Databases - Overview


Parameters OLTP OLAP
Meaning Online transaction processing Online Analytics processing
Functionality Online database modifying system Online database query management system
Purpose Real time business operations Analysis of business measures by category and attributes
Characteristic Large numbers of short online transactions Large volume of data
Style Fast response time, low data redundancy and is normalized Created uniquely to integrate different data sources for building a consolidated database
Design Application oriented e.g. Banking, ticket booking, SMS delivery etc. Subject oriented e.g. for sales / marketing / purchasing etc.
Query type Standardized and simple Complex queries involving aggregations
Operation Read/write Only read and rarely write
Tables Normalized Not normalized
Method DBMS Data warehouse
AWS Services Aurora, RDS Redshift

Choose right database

Category Question Deeper
Workload Read-heavy, write-heavy, or balanced workload? • Throughput needs? High or low throughput? • Will it change, does it need to scale or fluctuate during the day?
Size How much data to store and for how long? • Will it grow? • Average object size? • How are they accessed? Security needs?
Durability Data durability (e.g. for a week or forever)? • Source of truth for the data?
Latency Latency requirements? • Concurrent users?
Model Data model? • How will you query the data? Primary key? Joins? • Structured? Semi-structured?
Schema Strong schema or more flexibility? Reporting? Search? RDBMS / NoSQL?
Licensing License costs? Switch to Cloud Native DB such as Aurora?

Database Types

  • All Database types comes with backup / restore feature.
Type Databases Use cases
RDBMS RDS, Aurora SQL, OLTP, Joins, Data in tabular form
Key-value DynamoDB (also Document ≈JSON), ElastiCache No joins & more performance and scalability
Object Store S3, Glacier Big objects (S3), backups / archives (Glacier)
Data Warehouse Redshift, Athena SQL Analytics, BI, OLAP (Redshift)
Search Elastic Search (JSON) Free text, unstructured searches
Graphs Neptune Relationships between data.


Database Type Use-case Operations Security Reliability Performance Cost
RDS RDBMS Relational datasets (RDBMS, OLTP), transactional SQL queries. • Small downtime if failover, maintenance, scaling replicas / EC2, restore EBS • Changes requires application changes • AWS -> OS / EC2 • Users -> KMS, SG, IAM policies, user auth with e.g. IAM, SSL Multi AZ feature with auto-failover • Up to 5 read replicas • Depends on EC2, EBS, read replicas • no auto-scaling Pay per hour based on provisioned EC2 and EBS
Aurora RDBMS Same as RDS with less maintenance and more performance & flexibility Less operations than RDS e.g. auto scaling storage Same as RDS • Multi AZ • More HA than RDS • Serverless option for more reliability • 5x than RSD • Up to 15 read replicas • Pay per hour for EC2 + storage • Lower than Oracle • Higher than RDS
Redshift Columnar • Analytics • Data Warehousing Similar to RDS IAM, VPC, KMS, SSL (similar to RDS) highly available, auto healing features • Massively Parallel Query Execution • compression • scale to PBs of data Pay per node provisioned, 10% of cost vs other warehouses
ElastiCache Key-value • caching, user sessions, leaderboard, distributed states, pub / sub messaging, recommendation data Same as RDS Same as RDS but auth through Redis Auth) Clustering (sharding), Multi-AZ Sub-millisecond, in-memory, read replicas for sharding Pay per hour based on EC2 and storage usage.
DynamoDB Key-value & document • no SQL with transactions • serverless development • cache • small objects • no operations needed • auto scaling capability • serverless through IAM policies, KMS encryption, SSL in flight • Multi AZ • Backups • Single digit (1-9 millisecond) • DAX for read caching • Performance doesn’t degrade if usage scales Pay per provisioned capacity and storage usage (can use auto-scaling)
S3 Key-value object store • big objects • static files • website hosting no operations needed • IAM • Bucket Policies • ACL • Encryption (Server/Client) • SSL • 99.999999999% durability / 99.99% availability • Multi AZ • Cross-region replication • Scales to thousands of read / writes per second • Transfer acceleration with CloudFront • Multi-part for big files Pay per • Storage usage • Network cost: bandwidth to transfer and retrieve data • Requests number
Athena S3 query engine • Serverless (one time) queries on S3 • Log analytics • Lightweight queries no operations needed IAM + S3 security • managed service • uses presto engine • highly available Queries scale based on data size pay per query / per TB of data scanned
Neptune Graph High relationship data e.g. social networking, knowledge graphs (wikis) similar to RDS IAM, VPC, KMS, SSL (similar to RDS) + IAM Authentication Multi-AZ, clustering with read replicas best suited for graphs, clustering to improve performance pay per node provisioned (similar to RDS)
ElasticSearch Lucene search engine • complement to another database • big data • log analysis similar to RDS Cognito, IAM, VPC, KMS, SSL Multi-AZ, clustering based on ElasticSearch project (open source), petabyte scale pay per node provisioned (similar to RDS)

RDS vs DynamoDB Availability and Scalability

  Aurora DynamoDB
Roll-back impact No downtime, more IO (uses snapshots), requires re-establishing connection after DB change No downtime, no IO (uses Backup and Restore), requires re-establishing connection after DB change
Multi-master Across AZ in single region (even with global database) Only across regions with global tables
Multi-reader Across AZ & regions Automagically, only can set-up with DAX
Failover to replicas Any replica Any replica

Data migration

  • Native SQL DB migration: From SQL Server => upload .bak to S3 => restore from .bak with SQL statement in RDS
  • AWS Database Migration service
    • Migrate and/or replicate databases and data warehouses to AWS.
      • From
        • On-premises/EC2/Azure: Oracle, SQL Server, Azure SQL, PostreSQL, MySQL, SAP ASE, MongoDB, S3, DB2
        • AWS Native: RDS & Aurora & S3
      • To:
        • AWS-native: RDS, S3, DynamoDB, Redshift, Kinesis Data Streams, Elasticsearch, DocumentDB
        • On-premises/EC2: Oracle, SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MySQL, SAP ASE
    • Supports
      • Cloud to cloud: e.g. you can stream to Amazon Kinesis Data Streams through AWS Database Migration Service
      • On-prem to cloud
        • You can migrate SQL databases
          • 💡 Instead: native SQL DB migration through .bak file is recommended.
          • 💡 Only recommended if your database cannot be offline while back-up is created/copied and restored.
      • On-prem to on-prem
        • E.g. upgrade a minor version with on-prem SAP ASE to on-prem SAP ASE
    • Schema Conversion Tool: E.g. from NoSQL to SQL, SQL to NoSQL or NoSQL to NoSQL.
    • Data Extractor: Runs on-prem, pulls data from DB, uploads to S3 so other DBs can pull it from S3.
    • 💡 Other use-cases: Classic to VPC, Data warehouse to Redshift, Consolidate shards into Aurora, Archive old data, migrate from NoSQL <=> SQL or NoSQL <=> NoSQL.
    • Pricing
      • Ingress into AWS Database Migration Service is free
      • Egress to RDS and EC2 in same AZ is also free.

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