Choosing the right database is a critical choice when building any software application. All databases have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to performance, so deciding which database has the most benefits and the most minor downsides for your specific use case and data model is an important decision. Below you will find an overview of the key concepts, architecture, features, use cases, and pricing models of AWS Timestream and Apache Cassandra so you can quickly see how they compare against each other.
The primary purpose of this article is to compare how AWS Timestream and Apache Cassandra perform for workloads involving time series data, not for all possible use cases. Time series data typically presents a unique challenge in terms of database performance. This is due to the high volume of data being written and the query patterns to access that data. This article doesn’t intend to make the case for which database is better; it simply provides an overview of each database so you can make an informed decision.
AWS Timestream vs Apache Cassandra Breakdown
Time series database
Distributed wide-column database
Timestream is a fully managed, serverless time series database service that is only available on AWS.
Apache Cassandra follows a masterless, peer-to-peer architecture, where each node in the cluster is functionally the same and communicates with other nodes using a gossip protocol. Data is distributed across nodes in the cluster using consistent hashing, and Cassandra supports tunable consistency levels for read and write operations. It can be deployed on-premises, in the cloud, or as a managed service
Monitoring, observability, IoT, real-time analytics
High write throughput applications, time series data, messaging systems, recommendation engines, IoT
Serverless and automatically scalable, handling ingestion, storage, and query workload without manual intervention
Horizontally scalable with support for data partitioning, replication, and linear scalability as nodes are added
AWS Timestream Overview
AWS Timestream is a fully managed, serverless time series database service developed by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Launched in 2020, Timestream is designed specifically for handling time series data, making it an ideal choice for IoT, monitoring, and analytics applications that require high ingestion rates, efficient storage, and fast querying capabilities. As a part of the AWS ecosystem, Timestream seamlessly integrates with other AWS services, simplifying the process of building and deploying time series applications in the cloud.
Apache Cassandra Overview
Apache Cassandra is a highly scalable, distributed, and decentralized NoSQL database designed to handle large amounts of data across many commodity servers. Originally created by Facebook, Cassandra is now an Apache Software Foundation project. Its primary focus is on providing high availability, fault tolerance, and linear scalability, making it a popular choice for applications with demanding workloads and low-latency requirements.
AWS Timestream for Time Series Data
AWS Timestream is designed specifically for handling time series data, making it a suitable choice for a wide range of applications that require high ingestion rates, efficient storage, and fast querying capabilities. Its dual-tiered storage architecture, consisting of the Memory Store and Magnetic Store, allows Timestream to automatically manage data retention and optimize storage costs based on data age and access patterns. Additionally, Timestream supports SQL-like querying and integrates with popular analytics tools, making it easy for users to gain insights from their time series data.
Apache Cassandra for Time Series Data
Cassandra can be used for handling time series data due to its distributed architecture and support for time-based partitioning. Time series data can be efficiently stored and retrieved using partition keys based on time ranges, ensuring quick access to data points.
AWS Timestream Key Concepts
- Memory Store: In AWS Timestream, the Memory Store is a component that stores recent, mutable time series data in memory for fast querying and analysis.
- Magnetic Store: The Magnetic Store in AWS Timestream is responsible for storing historical, immutable time series data on disk for cost-efficient, long-term storage.
- Time-to-Live (TTL): AWS Timestream allows users to set a TTL on their time series data, which determines how long data is retained in the Memory Store before being moved to the Magnetic Store or deleted.
Apache Cassandra Key Concepts
- Column Family: Similar to a table in a relational database, a column family is a collection of rows, each consisting of a key-value pair.
- Partition Key: A unique identifier used to distribute data across multiple nodes in the cluster, ensuring even distribution and fast data retrieval.
- Replication Factor: The number of copies of data stored across different nodes in the cluster to provide fault tolerance and high availability.
- Consistency Level: A configurable parameter that determines the trade-off between read/write performance and data consistency across the cluster.
AWS Timestream Architecture
Timestream is built on a serverless, distributed architecture that supports SQL-like querying capabilities. Its data model is specifically tailored for time series data, using time-stamped records and a flexible schema that can accommodate varying data granularities and dimensions. The core components of Timestream’s architecture include the Memory Store and the Magnetic Store, which together manage data retention, storage, and querying. The Memory Store is optimized for fast querying of recent data, while the Magnetic Store provides cost-efficient, long-term storage for historical data.
Apache Cassandra Architecture
Cassandra uses a masterless, peer-to-peer architecture, in which all nodes are equal, and there is no single point of failure. This design ensures high availability and fault tolerance. Cassandra’s data model is a hybrid between a key-value and column-oriented system, where data is partitioned across nodes based on partition keys and stored in column families. Cassandra supports tunable consistency, allowing users to adjust the balance between data consistency and performance based on their specific needs.
Free Time-Series Database Guide
Get a comprehensive review of alternatives and critical requirements for selecting yours.
AWS Timestream Features
AWS Timestream’s serverless architecture eliminates the need for users to manage or provision infrastructure, making it easy to scale and reducing operational overhead.
Timestream’s dual-tiered storage architecture, consisting of the Memory Store and Magnetic Store, automatically manages data retention and optimizes storage costs based on data age and access patterns.
AWS Timestream supports SQL-like querying and integrates with popular analytics tools, making it easy for users to gain insights from their time series data.
Apache Cassandra Features
Cassandra can scale horizontally, adding nodes to the cluster to accommodate growing workloads and maintain consistent performance.
With no single point of failure and support for data replication, Cassandra ensures data is always accessible, even in the event of node failures.
Users can balance between data consistency and performance by adjusting consistency levels based on their application’s requirements.
AWS Timestream Use Cases
IoT device monitoring
AWS Timestream’s support for high ingestion rates and efficient storage makes it an ideal choice for monitoring and analyzing data from IoT devices, such as sensors and smart appliances.
Application performance monitoring
Timestream’s fast querying capabilities and ability to handle large volumes of time series data make it suitable for application performance monitoring, allowing users to track and analyze key performance indicators in real-time and identify bottlenecks or issues.
AWS Timestream can be used to monitor and analyze infrastructure metrics, such as CPU utilization, memory usage, and network traffic, enabling organizations to optimize resource utilization, identify potential issues, and maintain a high level of performance for their critical systems.
Apache Cassandra Use Cases
Messaging and Social Media Platforms
Cassandra’s high availability and low-latency make it suitable for messaging and social media applications that require fast, consistent access to user data.
IoT and Distributed Systems
With its ability to handle large amounts of data across distributed nodes, Cassandra is an excellent choice for IoT applications and other distributed systems that generate massive data streams.
Cassandra is a good fit for E-commerce use cases because it has the ability to support things like real-time inventory status and it’s architecture also allows for reduced latency by allowing region specific data to be closer to users.
AWS Timestream Pricing Model
AWS Timestream offers a pay-as-you-go pricing model based on data ingestion, storage, and query execution. Ingestion costs are determined by the volume of data ingested into Timestream, while storage costs are based on the amount of data stored in the Memory Store and Magnetic Store. Query execution costs are calculated based on the amount of data scanned and processed during query execution. Timestream also offers a free tier for users to explore the service and build proof-of-concept applications without incurring costs.
Apache Cassandra Pricing Model
Apache Cassandra is an open-source project, and there are no licensing fees associated with its use. However, costs can arise from hardware, hosting, and operational expenses when deploying a self-managed Cassandra cluster. Additionally, several managed Cassandra services, such as DataStax Astra and Amazon Keyspaces, offer different pricing models based on factors like data storage, request throughput, and support.
Get started with InfluxDB for free
InfluxDB Cloud is the fastest way to start storing and analyzing your time series data.