AWS Kinesis vs DynamoDB Comparison (2023): Which Is Better Message Queue For My Notification System?

Anjali Arya
September 17, 2023

Understanding DynamoDB and its Benefits

DynamoDB is a fully managed NoSQL database service provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS). It delivers single-digit millisecond latency and is built to give exceptional performance at any scale. This makes it an excellent option for applications like notification services that need low-latency data access.

Key Benefits of DynamoDB

Some key benefits of DynamoDB are:-

  1. Automatic Scaling: DynamoDB can automatically scale up or down based on workload. It manages the increased load automatically as your notification service expands and the number of messages rises. This scalability guarantees that your notification service can satisfy the needs of a user base that is fast growing.
  2. Built-in Security: DynamoDB has built-in security capabilities like fine-grained access control, encryption in transit and at rest, and interaction with AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM). These security precautions help safeguard your notification service and guarantee the confidentiality of critical user information.
  3. Availability and Durability: It provides high availability and fault tolerance by replicating data across several Availability Zones. This implies that your notification service can run uninterrupted, even during a server outage or a natural disaster.
  4. Trigger support for DynamoDB streams: You may track and respond to changes in your table data with DynamoDB Streams. This function can be extremely helpful in creating unique notification routines. For example, you can utilize streams to make notifications depending on particular events or data changes.
  5. Cost-Effectiveness: Compared to specific alternative data storage options, DynamoDB may be more affordable for small- to medium-sized applications. You can select the price model that best fits your budget and consumption patterns from those provided by AWS, including on-demand and allocated capacity.
  6. High Throughput and Low Latency: DynamoDB is perfect for real-time applications since it is optimized for low-latency reads and writes. This implies that messages can be sent to users of a notification service fast, resulting in a responsive and seamless user experience.

Understanding Kinesis and its Benefits

AWS offers Kinesis, a fully managed streaming data platform. It is perfect for applications that demand continuous and quick data ingestion and processing since it provides a reliable solution for real-time data streaming at scale.

Key Benefits of Kinesis

Some key benefits of Kinesis are:-

  1. Real-time Data Processing: Kinesis is its capacity to manage massive data streams in real-time. Using this tool, you can gather, store, and analyze data streams from numerous sources, making quick decisions and prompt action based on the most recent information.
  2. Scalability: Kinesis is well-suited for applications that produce a high volume of notifications per unit of time since it is optimized for managing massive volumes of data. It can quickly scale up to handle increasing demands.
  3. High Throughput and Low Latency Streaming: Large amounts of streaming data can be handled with Kinesis. This implies that a notification service can effectively handle the high frequency of notice generation and processing.
  4. Ordered Data Delivery: Data is sent to customers in a specified order with the Kinesis. This is important because it ensures that alerts are delivered to users logically and coherently for some sorts of notifications where the order of occurrences is essential.
  5. Cost-effective: Kinesis is a cost-effective alternative for applications with high notification quantities. It is a good option for notification systems with high rates of event generation because its price mechanism is compatible with high-throughput scenarios.
  6. Security: Strong security features offered by Kinesis include encryption in transit and at rest, granular access control, and interaction with AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM). This guarantees that your notification data is secure and complies with applicable laws and standards.

DynamoDB vs. Kinesis 

Let’s see the difference between DynamoDB and Kinesis.

Aspects DynamoDB Kinesis
Location Local to DynamoDB, part of the DynamoDB service A standalone service provided by AWS
Scope Limited to item-level modifications within a DynamoDB table. Supports streaming and processing of data in any format.
IAM Integration Integrated with AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) Supports fine-grained access control through IAM
Cost No additional cost for DynamoDB users Follows a separate pay-per-use pricing model
Retention Period Maximum retention period of 24 hours Allows a retention period of up to 7 days
Message Ordering Ordered at the item level within a shard Ordered at the shard level
Shard Capacity Supports up to 1,000 records per second per shard Maximum capacity of 2,000 records per second per shard
Streams per Table Limited to a single stream per DynamoDB table. Supports multiple streams per shard, offering greater flexibility.
Throughput High throughput for item-level modifications. High throughput for streaming data.
Latency Low latency for reads and writes. Low latency for data processing and delivery.
Security Integrated with IAM for access control. Fine-grained access control through IAM.
Use Cases Real-time applications, low-latency workloads, small to medium-scale applications with straightforward notification workflows. High-throughput applications, complex notification logic, applications integrated with big data analytics pipelines.
Durability Data is replicated across multiple Availability Zones for high durability. Data is replicated across multiple Availability Zones for high durability.

Cons of DynamoDB and Kinesis

DynamoDB Cons:-

  • Cost: DynamoDB can be pricey, particularly for huge datasets or high throughput. If the expense is not effectively handled, it might rise quickly.
  • Limited Query Capabilities: DynamoDB has fewer query options than conventional relational databases despite being built for high-speed access. Complex querying or analytics jobs may become more difficult as a result.
  • Complexity of Data Modeling: Creating the DynamoDB schema can be challenging, particularly for applications with intricate relationships or a wide range of access behaviors. It necessitates having a solid grasp of the application's requirements.
  • Limited Transaction: Compared to conventional relational databases, DynamoDB offers less support for complicated transactional processes.
  • Limitations of the Global Secondary Index (GSI): GSIs can offer query flexibility but are constrained in consistency and write throughput.

AWS Kinesis Cons:-

  • Setup Difficulty: Compared to more straightforward messaging services like Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS), Kinesis setup and configuration can be more difficult.
  • Requirement for Real-Time Processing: Kinesis is made to process streaming data in real-time. Kinesis could be over-engineered if your use case doesn't call for real-time processing.
  • Shard Management: It can be difficult to control how many shards are in a Kinesis stream. Lack of shard allocation may prevent you from managing the volume of incoming data. Allocating too many shards, however, can be expensive.
  • Limited Retention Period: Data recorded in a Kinesis stream is only kept for a specific amount of time (the default is 24 hours). Implementing more storage will be necessary to save the data longer.
  • No Built-In Notification Mechanism: Notifications cannot be sent using Kinesis without a built-in notification system. You'll need to combine it with other AWS services or develop your own solutions for actual notice delivery.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing Between DynamoDB and Kinesis

Some of the critical factors to consider while choosing the right message broker between DynamoDB and Kinesis.

Data Structure

You must think about the structure of your data and how it should be processed and stored. DynamoDB provides a flexible schema-less database that can handle structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data. If your data is predominantly in a streaming format, Kinesis, on the other hand, maybe a better choice as it is built for processing and analyzing massive volumes of data streams.


To Handle growing data volumes, both DynamoDB and Kinesis provide seamless scaling. However, Kinesis is made for increasing data ingestion and processing capacity, whereas DynamoDB's scalability is concentrated on storage capacity. Consider your expected growth and select a message broker that meets your scalability requirements.


Consider your budgetary constraints when comparing the pricing plans for DynamoDB and Kinesis. While Kinesis pricing is mainly based on data ingestion rates and shard (processing unit) utilization, DynamoDB fees are based on provisioned throughput capacity and storage. Analyze your anticipated data volume and processing needs to determine the expenses involved.

Use Case

Choosing the best message broker requires thoroughly understanding your unique use case. Kinesis can be a better option if your application needs high-speed data ingestion and real-time data streaming. On the other hand, DynamoDB can be the best option if you require a highly scalable NoSQL database with low latency access.

Suitability for Notification Services: DynamoDB vs. Kinesis

Both DynamoDB and Kinesis are services offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) that are intended for various use cases and have diverse functions, especially when managing notifications.

Choose Amazon Kinesis If: 

  • Kinesis works well when quickly processing and evaluating large amounts of streaming data. Kinesis may be a suitable choice if your notification system depends on the real-time processing of massive amounts of data.
  • Data can be ingested and processed in real-time using Kinesis Streams. The data stream can be processed more thoroughly using Kinesis Analytics.
  • Streaming data can be loaded into other AWS services via Kinesis Firehose for additional processing and notification delivery.

Choose DynamoDB If: 

  • Although DynamoDB isn't made especially to handle notifications, notification systems can be implemented using DynamoDB in conjunction with other AWS services.
  • User preferences, notification history, and other notification-related data can all be stored in DynamoDB.
  • Changes to the data in the database can be captured and processed using DynamoDB Streams, which is helpful in setting off notifications.

Kinesis might be a better option if you're creating a notification system that needs to process massive amounts of streaming data in real time. However, DynamoDB can still be used with other AWS services to create a successful notification system if you're seeking a more accessible solution and your notifications don't depend on the real-time processing of massive datasets.

Written by:
Anjali Arya
Product & Analytics, SuprSend

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