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  • It is a fully managed, highly available with replication across multi AZs database.
  • It is a NoSQL database. Some features of NoSQL database:
    • A SQL database has a rigid schema. Go for NoSQL databases if you need a flexible schema.
    • NoSQL databases like MongoD, DynamoDB are easy to scale horizontally since they are distributed.
    • NoSQ databases do not support query joins (or just limited support)
    • All the data that is needed for a query is present in one row
    • NoSQL databases don't perform aggregations such as "SUM", "AVG", etc.
  • It scales to massive workloads, distributed database.
  • Integrated with IAM for security, authentication and authorisation.
    • Access fully controlled by IAM
  • Low cost and scales automatically.
    • By default, Auto Scaling is not enabled in a DynamoDB table which is created using the AWS CLI.
    • Autoscaling is free of cost.
    • We have standard & IA table class.
The main differentiator will be keywords like "scaling" in questions. In RDS, you still have to manually scale up your resources and create Read Replicas to improve scalability while in DynamoDB, this is automatically done.

Also you can only vertically scale the RDS. It is possible to horizontally scale the reads by having read replicas but the master that takes write can only be scaled vertically.

  • DynamoDB is made up of tables. We directly create tables instead of creating databases.
  • Each table must have a Primary Key which must be decided at creation time. Combination of the partition key and the sort key constitutes the primary key.
  • Each table can have infinite number of rows (items).
  • Each row can have columns (attributes) which can be null.
    • The attributes can be nested.
    • The attributes can be added over time without affecting your previous data.
  • Maximum size of an item (row) is 400KB.
    • Store objects larger than 400KB in S3 and use pointers in DynamoDB
  • Data types supported are:
    • Scalar Types: String, Number, Binary, Boolean, Null
    • Document Types: List, Map
    • Set Types: String Set, Number Set, Binary Set
  • It allows us to write to 2 tables at the same time or to None as part of one specific write.
  • Store more frequently and less frequently accessed data in separate tables.
  • All DynamoDB tables are encrypted.
    • There is no option to enable or disable encryption for new or existing tables.
    • By default, all tables are encrypted under an AWS owned customer master key (CMK) in the DynamoDB service account.
    • However, you can select an option to encrypt some or all of your tables under a customer-managed CMK or the AWS managed CMK for DynamoDB in your account.

Read and Write Capacity Modes

  • Control how you manage your table’s capacity (read/write throughput)
  • For understanding calculation of read & write capacity and how data is stored refer DynamoDB Capacity
  • We can easily switch between provisioned mode and on demand mode.

Provisioned Mode

  • Default
  • You specify the number of reads and writes per second. This means capacity has to be planned before hand.
  • RCU and WCU can be increased independent of each other.
  • You pay for provisioned Read Capacity Units (RCU) & Write Capacity Units (WCU)
  • Cheaper as compared to on demand mode
  • We can also choose autoscaling for RCU and WCU and specify a minimum & maximum capacity.
    • We can autoscale RCU and WCU independent of each other. Like it is possible to autoscale only RCU but not WCU.
    • attachments/Pasted image 20220525111059.jpg
  • If we disable auto scaling we only get the option to specify the read and write capacities.
  • Throughput can be exceeded temporarily using Burst Capacity
  • If Burst Capacity has been consumed, you'll get ProvisionedThroughputExceededException
    • It's then advised to do an exponential backoff retry

On Demand Mode

  • Read/writes automatically scale up/down with your workloads
  • No capacity planning needed
    • Unlimited WCU & RCU, no throttle
  • You're charged for reads/writes that you use in terms of RRU and WRU
    • Read Request Units (RRU) throughput for reads (same as RCU)
    • Write Request Units (WRU) throughput for writes (same as WCU)
  • Useful for unpredictable workloads
  • It is 2x -3x more expensive than the provisioned mode.

DynamoDB Accelerator (DAX)

  • Fully-managed, highly available, in memory cache for DynamoDB. Helps solve read congestion by caching.
    • Solves the hot key problem (too many reads).
  • Doesn't require application logic modification. Compatible with existing DynamoDB APIs.
  • Data stored in DAX have a TTL of 5 minutes (default).
  • DAX cluster is made up of nodes
    • We have to select the node type while creating the cluster
    • Multi-AZ (3 nodes minimum recommended for production)
  • Can deliver up to 10 times performance improvement—from milliseconds to microseconds—even at millions of requests per second.
  • Secure: Encryption at rest with KMS, VPC, IAM, CloudTrail,
When to go for ElastiCache over DAX?

ElastiCache is useful in a scenario where the application is performing some computation after retrieving it from DynamoDB. The aggregation result is stored in ElastiCache. If there is no compute then it is always advisable to use DAX. Also using Elasticache with DynamoDB is much more involved than DAX.

attachments/Pasted image 20220525151014.jpg

DynamoDB Streams

  • Event driven programming using dynamo db streams.

    • Example sending a welcome mail when users are added: Enable DynamoDB Stream and create an AWS Lambda trigger, as well as the IAM role which contains all of the permissions that the Lambda function will need at runtime. The data from the stream record will be processed by the Lambda function which will then publish a message to SNS Topic that will notify the subscribers via email.
  • Ordered stream of item-level modifications (create/update/delete) in a table

  • DynamoDB streams is not enabled by default.
  • Stream records can be sent to (3) : Lambda, Kinesis Data Streams and Kinesis Client Library applications.
  • Data retention for up to 24 hours.
  • Use cases:
    • React to changes in real-time (welcome email to users)
    • Analytics
    • Insert into derivative tables
    • Insert into ElasticSearch
    • Implement cross-region replication

DynamoDB Global Tables

  • Tables are present in different regions.
  • There is two way replication between the tables.
  • This will make DynamoDB tables accessible with low latency in multiple regions.
  • It is an Active Active replication which means data can be READ and WRITTEN to the table in any region.
  • DynamoDB streams must be enabled to use this feature.
Here active active configuration is the key.
  • You will be presented with questions in which you will have to choose between DynamoDB global tables and Global Aurora for a database that spans multiple regions.
  • If the question mentions active active then go for DynamoDB tables since in Global Aurora you cannot have active active config. There is only one master and read replicas in other regions for low latency. The read replicas don't take writes.
  • We do have Aurora Multi Master in which all the databases take writes but it is not multi region.
  • So we can say DynamoDB global tables are multi master, multi region
  • Whereas Aurora Global is single master, multi region.

DynamoDB Indexes

  • There are two types of indexes Global Secondary Indexes (GSI) & Local Secondary Indexes (LSI).
  • These indexes allow us to query items on attributes other than the primary key.
  • The optimal usage of a table's provisioned throughput depends not only on the workload patterns of individual items, but also on the partition-key design.
    • More the distinct partition key values that your workload accesses, the more those requests will be spread across the partitioned space.
    • Use of partition keys with high-cardinality attributes, which have a large number of distinct values for each item.

Last updated: 2022-05-25