How to choose the right mobile app database for your application

How to choose the right mobile app database for your application

April 30, 2024

The realm of mobile app development is intricately tied to the database at its core. Whether crafting a new app or enhancing an existing one, the database choice significantly impacts functionality, performance, and scalability. However, amidst a plethora of options, making the right selection can seem daunting. Let's unravel the complexities and pinpoint the key factors in choosing the ideal mobile app database.

A wide-ranging database universe

The spectrum of mobile app databases spans a wide range and each database type offers unique features tailored to different application requirements. Here are some popular databases to build Android apps and iPhone apps:

1. MySQL: An open-source, multi-threaded, and easy-to-use SQL database.
2. PostgreSQL: A powerful, open-source object-based, relational database that is highly customisable.
3. Amazon DynamoDB: It’s a fully managed, serverless key-value NoSQL database service with consistent single-digit millisecond performance at any scale. 
4. Redis: An open-source, low-maintenance, key/value store that is used for data caching in mobile applications.
5. MongoDB Realm– It’s a fully managed backend service to build, deploy and scale mobile apps effortlessly. It is known for its ability to build offline-first apps and sync data between Realm mobile database and the cloud. 
6. Memcached: A distributed cache system that is multi-threaded, and used primarily for caching objects to speed up applications by alleviating database load.
7. Elasticsearch: Known for its ability to fetch faster results from a large number of inventory items. It is widely used as a distributed text search engine for working with large datasets in real time. 
8. MariaDB: A popular open-source relational database that was created by the original developers of MySQL.
9. Cassandra: A free and open source, NoSQL database which is designed to handle a large amount of unstructured data at any scale.
10. SQLite: Embedded database, common usage is to provide local data storage capabilities on mobile phones.
11. Neo4j: Powered by a native graph database, Neo4j maintains data relationships and delivers unmatched performance by providing lightning-fast queries and deeper context for analytics. 
12. InfluxDB: An open source, fast and time series database which is written in Go.
13. RethinkDB: An open-source, and document-oriented database which stores data in JSON format and sync in real time with the application.
14. Riak DB: A distributed NoSQL database, which offers high availability, fault tolerance and data resiliency as its core feature.
15. CouchDB: A document-oriented NoSQL database which uses JSON to store data and javascript as its main query language.
16. Couchbase: A full Stack NoSQL database that supports offline sync, full CRUD, and query capabilities and runs locally on the device.
17. ArangoDB: An open source NoSQL database which is known for its multi-model, graph and geo algorithm features.

Understanding your data structure

The structure of your data plays a pivotal role in database selection. Offline apps store data locally, while online apps rely on server access. Synchronised apps blend offline functionality with periodic data synchronisation. Tailoring the database choice to your data structure ensures optimal performance and functionality.

Size matters: Scaling data management

The volume of data generated and retrieved is a critical consideration. Selecting a database capable of handling your app's data volume efficiently is essential for seamless scalability and performance. MongoDB excels with unstructured data, while MySQL thrives with structured data.

Speed, scale, and data modelling

Speed and scalability are paramount, dictating how efficiently your app handles reads and writes. MongoDB's prowess in handling unstructured data contrasts MySQL's efficiency with structured data. Data modelling is crucial, especially for apps requiring complex queries or multi-database management, as seen in platforms like Uber.
Note that our team of custom software development experts excels in helping enterprises and startups streamline their business performance through data-driven innovation.

Ensuring data security

Synchronised and decentralised storage demand robust data security measures. Encryption, authentication flexibility, and granular access controls are imperative for safeguarding sensitive data. Adhering to security standards ensures trust and reliability among users.

Platform compatibility and future-proofing

Consideration for multiple platforms, including iOS/Android app development and emerging technologies like IoT and wearables, is vital. React Native offers cross-platform compatibility, streamlining development and database integration for diverse mobile ecosystems.

Must read: Designing digital products for millennials: The two most important rules to follow.

Choosing wisely for success

In conclusion, selecting the right mobile app database hinges on aligning database features with your app's data structure, scalability needs, speed requirements, security protocols, platform compatibility, and future expansion plans. A meticulous assessment of these factors ensures a robust foundation for your mobile app's success.