Choosing the Best Big Data Databases for Your Business Needs

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Big Data Databases

Key Takeaways

  • Businesses are generating more data than ever before. Big data refers to this growing amount of data.
  • Big data databases are a solution to manage this seemingly unending torrent of data.
  • Big data databases can store and process all types of data, including structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data.
  • Big data databases share common characteristics, such as a NoSQL flexible schema, high availability, data replication, fault tolerance, and robust security.
  • Small businesses may find big data databases unnecessary, as they are expensive and require expert management.
  • Apache is a leader in the big data industry, with HBase, Cassandra, and CouchDB cornering a sizable portion of the market.
  • Amazon is no slouch either, releasing Redshift, DynamoDB, and DocumentDB to cover all possible big data database needs.
  • Microsoft is also investing in this technology, with Azure Cosmos DB constantly evolving.
  • OrientDB and MongoDB are open-source big data databases that offer comparable big data database services in a more accessible way.

Data is at the heart of the modern era. Everything we do, we say, and we believe is based on data. Organizations collect and generate data at an unprecedented scale today. Every day, terabytes of data must be processed and organized to make sense of everything.

That’s where big data databases come in. As data has grown more vital and vast, systems have emerged to tackle organizing and making sense of the chaos. These big data databases are the topic of discussion for today. We will cover what big data is, how big data databases solve big data challenges, and who the major players in the space are. Let’s dive right into it!

Table of Contents
  1. Key Takeaways
  2. What Is Big Data?
    1. Structured Data
    2. Semi-Structured Data
    3. Unstructured Data
  3. What Are Big Data Databases?
    1. Characteristics Of Big Data Databases
    2. What Are the Pros and Cons of Big Data Databases?
  4. Choosing the Right Big Data Database for Your Business
    1. Apache HBase
    2. Apache Cassandra
    3. MongoDB
    4. Amazon Redshift
    5. Azure Cosmos DB
    6. OrientDB
    7. Amazon DynamoDB
    8. Amazon DocumentDB
    9. Apache CouchDB
  5. Conclusion
  6. FAQs

What Is Big Data?

What Is Big Data?

Image Credit: Freepik

Big data is the generally accepted term for the vast, disorganized data collection businesses generate daily. It includes data in all its forms, whether structured, unstructured or semi-structured. A defining characteristic of big data is its immense size, which leaves it incomprehensible to the human mind. The only way to make sense of this large volume of data is through computing technology and tools.

Even with tools, traditional data management methods fail when faced with such complex data. Specialized tools must be deployed to take on this task, and big data databases have emerged in response to the need for such tools.

Structured Data

The typical image in most people’s minds is neatly organized tables with clear entries and labels when we think about data. This is what is typically known as structured data. Structured data is typically the contents of a relational database or spreadsheet. It is stored in neat tables with fixed fields and is easy to sort and search through.

Transactional data, customer information, and business logs are typical examples of structured data within a business.

Semi-Structured Data

Semi-structured data lies between structured and unstructured data. It has no rigid format with fixed fields like structured data but is more organized and comprehensible than unstructured data. XML and JSON files are typical examples of semi-structured data, being flexible while maintaining a semblance of order.

Unstructured Data

Unstructured data is completely chaotic. It has no definitive rhyme or reason and may look like gibberish to the untrained eye. This data is the hardest to manage and demands tools to collect, process, and analyze it. Everything from video streaming data, images, sensor data, and other audio-visual data to emails, social media posts, and similar unorthodox textual data comes under this umbrella.

What Are Big Data Databases?

Big data databases are the technology world’s solution to big data management. Businesses are generating more and more data by the day, and the only way to use that data is through big data databases. These systems are purpose-built to collect, process, and store the large amounts of data businesses must handle.

Big data databases are equipped with robust features, delivering high availability, solid fault tolerance and scalability to keep pace with evolving needs. Big data analytics has become pivotal for business areas like marketing and financial planning, allowing for better data quality assurance from trusted data sources. Without these databases, businesses lose a valuable competitive edge.

Characteristics Of Big Data Databases

Characteristics Of Big Data Databases

Let’s review some of the defining characteristics of big data databases to paint a picture of what you can expect from this technology:

What Are the Pros and Cons of Big Data Databases?

Pros and Cons of Big Data Databases

Despite their apparent requirement in 2024, big data databases may not be the right choice for some businesses. Here is a list of pros and cons to help you weigh the options:

Choosing the Right Big Data Database for Your Business

The market is filled to the brim with big data databases today. Companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon have all developed world-class systems to help cope with expanding data processing needs. With so many options to choose from, it can get quite difficult to make a decision. Businesses have unique data processing needs, and finding the right big data database for the job is challenging.

Below, we have compiled some of the most trusted big data databases currently available. While this list is by no means exhaustive, it covers most of the notable players in the space. Our short overview of each should help your search for the ideal big data database.

Apache HBase

Apache HBase

Image Credit: Hbase

Apache HBase is a popular candidate for the top big data databases list. It is an open-source, non-relational distributed database built as a part of Apache’s Hadoop distributed file system. The software emulates Google’s Bigtable’s ability to deliver real-time lightning-fast read/write access to large datasets.

Features of Apache HBase

Apache Cassandra

Apache Cassandra

Image Credit: Apache Cassandra

Cassandra is another entry to the list from Apache. Cassandra is Apache’s failure-proof big data database management system. Cassandra’s claim to fame is its extreme emphasis on availability. It utilizes a vast network of commodity servers to manage vast data lakes with unmatched redundancy. Even if something goes wrong, the processing never stops, and performance remains unaffected.

Features of Apache Cassandra



Image Credit: MongoDB

MongoDB is a household name in the NoSQL database industry, praised for its unique document-oriented data management model. Rather than utilize rigid table-like structures, MongoDB opts for a more fluid structure with JSON-like documents. These documents house the big data and allow for intuitive control and direct management.

Also Read: The Ultimate Guide to Installing MongoDB on Ubuntu

Features of MongoDB

Amazon Redshift

Amazon Redshift

Image Credit: Amazon Redshift

Redshift is Amazon’s fully managed NoSQL big data storage warehouse service. The service is situated in the cloud and has a storage capacity at the petabyte scale. It is built for enterprise-level data analytics and business intelligence workloads. Redshift is ideal for large multinational corporations and data analytics institutions that can generate massive amounts of data warranting such a data store solution.

Features of Amazon Redshift

Azure Cosmos DB

Azure Cosmos DB

Image Credit: Microsoft Azure Cosmos

Microsoft answers the need for big data database systems with Azure Cosmos DB, a robust, high-speed big data processing service. Azure Cosmos DB comes under the Microsoft Azure ecosystem. It supports various database models, including document-based, graph, key-value, and column-family structures. It comes with Microsoft’s complete backing with consistent updates as new technology emerges.

At the time of this blog’s publication, Azure Cosmos DB is pitching itself as a leader in machine learning and AI-powered application database management.

Features of Azure Cosmos DB



Image Credit: OrientDB

OrientDB is an open-source big data management system that goes toe to toe with the big players. Its main claim to fame is delivering high-octane real-time data processing performance with dynamic scalability. It also supports multiple data models, including the coveted document-based structure.

Features of OrientDB

Amazon DynamoDB

Amazon DynamoDB

Image Credit: Amazon DynamoDB

DynamoDB is Amazon’s solution for big data database management. It is a fully managed NoSQL database service that prides itself on high-speed read/write operations with minimal latency. DynamoDB is suitable for a wide range of data applications, including web and mobile backends, gaming, IoT, etc.

Features of Amazon DynamoDB

Amazon DocumentDB

Amazon DocumentDB

Image Credit: Amazon DocumentDB

Amazon DocumentDB is Amazon’s version of a document-based big data database management system. It is fully compatible with the MongoDB API and can take on MongoDB workloads seamlessly. It is built from the ground up to give you the performance, scalability, and availability you need when operating mission-critical MongoDB workloads.

Features of Amazon DocumentDB

Apache CouchDB

Apache CouchDB

Image Credit: CouchDB

Like MongoDB, Apache CouchDB is an open-source big data database featuring a schema-free, JSON-based document storage format. Optimized for reliability and ease of use, it emphasized data replicability and synchronization. Applications requiring offline capabilities and distributed data are prime candidates for CouchDB.

Features of Apache CouchDB


Big data databases are foundational technology today. As the times change, businesses must adapt to the changing world of big data. Traditional databases are no longer enough to manage the heaps of data generated by the smallest of businesses to the largest of corporations.

Choosing the right infrastructure and accompanying big data technologies is critical today. For infrastructure, you need not go further than RedSwitches. RedSwitches offers cutting-edge bare metal servers that are affordable and optimal for data management. Combining the power of a big data database with RedSwitches infrastructure is a recipe for business success.


Q. What is a Big Data database?

Big data databases are special databases designed to store and process large data sets. They are highly scalable and flexible data management solutions that outperform traditional databases.

Q. What are the key characteristics of Big Data databases?

The most defining characteristic of big data databases is their NoSQL nature. They reject a rigid schema in favor of a more flexible structure. They are also built for consistency and high availability, with high-performance processing capabilities.

Q. What are the different types of Big Data databases?

Big data databases can be divided into a few different categories based on how they store and organize data. Document-based, key-value, column-family, and graph databases are notable big data database types.

Q. How do Big Data databases handle scalability?

Big Data databases handle scalability by distributing data across multiple nodes or servers (horizontal scaling). This allows them to manage increasing data volumes and high-velocity data streams efficiently.

Q. What are some common use cases for Big Data databases?

Big data databases are commonly used for real-time analytics, IoT data management, and content management systems. Social networks, recommendation engines, fraud detection, and large-scale data warehousing also leverage big data database services.

Q. How does Amazon DynamoDB differ from Amazon Redshift?

DynamoDB is designed for high-speed, low-latency read and write operations, suitable for real-time applications, while Redshift is optimized for large-scale data analytics and complex queries. Both databases allow data integration with various AWS services and the Amazon ecosystem.

Q. What are the advantages of using Azure Cosmos DB’s multiple consistency models?

Azure Cosmos DB offers five consistency models (strong, bounded staleness, session, consistent prefix, and eventual). This variety allows developers to optimize for latency, availability, and consistency according to application needs.

Q. What are materialized views in Amazon Redshift, and how are they used?
Materialized views in Amazon Redshift store the result of a query and can be refreshed as needed. They are used to speed up complex queries by reusing precomputed results, enhancing performance.

Q. How does Apache Cassandra ensure high availability?

Cassandra ensures high availability through its decentralized architecture, replication across multiple nodes, and automatic failover mechanisms.

Q. What are OrientDB’s pluggable storage engines, and why are they useful?

OrientDB supports multiple storage engines and enables users to choose the most suitable one for their needs. Choosing the right storage engine is integral in optimizing performance, storage efficiency, and data processing.

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