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Spark Service Datastore Selection

Date: 2018/04/10


It's desirable for some data to be persisted to file. Currently known values include:

  • A user-defined ID alias (environment_sensor_1 is equivalent to [1, 5, 42]).
  • A user-defined display name (environment_sensor_1 is displayed as "backyard shed sensor")

As the data is closely coupled with specific controllers (ID alias matches to hardware ID), this data store should be run inside the device connector service.



  • Persistent key/value mapping
  • Single item write/read
  • Must be compatible with ARMv7 and AMD architecture
  • Does not require additional processes
  • Compatible with asyncio
  • Actively maintained
  • Small footprint
  • Free


  • Supports simple data migration
  • Plug-n-play Python (de)serialization library
  • Open source

Don't care:

  • Multi-process support
  • Access control (authentication / authorization)



Lacks asyncio bindings.


SQLite + ORM asyncio library not found.

Couchbase Lite

Does not have Python bindings (

Redis, PostgreSQL, MySQL, CouchDB

Large, add unneccessary features, and require external processes.

MongoDB, Codernity, Buzhug

Requires an external process.

TinyDB (with asyncio wrapper)

TinyDB seems well supported, but the wrapper is fan-made. It's also optimized around size, not speed.

Using its recommended optimization features (different json library, and a caching middleware), its performance seems acceptable. If speed is not taken into account, then its use of JSON files is a plus. It makes data migration and transfer a lot easier.


Really nice syntax. Does not support asyncio. A GitHub issue recommends thread workers


The simplest and most straightforward implementation that matches requirements is TinyDB. Its drawbacks are performance, and that the asyncio wrapper library does not have a large backing community or company.

We'll have to migrate to a database running in an external container if performance becomes an issue.

aiotinydb is sufficiently small that in the worst case scenario (stops being maintained, no replacement available), we can maintain it ourselves.

As TinyDB also offers in-memory storage, we can reuse the same database access layer for the object cache.

An added bonus is that TinyDB serializes to plain JSON. This makes its backing files user-readable, and allows easy data migration.