Home Techonology Google Cloud Firestore vs. Realtime Database – Differences to Observe

Google Cloud Firestore vs. Realtime Database – Differences to Observe

by Mohamed Ali
Google Cloud Firestore vs. Realtime Database - Differences to Observe

In the year 2022, the requirement for the BaaS (Backend as a Service) product will be increasing as every technological solution fetches real-time data for a superior customer experience. 

When it comes to Database as a Service, Google Cloud Firebase is a widely accepted database solution across startups and entrepreneurs.

Google Firebase provides two cloud-based database solutions that help you with real-time data synchronisation.

  1. Firebase Realtime Database 
  2. Google Cloud Firestore

What is Cloud Firestore?

It is the new database of Firebase that streamlines the process of mobile app development. Because of the success of the Realtime Database, Cloud Firestore was built with a new and highly intuitive data model. 

Google Cloud Firestore keeps your data in sync on all the client applications via real-time listeners. It also offers offline support. 

What is a Realtime Database?

It is the original database of Firebase that is highly efficient and provides low latency for mobile applications. It stores and synchronises data with the NoSQL cloud database on all clients in real-time. 

When you create cross-platform applications, all the clients receive one Realtime Database instance. It also updates all the latest data automatically. 

Google Cloud Firestore vs. Realtime Database

#1. Data Model

In the Realtime Database, data is very simple and very easy to get stored as one large JSON tree. When you come across complicated, hierarchical data, it’s quite challenging to organise it on a large scale. 

In Cloud Firestore, data gets stored as a Collection of Documents where simple data is pretty easy to store. Documents are very much like JSON. When you want to organise the difficult, hierarchical data on a large scale, you can use sub-collections. It needs a little bit of denormalization and data flattering. 

#2. Querying 

Realtime Database lets you execute deep queries with limited sorting and filtering functionality on a property, but not for both. By default, it has deep queries that always return the whole subtree. Queries can access data at any point in the JSON tree. These are the queries that do not need an Index. But, specific queries can degrade as your dataset increases. 

Cloud Firestore lets you execute indexed queries with combined sorting and filtering. Within a single query, you can chain filter and merge filtering and sorting on a property. Cloud Firestore has shallow queries that return documents in a certain Collection/Collection group. Shallow queries do not return data of sub-collection instead return entire documents. By default, Cloud Firestore’s queries are indexed, and its execution is based on the result set size instead of a dataset. 

#3. Reliability and Performance 

Realtime Database is a single-region solution that is limited to zonal availability. It provides very low latency. So if you are looking for frequent state-synchronisation, Realtime Database is the best option to choose. 

Cloud Firestore is a multi-region database solution that scales automatically and safeguards your data across multiple data centres. It is available in regional/multi-region configurations globally and also ensures scalability and reliability.  

#4. Write and Transection 

With Realtime Database, you are enabled to execute only basic write and transaction operations. The data is written via set and update operations and the transactions of the Realtime Database are atomic on a particular data sub-tree.

In the Cloud Firestore, it is possible to execute advance write and transaction operations. Here also, the data is written through a set and update operations. You can also write data using advanced transformations like Array and numeric operators. In the Cloud Firestore, the transactions can atomically read and write data from any part of the database.  

#5. Security  

Realtime Database makes use of cascading rules language that splits up validation and authorization. Here the only security option is the Firebase Database rules. With the help of those rules, reads and writes from mobile SDKs are secured. The data get validated individually using the ‘Validate’ rule. 

Cloud Firestore offers highly powerful security for mobile, web, and server SDKs. Mobile and web SDKs leverage Cloud Firestore Security Rules whereas server SDKs leverage Identity and Access Management (IAM). The rules do not cascade until you use a wildcard. Here, the rules can restrict queries. It means if the query result includes data that does not have user access, the whole query collapses. 

#6. Scalability 

In Realtime Database, Sharding is needed for scaling. In a single database, it scales around 200000 simultaneous Connections and 100 Writes within a second. You also need to split the data into different databases. There is no limit on write rates, for any single data piece. 

Cloud Firestore supports auto-scaling. It scales up to 1 Million simultaneous Connections and 10000 Writes within a second. Limits can grow in the future. For an individual Document/Index, it has limits on write rates. 

#7. Realtime and Offline Support 

Both, Realtime Database and Cloud Firestore provide offline support for Android/iOS clients. Both help with local data storage to offline-ready web and mobile applications and possess real-time SDKs. 

#8. Presence 

Presence is helpful when you want to identify a client’s online/offline status. Realtime Database offers updates whenever the status of a client’s connection changes by recording it. 

When it comes to Cloud Firestore, it does not support presence on a native basis. You can synchronise Cloud Firestore and Realtime Database by using cloud functions. 

#9. Pricing   

Realtime Database costs only for the storage and bandwidth, but rates are higher. 

Cloud Firestore costs according to operations executed in the database and with minimal rates, storage, and bandwidth. It backs day-to-day spending limitations for Google App Engine projects. It assures that you do not go beyond your comfortable expenses. 

Summing Up 

You can use the databases together within your same Firebase web or mobile application. Both have the ability to store the same sort of data. Client libraries also perform similarly for both of the database solutions. 

Just take into account above mentioned differences before you give the nod to any of the solutions.

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