Amazon DynamoDB vs Azure Cosmos DB

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Amazon DynamoDB

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Amazon DynamoDB vs Azure Cosmos DB: What are the differences?

Developers describe Amazon DynamoDB as "Fully managed NoSQL database service". All data items are stored on Solid State Drives (SSDs), and are replicated across 3 Availability Zones for high availability and durability. With DynamoDB, you can offload the administrative burden of operating and scaling a highly available distributed database cluster, while paying a low price for only what you use. On the other hand, Azure Cosmos DB is detailed as "A fully-managed, globally distributed NoSQL database service". Azure DocumentDB is a fully managed NoSQL database service built for fast and predictable performance, high availability, elastic scaling, global distribution, and ease of development.

Amazon DynamoDB and Azure Cosmos DB belong to "NoSQL Database as a Service" category of the tech stack.

Some of the features offered by Amazon DynamoDB are:

  • Automated Storage Scaling – There is no limit to the amount of data you can store in a DynamoDB table, and the service automatically allocates more storage, as you store more data using the DynamoDB write APIs.
  • Provisioned Throughput – When creating a table, simply specify how much request capacity you require. DynamoDB allocates dedicated resources to your table to meet your performance requirements, and automatically partitions data over a sufficient number of servers to meet your request capacity. If your throughput requirements change, simply update your table's request capacity using the AWS Management Console or the Amazon DynamoDB APIs. You are still able to achieve your prior throughput levels while scaling is underway.
  • Fully Distributed, Shared Nothing Architecture – Amazon DynamoDB scales horizontally and can seamlessly scale a single table over hundreds of servers.

On the other hand, Azure Cosmos DB provides the following key features:

  • Fully managed with 99.99% Availability SLA
  • Elastically and highly scalable (both throughput and storage)
  • Predictable low latency: <10ms @ P99 reads and <15ms @ P99 fully-indexed writes

"Predictable performance and cost" is the top reason why over 53 developers like Amazon DynamoDB, while over 13 developers mention "Best-of-breed NoSQL features" as the leading cause for choosing Azure Cosmos DB.

Lyft, New Relic, and Sellsuki are some of the popular companies that use Amazon DynamoDB, whereas Azure Cosmos DB is used by Microsoft, Rumble, and Property With Potential. Amazon DynamoDB has a broader approval, being mentioned in 429 company stacks & 173 developers stacks; compared to Azure Cosmos DB, which is listed in 24 company stacks and 23 developer stacks.

Advice on Amazon DynamoDB and Azure Cosmos DB

We are building a social media app, where users will post images, like their post, and make friends based on their interest. We are currently using Cloud Firestore and Firebase Realtime Database. We are looking for another database like Amazon DynamoDB; how much this decision can be efficient in terms of pricing and overhead?

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Replies (1)
William Frank
Data Science and Engineering at GeistM · | 2 upvotes · 69.9K views

Hi, Akash,

I wouldn't make this decision without lots more information. Cloud Firestore has a much richer metamodel (document-oriented) than Dynamo (key-value), and Dynamo seems to be particularly restrictive. That is why it is so fast. There are many needs in most applications to get lightning access to the members of a set, one set at a time. Dynamo DB is a great choice. But, social media applications generally need to be able to make long traverses across a graph. While you can make almost any metamodel act like another one, with your own custom layers on top of it, or just by writing a lot more code, it's a long way around to do that with simple key-value sets. It's hard enough to traverse across networks of collections in a document-oriented database. So, if you are moving, I think a graph-oriented database like Amazon Neptune, or, if you might want built-in reasoning, Allegro or Ontotext, would take the least programming, which is where the most cost and bugs can be avoided. Also, managed systems are also less costly in terms of people's time and system errors. It's easier to measure the costs of managed systems, so they are often seen as more costly.

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Decisions about Amazon DynamoDB and Azure Cosmos DB
Eduardo Fernandez
Software Engineer at Parrot Software, Inc. · | 5 upvotes · 6.9K views

CouchDB has proven us to be a reliable multi-master NoSQL JSON database built natively for the web.

We decided to use it over alternatives such as Firebase due topology, costs and frontend architecture.

Thanks to CouchDB we are now a frontend first CRM platform. We are capable of delivering and leveraging our frontend code to build most of our new functionalities directly within the frontend which we enrich through backend sidecars connected to each Parrot and each CouchDB.

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