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DynamoDB Indexes

Links: 102 AWS DVA Index

Local Secondary Index

  • Alternative Sort Key for your table (same Partition Key as that of base table)
  • The Sort Key consists of one scalar attribute (String, Number, or Binary)
  • Up to 5 Local Secondary Indexes per table
  • Must be defined at table creation time
  • Attribute Projections - can contain some or all the attributes of the base table (KEYS_ONLY, INCLUDE, ALL)

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- We can do a query on user_id or game_id but we cannot do a query on other attributes. - To do so we will have to do a scan and then client side filtering. - If we need to query based on user_id and game_TS then we need to create a LSI and define the LSI on game_TS.

Global Secondary Index

  • Alternative Primary Key (HASH - partition key or HASH+RANGE - partition key + sort key) from the base table
  • Speed up queries on non-key attributes
  • The Index Key consists of scalar attributes (String, Number, or Binary)
  • Attribute Projections - some or all the attributes of the base table (KEYS_ONLY, INCLUDE, ALL)
  • Must provision RCUs & WCUs for the index
  • Can be added/modified after table creation

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- In the example given above we can query based on user_id but we cannot query based on game_id - We need to do a scan and then do client side filtering. - Instead we can choose to create a GSI.


You have an application running for over a year now using a DynamoDB table, with Provisioned RCUs and WCUs, without any throttling issues. There's a requirement for your table to support second type of queries, so you have decided to use the existing Local Secondary Index (LSI) and create a new Global Secondary Index (GSI) to support these queries. One month later, the table begins to experience throttling issues. After checking the table's CloudWatch metrics, you found that you haven't exceeded the table's Provisioned RCU and WCU. What should you do?

The GSI is throttling so you need to provision more RCU and WCU to the GSI. Global Secondary Index (GSI) uses an independent amount of RCU and WCU and if they are throttled due to insufficient capacity, then the main table will also be throttled.


  • Global Secondary Index (GSI): > [!caution]- If the writes are throttled on the GSI, then the main table will be throttled even if the WCU on the main tables are fine
    • Choose your GSI partition key carefully!
    • Assign your WCU capacity carefully!
  • Local Secondary Index (LSI):
    • Uses the WCUs and RCUs of the main table
    • No special throttling considerations

Last updated: 2022-05-25