How Do NoSQL Databases Work?

NoSQL databases power some of the biggest sites. They’re fast and super scalable but how do they work?

Behind-the-scenes, they use a keyspace to distribute your data across multiple servers or partitions. This allows them to scale horizontally across many thousand servers.

NoSQL databases can operate in multiple modes: as key-value store, document store or wide column store.

You can run your own NoSQL database with software like Cassandra, CouchDB, MongoDB or Scylla. You can also use a cloud version like AWS DynamoDB, Google Cloud BigTable or Azure CosmosDB.


This video wouldn’t be possible without the work of others. Here are the sources I’ve used during my research & script writing:

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"AWS re:Invent 2018: Amazon DynamoDB Deep Dive: Advanced Design Patterns for DynamoDB (DAT401)". (2018). Amazon Web Services.

Amazon DynamoDB. Wikipedia.

Apache Cassandra. Wikipedia.

Barr, J. (2019). Amazon Prime Day 2019 – Powered by AWS.

Smallcombe, M. (2020). "SQL vs NoSQL: 5 Critical Differences".