Abstraction: hash table
A key-value store generally allows for O(1) reads and writes and is often backed by memory or SSD. Data stores can maintain keys in lexicographic order, allowing efficient retrieval of key ranges. Key-value stores can allow for storing of metadata with a value.
Key-value stores provide high performance and are often used for simple data models or for rapidly-changing data, such as an in-memory cache layer. Since they offer only a limited set of operations, complexity is shifted to the application layer if additional operations are needed.
A key-value store is the basis for more complex system systems such as a document store, and in some cases, a graph database.
Source(s) and further reading: key-value store
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