Amazon RedShift

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Amazon AWS RedShift Services

Amazon Redshift is a fast, fully managed data warehouse that makes it simple and cost-effective to analyze all your data using standard SQL and existing Business Intelligence (BI) tools.

Clustered peta-byte scale data warehouse.

RedShift is a SQL based data warehouse used for analytics applications.

RedShift is an Online Analytics Processing (OLAP) type of DB.

RedShift is used for running complex analytic queries against petabytes of structured data, using sophisticated query optimization, columnar storage on high-performance local disks, and massively parallel query execution.

RedShift is ideal for processing large amounts of data for business intelligence.

Extremely cost-effective as compared to some other on-premises data warehouse platforms.

PostgreSQL compatible with JDBC and ODBC drivers available; compatible with most Business Intelligence tools out of the box.

Features parallel processing and columnar data stores which are optimized for complex queries.

Option to query directly from data files on S3 via RedShift Spectrum.

RedShift is 10x faster than a traditional SQL DB.

RedShift can store huge amounts of data but cannot ingest huge amounts of data in real time.

RedShift uses columnar data storage:

  • Data is stored sequentially in columns instead of rows.
  • Columnar based DB is ideal for data warehousing and analytics.
  • Requires fewer I/Os which greatly enhances performance.

RedShift provides advanced compression:

  • Data is stored sequentially in columns which allows for much better performance and less storage space.
  • RedShift automatically selects the compression scheme.

RedShift provides good query performance and compression.

RedShift provides Massively Parallel Processing (MPP) by distributing data and queries across all nodes.

RedShift uses EC2 instances so you need to choose your instance type/size for scaling compute vertically, but you can also scale horizontally by adding more nodes to the cluster.

You cannot have direct access to your AWS RedShift cluster nodes as a user, but you can through applications.

HDD and SSD storage options.

The size of a single node is 160GB and clusters can be created up to a petabyte or more.

Multi-node consists of:

Leader node:

  • Manages client connections and receives queries.
  • Simple SQL endpoint.
  • Stores metadata.
  • Optimizes query plan.
  • Coordinates query execution.

Compute nodes:

  • Stores data and performs queries and computations.
  • Local columnar storage.
  • Parallel/distributed execution of all queries, loads, backups, restores, resizes.
  • Up to 128 compute nodes.

Amazon RedShift Spectrum is a feature of Amazon Redshift that enables you to run queries against exabytes of unstructured data in Amazon S3, with no loading or ETL required.

Availability and Durability

RedShift uses replication and continuous backups to enhance availability and improve durability and can automatically recover from component and node failures.

Only available in one AZ but you can restore snapshots into another AZ.

Alternatively, you can run data warehouse clusters in multiple AZ’s by loading data into two Amazon Redshift data warehouse clusters in separate AZs from the same set of Amazon S3 input files.

Redshift replicates your data within your data warehouse cluster and continuously backs up your data to Amazon S3.

RedShift always keeps three copies of your data:

  • The original.
  • A replica on compute nodes (within the cluster).
  • A backup copy on S3.

RedShift provides continuous/incremental backups:

  • Multiple copies within a cluster.
  • Continuous and incremental backups to S3.
  • Continuous and incremental backups across regions.
  • Streaming restore.

RedShift provides fault tolerance for the following failures:

  • Disk failures.
  • Node failures.
  • Network failures.
  • AZ/region level disasters.

For nodes failures the data warehouse cluster will be unavailable for queries and updates until a replacement node is provisioned and added to the DB.

High availability for RedShift:

  • Currently, RedShift does not support Multi-AZ deployments.
  • The best HA option is to use multi-node cluster which supports data replication and node recovery.
  • A single node RedShift cluster does not support data replication and you’ll have to restore from a snapshot on S3 if a drive fails.

RedShift can asynchronously replicate your snapshots to S3 in another region for DR.

Single-node clusters do not support data replication (in a failure scenario you would need to restore from a snapshot).

Scaling requires a period of unavailability of a few minutes (typically during the maintenance window).

During scaling operations RedShift moves data in parallel from the compute nodes in your existing data warehouse cluster to the compute nodes in your new cluster.

By default, Amazon Redshift retains backups for 1 day. You can configure this to be as long as 35 days.

If you delete the cluster you can choose to have a final snapshot taken and retained.

Manual backups are not automatically deleted when you delete a cluster.


You can load encrypted data from S3.

Supports SSL Encryption in-transit between client applications and Redshift data warehouse cluster.

VPC for network isolation.

Encryption for data at rest (AES 256).

Audit logging and AWS CloudTrail integration.

RedShift takes care of key management, or you can manage your own through HSM or KMS.


Charged for compute nodes hours, 1 unit per hour (only compute node, not leader node).

Backup storage – storage on S3.

Data transfer – no charge for data transfer between RedShift and S3 within a region but for other scenarios you may pay charges.

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