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Advice on Algolia,, and Slate
Rana Usman Shahid
Chief Technology Officer at TechAvanza · | 6 upvotes · 380.8K views
Needs advice

Hey everybody! (1) I am developing an android application. I have data of around 3 million record (less than a TB). I want to save that data in the cloud. Which company provides the best cloud database services that would suit my scenario? It should be secured, long term useable, and provide better services. I decided to use Firebase Realtime database. Should I stick with Firebase or are there any other companies that provide a better service?

(2) I have the functionality of searching data in my app. Same data (less than a TB). Which search solution should I use in this case? I found Elasticsearch and Algolia search. It should be secure and fast. If any other company provides better services than these, please feel free to suggest them.

Thank you!

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Replies (2)
Josh Dzielak
Co-Founder & CTO at Orbit · | 8 upvotes · 284.4K views

Hi Rana, good question! From my Firebase experience, 3 million records is not too big at all, as long as the cost is within reason for you. With Firebase you will be able to access the data from anywhere, including an android app, and implement fine-grained security with JSON rules. The real-time-ness works perfectly. As a fully managed database, Firebase really takes care of everything. The only thing to watch out for is if you need complex query patterns - Firestore (also in the Firebase family) can be a better fit there.

To answer question 2: the right answer will depend on what's most important to you. Algolia is like Firebase is that it is fully-managed, very easy to set up, and has great SDKs for Android. Algolia is really a full-stack search solution in this case, and it is easy to connect with your Firebase data. Bear in mind that Algolia does cost money, so you'll want to make sure the cost is okay for you, but you will save a lot of engineering time and never have to worry about scale. The search-as-you-type performance with Algolia is flawless, as that is a primary aspect of its design. Elasticsearch can store tons of data and has all the flexibility, is hosted for cheap by many cloud services, and has many users. If you haven't done a lot with search before, the learning curve is higher than Algolia for getting the results ranked properly, and there is another learning curve if you want to do the DevOps part yourself. Both are very good platforms for search, Algolia shines when buliding your app is the most important and you don't want to spend many engineering hours, Elasticsearch shines when you have a lot of data and don't mind learning how to run and optimize it.

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Mike Endale
Cloud FirestoreCloud Firestore

Rana - we use Cloud Firestore at our startup. It handles many million records without any issues. It provides you the same set of features that the Firebase Realtime Database provides on top of the indexing and security trims. The only thing to watch out for is to make sure your Cloud Functions have proper exception handling and there are no infinite loop in the code. This will be too costly if not caught quickly.

For search; Algolia is a great option, but cost is a real consideration. Indexing large number of records can be cost prohibitive for most projects. Elasticsearch is a solid alternative, but requires a little additional work to configure and maintain if you want to self-host.

Hope this helps.

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Decisions about Algolia,, and Slate
Phillip Manwaring
Developer at Coach Align · | 5 upvotes · 37.2K views

The new pricing model Algolia introduced really sealed the deal for us on this one - much closer to pay-as-you-go. And didn't want to spend time learning more about hosting/optimizing Elasticsearch when that isn't our core business problem - would much rather pay others to solve that problem for us.

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Pros of Algolia
Pros of
Pros of Slate
  • 126
    Ultra fast
  • 95
    Super easy to implement
  • 73
    Modern search engine
  • 71
    Excellent support
  • 70
    Easy setup, fast and relevant
  • 46
    Typos handling
  • 40
    Search analytics
  • 31
    Designed to search records, not pages
  • 30
    Distributed Search Network
  • 30
    Multiple datacenters
  • 10
    Smart Highlighting
  • 9
    Search as you type
  • 8
  • 8
  • 6
    Super fast, easy to set up
  • 5
    Database search
  • 5
    Amazing uptime
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
    Great documentation
  • 4
    Highly customizable
  • 3
    Beautiful UI
  • 3
    Powerful Search
  • 3
  • 2
    Awesome aanltiycs and typos hnadling
  • 2
    Integrates with just about everything
  • 1
    Developer-friendly frontend libraries
  • 1
    Ok to use
  • 1
    Fast response time
  • 1
    Github integration
  • 1
    Smooth platform
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
    Is it fool
  • 0
  • 18
    Great UI
  • 15
  • 10
  • 10
    Cute mascot
  • 8
    Looks great and is fun to use
  • 5
    It's friggin awesome
  • 3
    Make sample API calls inside the docs
  • 5
    Easy setup
  • 3
    Simple to Use

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Cons of Algolia
Cons of
Cons of Slate
  • 11
  • 4
    Support is awful
  • 3
    No backup and restore capability
  • 2
    Important parts of the CSS are locked
  • 2
    Document structure is severely restricted
  • 2
    Full of bugs
  • 2
    No notifications of edits by other users
  • 1
    Supports only two documents plus a blog
  • 1
    Does not support pre-request scripts
  • 1
    Random pages display content of other pages instead
  • 1
    Review and comment functionality is hard to work with
  • 1
    Navigation in user-facing copy is spotty
  • 1
    All admins have full editing rights
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    What is Algolia?

    Our mission is to make you a search expert. Push data to our API to make it searchable in real time. Build your dream front end with one of our web or mobile UI libraries. Tune relevance and get analytics right from your dashboard.

    What is

    It is an easy-to-use tool to help you build out documentation! Each documentation site that you publish is a project where there is space for documentation, interactive API reference guides, a changelog, and much more.

    What is Slate?

    Slate helps you create beautiful API documentation. Think of it as an intelligent, responsive documentation template for your API.

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      Blog Posts

      Jun 19 2015 at 6:37AM

      What are some alternatives to Algolia,, and Slate?
      Elasticsearch is a distributed, RESTful search and analytics engine capable of storing data and searching it in near real time. Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats and Logstash are the Elastic Stack (sometimes called the ELK Stack).
      Solr is the popular, blazing fast open source enterprise search platform from the Apache Lucene project. Its major features include powerful full-text search, hit highlighting, faceted search, near real-time indexing, dynamic clustering, database integration, rich document (e.g., Word, PDF) handling, and geospatial search. Solr is highly reliable, scalable and fault tolerant, providing distributed indexing, replication and load-balanced querying, automated failover and recovery, centralized configuration and more. Solr powers the search and navigation features of many of the world's largest internet sites.
      Swiftype is the easiest way to add great search to your website or mobile application.
      Azure Search
      Azure Search makes it easy to add powerful and sophisticated search capabilities to your website or application. Quickly and easily tune search results and construct rich, fine-tuned ranking models to tie search results to business goals. Reliable throughput and storage provide fast search indexing and querying to support time-sensitive search scenarios.
      It is an intelligent site search solution designed to help eCommerce businesses increase onsite sales and improve the customer online shopping experience.
      See all alternatives