused by poor indexing strategies. By using careful indexing design and continuous monitoring, Amazon ensures efficient query execution despite database growth.

5. Scaling Limitations

If the chosen scaling strategy does not match with the application’s growth path, it can cause capacity constraints and impact the system’s efficiency in handling more traffic. Accommodating future demands is the reason Amazon carefully asséesses grоwth patters, uѕer behavior, and teсhnologісаl advaгnсements.

6. Software Bottlenecks

Software-related bottlenecks can slow down amazon’s database performance and cause issues if not identified and addressed properly. Bottlenecks are minimized by continuously refining software development practices, optimizing code and using query tuning at Amazon.

Components of Amazon’s Database

Relational Database Management System (RDBMS)

Amazon can use an RDBMS like MySQL, PostgreSQL, or Amazon RDS to store structured data. Interacts with all other components to store, retrieve, and manage data across different tables (customers, orders, products, etc.).

Load Balancers

Distribute incoming traffic across multiple application servers to prevent overloading and ensure even distribution. Balances the load among different application server instances to maintain responsiveness.

Application Servers

Handle user requests, process business logic, and interact with the database. Interact with the database to retrieve product information, process orders, and manage user accounts. Utilize load balancers to ensure uniform distribution of incoming requests.

Customer Interaction

Customers interact with the system through web interfaces, mobile apps, or other client applications. They send requests to application servers, which process the requests and retrieve data from the database tables as needed.

Order Processing

When a customer places an order, the application server collects the necessary order details, including the customer’s ID and the product details, and inserts them into the Orders table. This represents a relationship between Customers and Orders, as one customer can have multiple orders.

Product Display

To display products, the application server queries the Products table to fetch product information such as names, descriptions, and prices. This retrieval process establishes a relationship between Customers and Products, as customers browse and potentially purchase products.

Review Submission

Customers can submit product reviews and ratings. When this happens, the application server records these reviews in the Reviews table. This relates Customers, Products, and Reviews, as customers provide reviews for specific products.

Payment Processing

After a customer confirms an order, the payment gateway interacts with the Payments table to record payment details, including the order ID and payment amount. This establishes a relationship between Orders and Payments, as each payment is associated with a specific order.

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