Transient data definition


Beginner here (a few courses in on the Solutions Architect path). Currently working on the Core AWS Storage Services class and came across this definition of "transient data":

Transient data is short-lived and typically does not require high durability. (Note: Durability refers to average annual expected data loss.) Clickstream and Twitter data are good examples of transient data.

How is Twitter an example of transient data? Sure the tweets shown on your feed pass by and refresh, but they live forever in the users timeline. You can't delete that data. It has to persist. What am I missing here? I would think transient data would be more associated with stateless transactions - shortly cached perhaps but not saved long-term?

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asked 23 days ago96 views
1 Answer

In the case of Twitter, the definition is emphasizing the nature of the tweet stream itself, not necessarily the persistence of individual tweets. While tweets are stored and can be retrieved later, the stream of tweets in your timeline is constantly updating, and the relevance of individual tweets diminishes over time. In this sense, the real-time nature of Twitter data and the constant flow of new tweets align with the concept of transient data The term "transient" in this context is relative. It doesn't imply that the data disappears instantly or that it's deleted immediately; rather, it suggests that the data is less critical for long-term storage or durability. So, in the case of Twitter, individual tweets may persist, but the stream of tweets and the real-time nature of the platform align with the concept of transient data, where the value of the data diminishes over time.

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answered 23 days ago
  • Thanks for your response. I do find this definition strange though. Not at all what I would think when I hear the term "transient." The data itself isn't transient, just it's display/position on the homescreen is. Transactional data is also transient, in that it only applies in the exact moment the transaction is processed and then that transaction is complete and done. But that data is still saved historically and becomes part of the transactional records that can be looked up essentially forever.

    I would think the term "transient" would only apply to information used in stateless-style interactions - the routing information for a packet for example. Once routed, the server forgets that packet ever existed.

    Obviously I'm wrong, so again, thanks for weighing in on this. But do have to admit it still troubles me - doesn't make sense to me so it's hard to wrap my head around this as a definition for transient data as I'm not clear on how to apply it. ‾_ツ_/‾

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