DynamoDB is a managed NoSQL database service provided by Amazon Web Services. As it is managed by Amazon, users do not have to worry about operations such as hardware provisioning, configuration, and scaling. The offering primarily targets key-value and document storage.


Amazon runs an e-commerce platform for millions of concurrent users, so the underlying services powering the platform must be highly reliable and scalable. Failures in infrastructure would have significant financial consequences and would degrade consumer trust in Amazon's platform. Thus, the motivating purpose behind DynamoDB was a data-store used by these services that could keep up in both availability and scalability such that infrastructure failures would not affect user experience. The original concept and implementation of DynamoDB was first introduced in 2007 with a paper titled: "Dynamo: Amazon’s Highly Available Key-value Store" The managed DynamoDB service was launched by AWS in January of 2012.

Query Interface

Custom API Command-line / Shell

As DynamoDB is hosted by AWS and is a NoSQL database, users must query the database through the internet using the DynamoDB API or SQL statements. Users can send SQL statements over the network or use the API endpoints via the AWS Management Console, the AWS CLI, or the AWS SDKs.


Materialized Views

DynamoDB Streams can create materialized views of data in DynamoDB tables.

Concurrency Control

Optimistic Concurrency Control (OCC)

Users have the ability to enable Optimistic Locking for DynamoDB using the AWS Java SDK. For example, they can specify a property with the annotation: `@DynamoDBVersionAttribute` which is then designated to store the version number for optimistic locking. For conflict resolution, DynamoDB employs a "last writer wins" policy.


Not Supported

Although there are no public implementation details on DynamoDB's internal logging schema, external users can log DynamoDB API operations via AWS CloudTrail. When enabled, AWS CloudTrail logs the DynamoDB API calls made by the user in a JSON format, then stores it in an Amazon S3 bucket.


Not Supported

DynamoDB does not support joins natively as it is a key-value store and not a relational database. However, Amazon's EMR (Elastic MapReduce) service supports joining DynamoDB tables.

Storage Model


DynamoDB uses a Key-Value storage model.

Isolation Levels

Read Uncommitted Read Committed Repeatable Read

DynamoDB has three configurable isolation levels for transactions: Read Uncommitted, Read Committed, and Repeatable Reads. However, DynamoDB does not support locking for range queries, which can potentially result in phantom reads.

Stored Procedures

Not Supported

Although DynamoDB doesn't natively support stored procedures, users can use AWS Lambdas for a similar effect. For example, users can have Lambda functions process incoming DynamoDB stream data and have it be triggered when a specific action is performed on DynamoDB.

Storage Architecture


DynamoDB supports a pluggable local persistence engine that can range from in-memory buffers with persistent backing to purely disk-oriented ones. This allows it to be flexible with an application's access patterns. Known used storage engines by DynamoDB include the Berkeley Database Transactional Data Store and MySQL.

Foreign Keys

Not Supported

DynamoDB does not natively support foreign keys as it is not a relational database.

Data Model

Key/Value Document / XML

DynamoDB is a schemaless, NoSQL database. Each table requires a primary key to identify its corresponding data item. However, there are no such constraints on non-key attributes. DynamoDB can hold both structured or semi-structured data, such as JSON or XML.

System Architecture


Nodes are partitioned via consistent hashing, and utilize gossip-based membership protocol.


Bit Packing / Mostly Encoding

DynamoDB does not natively support compression. However, users can compress large attributes into binary data using compression algorithms like LZO or GZIP. These compression algorithms are available via the AWS SDK.

DynamoDB Logo


Tech Docs




Country of Origin


Start Year


Project Type


Written in


Supported languages

C++, Go, JavaScript, PHP, Python, Ruby, Swift

Operating Systems