ScyllaDB Announces Alternator, an Open Source Amazon DynamoDB-Compatible API

Users of Amazon’s NoSQL database-as-a-service can seamlessly transition to ScyllaDB Open Source for better performance, lower costs and no vendor lock-in

PALO ALTO, CALIF. — Sept. 11, 2019ScyllaDB today announced the Alternator project, open-source software that will enable application- and API-level compatibility between ScyllaDB and Amazon’s NoSQL cloud database, Amazon DynamoDB. ScyllaDB’s DynamoDB-compatible API will be available for use with ScyllaDB Open Source, supporting the majority of DynamoDB use cases and features.

Alternator allows DynamoDB users to migrate to an open source database that runs anywhere — on any cloud platform, on-premises, on bare-metal, virtual machines or Kubernetes.

“Cloud vendors routinely commercialize open source software,” said Dor Laor, CEO and Co-Founder, ScyllaDB. “With Alternator, we’re reversing that trend by creating open source options for a commercial cloud product. Open source software is all about disrupting the existing model and creating new opportunities for users. True to our roots, we’ve first released the Alternator source upstream for feedback and exploration; later this year we’ll incorporate it in our free open source distribution, followed by our enterprise and hosted products.”

Both ScyllaDB and DynamoDB have their roots in the landmark Dynamo paper, which described a NoSQL database with tunable consistency. However, ScyllaDB’s close-to-the-hardware design significantly improves on DynamoDB’s price/performance ratio, democratizing access to real-time big data. Benchmarks show that ScyllaDB performs 5X-20X faster than DynamoDB with better, consistently lower latency.

Alternator gives developers greater control over large-scale, real-time big data deployments, starting with costs. A typical ScyllaDB cluster will cost 10%-20% the expense of the equivalent DynamoDB table. Alternator also frees developers to access their data without limits by eliminating payment per operation — they can run as many operations as their clusters support, keeping costs low and predictable.

Alternator gives developers the ability to control the number of replicas and the balance of cost vs. redundancy to suit their applications. They can set and change the replica number per data center, the number of zones and the consistency level on a per-query basis.

Other advantages of ScyllaDB over DynamoDB:

  • Workloads that access the same dataset can be controlled and a different amount of shares can be mapped, thereby allowing SLAs per workload.
  • ScyllaDB supports objects as large as tens of megabytes, and partitions of multiple gigabytes.
  • Unbalanced key distribution works better, especially for real-life Zipfian distribution.
  • ScyllaDB has excellent observability and built-in support for Prometheus and Grafana.

Last but not least, ScyllaDB is open source first and allows extension and modification, while also offering paid hosted and enterprise distributions for customers who need them.

ScyllaDB will share additional insights on Alternator and a project roadmap at its upcoming user conference, ScyllaDB Summit 2019, November 5-6 at the Parc 55 hotel in San Francisco.

For more information on Project Alternator, please visit

About ScyllaDB

ScyllaDB is the monstrously fast and scalable NoSQL database. Fully compatible with Apache Cassandra, ScyllaDB embraces a shared-nothing approach that increases throughput and storage capacity as much as 10X that of Cassandra. Comcast, Starbucks, Ola Cabs, Samsung, IBM, Grab, MediaMath, AppNexus, and many more leading companies have adopted ScyllaDB to realize order-of-magnitude performance improvements and reduce hardware costs. ScyllaDB was founded by the team responsible for the KVM hypervisor and is backed by Bessemer Venture Partners, Eight Roads Ventures, Innovation Endeavors, Wing Venture Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, TLV Partners, Magma Venture Partners, Western Digital Capital and Samsung Ventures. For more information:

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Chris Ulbrich
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