I am building a user activity notification system whereby each new notification message is created as a new node which is displayed by Views. To prevent an infinite number of nodes being created there is a system in place to delete notification nodes once they have reached a certain age.
This still begs the question however of whether using nodes in this way is a good idea for future performance. If a single user gets 20 notifications in a day, that is 20 nodes; now if there are potentially several hundred to a thousand users that is a lot of nodes in a short period of time. The main reason I use nodes is because they are easy to access and manipulate using Rules and also are very flexible when used with Views.
Therefore is it worth considering an alternative to nodes and if so what? The Messaging module comes to mind, but since each new Message is a new entity I'm not quite sure whether in terms of performance this would be any different to using nodes. Is there a module that offers the same flexibility of nodes but also has better performance?