IBM Cloudant versus the competition

Cloudant wins over Amazon DynamoDB for its pricing model, flexibility and performance.

What is IBM Cloudant?

IBM® Cloudant® is a fully managed, distributed database that is optimized for handling heavy workloads that are typical of large, fast-growing web and mobile apps. Available as an SLA-backed, IBM Cloud® service, Cloudant elastically scales throughput and storage independently. Our expertise helps take away the pain of hardware and software provisioning, patching and upgrades, while offering a 99.99% SLA.

Cloudant's API and powerful replication protocol are compatible with Apache CouchDB to pair for hybrid or multicloud architectures.

→ Learn more about using IBM Cloudant and Apache CouchDB in hybrid cloud environments

Use cases

Serverless web application and API

In this tutorial, you'll create a serverless web application by hosting static website content on GitHub Pages and implementing the application back end using IBM Cloud Functions.

View the tutorial

Diagram of a serverless web application and API

Mobile application with serverless back end

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to use IBM Cloud Functions along with cognitive and data services to build a serverless back end for a mobile application.

View the tutorial

 Diagram representing use of Cloudant in a serverless mobile app

Gather, visualize, analyze and detect anomalies in IoT data

This tutorial walks you through setting up an IoT device, gathering data in the IBM Watson IoT® Platform. Explore data, create visualizations and use advanced machine learning services to analyze data and detect anomalies in the historical data.

View the tutorial

Diagram representing use of Cloudant in an IoT app

Cloudant features


Instantly deploy an instance, create databases and independently scale throughput capacity and data storage to meet your application requirements.


Cloudant helps support PCI, ISO27001 and SOC 2 Type 2 compliance, as well as HIPAA readiness.

Global availability

Cloudant is available worldwide and easily distributes data across availability zones, regions and continents for global application performance and disaster recovery requirements.

Zero vendor lock-in

Cloudant is the only fully managed cloud database service with an open-source drop-in replacement in Apache CouchDB. Deploy them in tandem for full hybrid or multicloud architectures.

Powerful API

Store JSON documents with an HTTP API. Enhance your applications with built-in key-value, MapReduce, full-text search and geospatial querying.

Transaction engine

This new architecture brings consistency and elimination of in-region conflicts. Users can scale more for less, with global querying and storage that’s as much as four times less expensive.

Client success stories

Explore the technology

Man drawing clear whiteboard

A guide to Apache CouchDB

Explore the features, benefits and ease of use CouchDB brings to enterprise database management.

array of data servers

A guide to NoSQL databases

Everything you need to know about NoSQL, a type of database design that offers more flexibility than traditional databases.

person in cable routing racks

Cloud databases from IBM

Discover the rich portfolio of SQL and NoSQL databases designed for transactional workloads, web and mobile apps and fast analytics.

What does IBM Cloudant manage for me?

Cloudant handles software and hardware provisioning, management and scaling, and support. You'll receive high availability and elastic scaling of the hardware as your provisioned throughput capacity needs change. Learn about the other benefits of database-as-a-service (DBaaS) here.

What is a document data store?

Document data stores are represented in JSON, or JavaScript Object Notation, where every document is itself a complex data structure. Documents can contain nested structures of various data types, including other objects. Users of a document database can query these complex structures, retrieving or updating portions of the document, or the entire document, without the need to lock down the database to do so. Documents are stored and retrieved through a primary key that is unique to every document, similar to the key in a key-value store.


Part of JSON’s appeal with developers stems from its schema, which can rapidly evolve without intervention by database administrators. JSON offers a simple and elegant model for persisting Java or JavaScript objects thanks to the tight affinity that JSON has with JavaScript. This allows developers to construct a data layer solution without the need for heavy-weight persistence solutions such as OpenJPA or Hibernate. Finally, storing a single JSON document to represent a real-world object is much more intuitive than storing N numbers of rows in a relational database as a normalized object.

How is Cloudant different than CouchDB?

While Cloudant is API-compatible with CouchDB, the primary difference in functionality between Cloudant and Apache CouchDB is that Cloudant has layered additional open-source technologies for full-text search and geospatial indexing capabilities. IBM has also developed its own monitoring and operations systems to ensure high availability and performance. Furthermore, Cloudant engineers handle all the ongoing database monitoring and infrastructure maintenance, so you can spend more time building your app and less time worrying about your database.  

Apache CouchDB is an active open-source project, protecting customers against vendor lock-in as a reliable alternative to document-oriented database vendors. With Cloudant and CouchDB, the migration path in either direction is simple. The two systems share a common replication protocol, which lets developers synchronize copies of their Cloudant data to a remote CouchDB instance — or vice versa — at the push of a button. 

Check out these docs for differences between Cloudant and CouchDB API endpoints.

What is offline-first architecture?

Offline-first architecture means building your app without requiring a connection to the internet. Instead of assuming the lack of connectivity is an error condition, the app is designed to provide users the opportunity to interact with your app without connection. Using Cloudant Mobile Sync, mobile apps can collect and read data even if network connectivity is unavailable. When the connection is re-established, the data will be synced with IBM Cloudant.  

Cloudant works seamlessly with Hoodie and PouchDB. Hoodie is an open-source Node.js back end for offline-first applications. PouchDB is an open-source JavaScript database that works in web browsers and can sync with Cloudant. This interoperability enables seamless data replication and syncing across any data store that implements the CouchDB Replication Protocol, powering endless varieties of offline-first data architectures. Read more about offline-first.

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