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7 Tips on Choosing the Right NoSQL Database for Your SaaS Application
Published on Aug 21, 2021

7 Tips on Choosing the Right NoSQL Database for Your SaaS Application

Learn about choosing the right NoSQL database to meet the needs of your SaaS application. And see the top options available for different application types.

7 Tips on Choosing the Right NoSQL Database for Your SaaS Application

There are more than two dozen NoSQL databases on the market today. With so many options, it’s hard to know whether you’re choosing the right NoSQL database.

Ultimately, selecting a good SaaS database comes down to how you’re using the data. Each database uses a different architecture and therefore has different functions. So the first step in selecting a database is understanding the options. 

Tip 1: Learn the Advantages of NoSQL Databases

Before deciding that a NoSQL database is right for your SaaS application, learn more about the benefits and advantages of a NoSQL database.

  1. Scalability: NoSQL databases use low-cost commodity hardware that makes them easy to scale.
  2. Large data handling: The databases can handle large data volumes since they are distributed.
  3. Dynamic schemas: You don’t need schemas to begin working with data.
  4. Lower cost: Since these databases use commodity hardware clusters, they allow you to transact and store large data volumes at a low cost.
  5. Auto-sharding support: Spread data across any number of servers easily with NoSQL databases.

Tip 2: Know the Limitations of NoSQL Databases

Although NoSQL databases have many great advantages, they also have some limitations. One limitation is that they are not as reliable as relational databases. For example, most NoSQL databases do not support ACID natively, meaning you’ll need to use your own code to do so. 

You’ll need manual query language since your database isn’t compatible with SQL. This can slow down your system and make it more complex.

Finally, NoSQL is newer than relational databases, meaning they are not as stable and feature fewer capabilities as an emerging tech option. 

Tip 3: Understand the 4 Types of NoSQL Databases

Understanding the pros and cons of each database will help you make the right decision from the beginning.

There are four different types of NoSQL databases. Each has a unique purpose and functionality to power different types of applications. Here’s a look at these different types and what you can use them for.

  • Key-value stores: As you would expect from the name, this type of database implements a hash table. The table stores keys along with corresponding values. This type of NoSQL database is the simplest to implement and use. To read and write data to these databases, your development team can use get, put and delete APIs. Because of this, the databases are ideal for applications that require a high number of reads and writes. Plus, these databases have high-performance metrics and scale easily. Ideal use cases for Key-value store databases are data caching, profiles or preference management, session management and storing files or large objects.
  • Document stores: A document store database works a great deal like a key-value store but stores data in XML, BSON or JSON. Because of this, developers refer to the value as a document. The documents carry metadata as well as type. That way, you can index and query the database. You then group these documents by business requirements and that allows you to create relationships between the containers. However, you cannot join things from these types of databases. Thanks to the complex querying abilities, some common use cases for these databases include e-commerce websites, content management systems (CMS) and applications using JSON. 
  • Column family database: These databases store data in cells and columns. The data is then grouped into column families. Because of the complexity these databases provide, they can offer multidimensional nested data. You can map data to various cells and column families. And to make the data even more organized, you can identify rows using a row key. Thanks to the way the data is structured, these databases are ideal for logging, IoT applications and time-series data.
  • Graph databases: Includes nodes with relationships. Nodes can have more than one relationship and each relationship can have a direction, type, start and end. You can store many attributes known as properties within these nodes and relationships. Tag the nodes with labels that add metadata and offer greater context. Graph databases are ideal for metadata management, detecting fraud, network and IT infrastructure, and location- or navigation-based services.

Looking for the right NoSQL Database?

Tip 4: Evaluate Current Structures and Transitions

If you have an existing web application that you’re looking to transition out of a relational database into a NoSQL database, consider your current structure and what that transition might look like. 

You might need several different NoSQL databases or microservices to transition out of your relational database without serious service disruptions or errors.

An incremental approach to database refactoring can ensure a seamless and simple transition. 

Make a plan for how to move away from your current database or databases in favor of the more agile NoSQL options. It might take some time to make the transition, but you’ll get faster response times and simpler scalability with the move.

Tip 5: Learn What NoSQL Databases Are Best At

Some scenarios lend themselves to the right NoSQL databases better than others. Here’s a look at some scenarios and application requirements that might lead to selecting this type of database.

  1. Data that is semi-structured, unstructured or that uses flexible schema
  2. Scenarios where you use no data warehouses
  3. Few query patterns and pre-defined access paths
  4. The need for distributed storage and computing
  5. Simple query structures
  6. Large data volumes with a limited budget for ongoing scalability
  7. High-velocity transactions

Tip 6: Consider Long-term Use Cases

Future-proof your product by thinking through what your needs will be several years from now.

Avoid being shortsighted in the long-term use of your databases. Look down the road several years to consider how you might use the data in different ways and with increased volumes.

Choosing a database that only fits your needs today can mean a great deal of work and rework later on. Some types of NoSQL databases lend themselves to adapting and scaling better than others. Review possible needs as your company grows and develops to have a better understanding of your long-term needs.

Tip 7: What Are the Best NoSQL Databases for a Web Application?

With all the planning and research phases behind you, you can move onto choosing the right NoSQL database. There are more than two dozen available currently, but we’ve put together a listing of some of the best.

  1. BangDB: One of the greatest benefits of BangDB is that it offers key-value stores, document storage, and graph storage. That way, you can build a variety of SaaS applications to meet your business needs and scale accordingly.
  2. MongoDB: This database is best for document storage in JSON objects. As one of the industry leaders in NoSQL databases, it offers excellent training and support for developers.
  3. Cassandra: Came out of a Facebook development project and is now an open source NoSQL database. It handles petabytes of information to enable large read and write operations.
  4. Elasticsearch: Is an ideal solution for full-text searches. The open-source database is highly scalable. Developers use it for fuzzy matching and to power chatbots. 
  5. Amazon DynamoDB: Can scale up to 10 trillion requests per day. It’s ideal for providing highly consistent data for applications like online banking or ticketing.

Download BangDB to Power Your SaaS Applications

BangDB is a powerful NoSQL database that can power various types of SaaS applications. With AI built-in, you can use deep learning to power custom experiences. Download BangDB Community now to learn more or consider an Enterprise license for added features and support.

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