Question: What are the differences between DynamoDB and Google BigTable?

Rafal Wilinski

Answered by Rafal Wilinski


Both Amazon DynamoDB and Google Bigtable are NoSQL database services designed for handling large amounts of data across many servers, but they have different characteristics and use cases. Here are some key differences:

Performance and Scaling

  • DynamoDB has automatic scaling based on throughput settings (read/write capacity units), which can be adjusted manually or automatically. It also offers a serverless option where capacity planning is fully managed by AWS.
  • Google Bigtable allows high-speed read/write operations and can scale to handle petabytes of data. However, it doesn't provide automatic scaling.

Data Model

  • DynamoDB uses a key-value store with optional document support, meaning data is accessed via a primary key that uniquely identifies each item.
  • Bigtable is a wide-column store, sorting rows lexicographically by a row key, then by column key. A cell's position is identified by its row key, column key, and timestamp.


  • DynamoDB pricing is based on write/read capacity modes, storage, data transfer, backup and restore, and data transfer costs.
  • Bigtable pricing is primarily based on the nodes in a cluster, the amount of storage used, network egress, and operations performed.


  • DynamoDB supports both strongly consistent and eventually consistent read models.
  • Bigtable offers strong consistency at the row level.

Use Cases

  • DynamoDB is well-suited for applications that need consistent, single-digit millisecond latency at any scale, like mobile, web, gaming, ad tech, IoT, etc.
  • Bigtable is ideal for storing very large amounts of single-keyed data, with very low latency, making it a good choice for large analytical and operational workloads, such as IoT, user analytics, and financial data analysis.

Remember, the choice between DynamoDB and Bigtable will depend on your specific requirements, including performance, scale, data model, pricing, and use case compatibility.

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