AWS Glue Tutorial for Beginners

AWS Glue

What is AWS Glue?

AWS Glue is a serverless tool developed for the purpose of extracting, transforming, and loading data. This process is referred to as ETL. AWS Glue enables businesses to extract data from one source, transform the data, and then load it into a data warehouse, all from the cloud. AWS Glue is also a fully managed service, which means we as users don’t have to manage any cloud infrastructure, it’s all taken care of by Amazon.

Why is AWS Glue so powerful?

Glue is powerful because it combines the speed and performance of Apache Spark with the data organization of Hive. You may have heard of Lambda, another fully managed service by AWS. Unlike Lambda, which has a 15 minute timeout, Glue has a default timeout of two days. If you have been using Lambda for some projects that were taking too long you can perhaps choose Glue, depending on the situation.

AWS Glue will allow you to have faster data integration by reducing the time it takes to analyze your data. It will also automate your data integration tasks by crawling data sources, identifying data formats, and suggesting relevant schemas to store your data. AWS Glue runs serverlessly, meaning that there is no infrastructure management, provisioning, configuring, or scaling of resources that you have to do. You only pay for the resources that are used while running a job.

We’ll be taking a beginner-friendly approach to this hands-on lab. We’ll be making our first crawler in AWS Glue, running it, and looking at the table it creates. A crawler essentially allows us to gather data from multiple data stores and then create one data table. Combined with AWS Glue this can allow us to transform our data too. Let’s dive into our hands-on to see how it works.

aws glue architecture

An S3 bucket has an Excel Sheet file with business data to be analyzed. This is our source data store. We create a crawler to gather information so that AWS Glue can transform it into a different format. AWS Athena can then be used to perform analytics on the combined and newly formatted data.

Preparation

There are a few steps you’ll need to take to prepare your AWS account and the tools and files you need before starting the AWS Glue tutorial:

  1. AWS Account Setup – You’ll need an AWS Account for this tutorial. To create an account, click here. Simply follow the instructions in Neal’s video tutorial on How to create an AWS Free Tier Account.
  2. IAM Role for AWS Glue – Navigate to the IAM console. Click on Roles and Create Role. Here you’ll select Glue service from the section Choose the service that will use this role. Choose Glue for Select your use case. You’ll then select AWSGlueServiceRole and S3FullAccess from Attach Permissions Policies. Leave the tag section blank and then create the role.
  3. S3 Bucket Setup – We’ll need to have data stored in an S3 bucket in order to complete this tutorial. Now, within the AWS management console, navigate to S3 and click on Create bucket. Give it a name, a region, and then finish creating your bucket. Create a folder, and call it “Source”.

Now that we’re all set up let’s get started! Click here for the mock data we’ll be using.

Create a Crawler

Navigate to AWS Glue on the Management Console by clicking Services and then AWS Glue under “Analytics”.

Navigate to “Crawlers” and click on Add crawler.

aws glue add crawler

Here we’ll put in a name.

aws glue crawler name

You can leave the default options here and click Next.

aws glue etl data store

On the next page click on the folder icon.

aws glue data store

Here you’ll select the S3 folder we created in the “Requirements” section of this lab.

aws glue folder

We won’t need more than one data store so just click “No” and Next.

aws glue add data store

Here you’ll be choosing the existing IAM role we made in the “Preparation” section of this lab.

aws glue iam role

Leave the frequency on as “Run on Demand”.

aws glue schedule crawler

Add a database by clicking on the button below and giving it a name.

aws glue add database

Then, on the next page, click on Finish.

Congrats, you just created your first crawler! Now let’s run it.

Run a Crawler

Select the crawler you created, then click Run crawler.

aws glue run crawler

Upon running the crawler you should see it running successfully after a minute or two. Then navigate to “Tables”.

Click on the table that was created for you by the crawler.

aws glue table

Upon entering into your table and scrolling down you should see similar information. This not only shows that it successfully uploaded to a database table but provides helpful information about the data.

aws glue etl

Congratulations, you’ve just completed your first AWS Glue Tutorial! You created and ran your first database crawler. This is the first step in using AWS Glue and you’re well on your way to becoming a master! However, there’s still so much we haven’t done with AWS Glue yet. We could go in and query the table we created with Amazon Athena or perform some other ETL functions. AWS Glue can also be used to create jobs. Seriously, there’s so much to do with AWS Glue! Learn more by following us on LinkedIn and FaceBook.

AWS Training Courses

At Digital Cloud Training we provide the highest quality and most affordable AWS training courses in the market. Our training options include:

  • Video-based training courses that seamlessly blend theoretical education with hands-on practice so you can not only prepare to answer tricky exam questions, but learn critical hands-on skills that will set you up for your next job.
  • Practice tests with large banks of questions that reflect the style and difficulty of the real AWS exam so you’re well prepared to easily pass your exam on the day. All questions come with detailed explanations and reference links and the tests are offered in multiple formats for training and exam simulation.
  • Cheat Sheets and eBooks that help you to memorize and cross-check key facts you need to know for the exam. These offline resources are great for final exam preparation.

Check out our catalog of courses to get started with your AWS certification journey.

AWS Glue features in several of our AWS certification training courses including the following:

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