If you’re developing applications or games for iOS, Android, or web apps, you’re probably familiar with the set of tools known as Firebase. One of the key services offered by Firebase is Firestore, which is a scalable NoSQL cloud database service.
Developers are increasingly choosing to store data in the cloud for a number of reasons. It could be the need to share or sync data with users and their friends or the desire to retrieve data from multiple devices. Although storing data in the cloud may seem relatively simple, there are some underlying considerations worth knowing.
Creating your own set of servers to ensure continuous data access consumes a significant amount of time and money. Another concern is the fear of potential attacks, which requires constant vigilance to ensure data security.
Furthermore, as an application grows in popularity, the need to scale servers becomes inevitable, causing additional problems. Fortunately, there’s Firestore.
What is Firestore?
As we already know, Firestore is one of the services available within the Firebase platform. It is a NoSQL database designed for storing, synchronizing, and sharing data in real-time between clients and servers.
Firestore offers a range of features that make data management easier. It provides built-in real-time synchronization, offline support, and ACID transactions. ACID stands for atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability — a set of properties that guarantee correct transaction processing in databases. Offline support is crucial if you want to make sure your users can continue to use the service even when they lose internet connectivity.
Benefits of using Firestore
Firestore allows for faster application launches. This is made possible through built-in real-time synchronization, offline support, and ACID transactions.
Another benefit is easy scalability, which makes it easier to handle fluctuations in traffic or its cessation. It automatically scales both up and down, ensuring high availability at levels ranging from 99.99% to 99.999%.
Like most tools and services available within Google Cloud, Firestore operates on a pay-as-you-go basis. You don’t have to worry about upfront costs or unused resources.
Who uses Firestore?
One company that has found Firestore to be a tailor-made solution is Forbes, one of the leading media giants in the business, investment, technology, entrepreneurship, and lifestyle sectors. Forbes migrated its static processing database to Firestore, enabling a more flexible cloud-based system.
With over 2,500 authors contributing up to 400 articles per day, Forbes sought a way to modernize its platform and move to the cloud. Firestore, along with other Google Cloud services such as BigQuery, data warehouses, and Google Analytics, helped them achieve their goals.
Forbes found the greatest advantage of using Firestore to be a reduction in technical debt by replacing a custom, complex, and inflexible infrastructure with a simpler solution. As a NoSQL document database, it reduced the need for maintenance work and improved the user experience for content authors.
The absence of configuration and management requirements, cloud-native functionality, cost efficiency, and low data transfer latency were compelling arguments.
Key features of Firestore
Firestore offers serverless architecture, which is an important consideration when selecting Google Cloud products. It synchronises in real time and offline and boasts a powerful query engine, client libraries for popular programming languages, and robust data security.
As a fully managed, serverless database, Firestore can be seamlessly scaled up or down without downtime for maintenance.
Real-time synchronisation and offline mode
These features are particularly relevant for applications with multiple users or IoT devices. Firestore is designed to handle real-time workloads and activity tracking, making it suitable for applications or games with user communities.
Powerful query engine
Advanced ACID transactions provide greater flexibility in structuring data, which Firestore leverages effectively.
Client libraries for popular languages
Firestore allows users to focus on application development. It offers a rich set of client libraries for web, iOS, Android, Flutter, C++, and Unity. The service also supports traditional programming libraries using Node.js, Java, Go, Ruby, and PHP.
Firestore allows for seamless integration with Firebase Authentication and Identity Platform. It provides customisable security rules for identity and access management, based on identity and data validation using a configuration language.
Automatic replication across multiple Google Cloud regions, combined with strong data consistency, ensures that your data is not only secure but also available at a level reaching 99.999%, even in the event of failures.
If you’re already using Datastore, you don’t need to make any changes to your applications. Firestore provides the same performance and cost parameters as Datastore.
How much does Firestore cost?
As with many cloud services, the pricing depends on various factors and conditions. To determine the most financially optimal usage scenario for Firestore, we recommend contacting a certified FOTC cloud architect. They can provide answers not only about pricing but also assist with configuring the service ensuring seamless integration with other Google Cloud services.
The cost of Firestore depends on the number of documents, indexed items queried by aggregations, memory usage, and network throughput.
Similar to other Google Cloud services, a free tier is available. For specific details, consult an FOTC expert.