AWS, Cloud Computing

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Fast and Secure Data Warehousing Solution: Amazon Redshift


Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers a fully managed data warehouse service called AWS Redshift. This service is specifically designed to handle massive volumes of data, scaling up to petabyte size. It boasts excellent performance, scalability, and cost-effectiveness.

AWS Redshift is used by organizations to store, analyze, and retrieve data from their data warehouse. It uses SQL to analyze structured and semi-structured data across data warehouses, operational databases, and Data Lakes.

Data Warehouse System Architecture

The elements of the Amazon Redshift data warehouse architecture as shown in the following figure.


Source: Data warehouse system architecture – Amazon Redshift

Clusters: It is the core infrastructure of the Amazon Redshift data warehouse. It is composed of one or more compute nodes. If there is more than one compute node, an additional leader node is present to handle external communication.

  • Leader Node: The leader node communicates with the client application and compute nodes. When a query comes, it parses, rewrites, and optimizes the query to create an optimized distribution plan. It takes a fragment of the query, converts it to C++ code, compiles it, and sends it down to compute nodes.
  • Compute Node: The compute nodes execute the compiled code and return intermediate results to the leader node for final aggregation. Each compute node is equipped with its dedicated CPU and memory, and these specifications are determined based on the selected node type.

a. Node Slices: A compute node is divided into smaller units called slices. Each slice is allocated a specific portion of the node’s memory and disk space. These slices handle a portion of the overall workload assigned to the node. The leader node takes responsibility for distributing data to the slices and assigning workload for queries and other database operations. The slices work concurrently to accomplish the given operation. The node size of the cluster determines the number of slices per node.

Amazon Redshift Managed Storage: Data warehouse data is stored in a separate storage called Redshift Managed Storage (RMS). It can scale the storage to petabytes using Amazon S3 storage. It leverages high-performance SSD-based local storage as its primary cache, providing excellent performance. It optimizes operations based on data block temperature, data blockage, and workload patterns to ensure optimal performance. Redshift also automatically scales storage to Amazon S3 when necessary, without any manual intervention. This allows for seamless and efficient storage expansion as needed.

Databases: It is possible to have multiple databases within an Amazon Redshift cluster. While Amazon Redshift is an RDBMS (Relational Database Management System), it is compatible with other RDBMS applications. Although Amazon Redshift is built upon PostgreSQL, there are distinctions between the two systems.

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Benefits of AWS Redshift in Data Management

  • Data Management: One of the key benefits of using AWS Redshift is that it is a fully managed service. AWS handles all the underlying infrastructure and maintenance tasks, relieving users of managing these aspects.
  • Cost-effective: Another benefit of using AWS Redshift is that it is cost-effective. AWS Redshift follows a pricing model that considers the volume of data stored and the amount of data queried. There are no upfront costs or long-term commitments associated with using Redshift.
  • Scalable: AWS Redshift is specifically engineered to efficiently manage and process vast quantities of data, ensuring exceptional performance and scalability. It can dynamically scale up or down in real time, effortlessly adapting to the evolving requirements of an organization.
  • Integrates with other AWS services: AWS Redshift integrates seamlessly with other AWS services, such as Amazon S3, Amazon EMR, and Amazon Athena.
  • Supports multiple file formats: AWS Redshift supports multiple data file formats, including CSV, JSON, XML, Apache Parquet, and many more.
  • Built-in security features: AWS Redshift has built-in security features, including network isolation, rest encryption, and IAM authentication. It includes sensitive data protection, dynamic data masking, granular authorization at row and column levels, and auditing and compliance.
  • Supports Data Lake integration: AWS Redshift can be integrated with data lakes, such as Amazon S3, allowing to store and query of data in a single platform. This simplifies data management and enables you to easily perform data lake analytics using SQL.
  • Highly available: AWS Redshift is designed to be highly available, with multiple redundant nodes and automatic failover. This ensures the data warehouse is always available and accessible, even during a node failure.
  • Highly optimized: Amazon Redshift achieves extremely fast query runs by employing massively parallel processing, columnar data storage, data compression, query optimizer, and result caching.

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1 – In AWS Console, we will go to Amazon Redshift serverless and create it using the default configuration. It will create a namespace and workgroup.


Step 2 – If we check the workgroup, we can find that 128 RPU are created by default. For the demo purpose, we can decrease it to 8 RPU, which will reduce the cost.


Step 3 – In the demo, we will ingest the data from Amazon S3. We need to assign the IAM role to Amazon Redshift with S3FullAccess permission.


Step 4 – After creating an AWS IAM role with S3FullAccess permission, we will assign this role by going to a namespace.



Step 5 – Next, we download the sample files using this link. Then we unzip it and upload only allusers_pipe.txt, which contains users data, to the Amazon S3 bucket.

We will then open the query editor in Amazon Redshift. First, we will create the schema of the users table.


Step 6 – We use “copy” to load all the data from a text file in Amazon S3.


Step 7 – After successfully loading the data, we will run a select statement to check if the data is available.



Amazon Redshift is a powerful Data Warehousing service that provides businesses with a fast, scalable, secure, and user-friendly way to store and analyze large volumes of data. It can help businesses gain insights from their data more quickly, allowing them to make more informed decisions and drive business success.

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Drop a query if you have any questions regarding Amazon Redshift, I will get back to you quickly.

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1. What are the deployment options for Amazon Redshift?

ANS: – As a fully managed service, Amazon Redshift provides the convenience of both provisioned and serverless options. This enables streamlined and efficient analytics operations, eliminating the need for manual data warehouse management while allowing easy scalability.

2. How much does Amazon Redshift cost?

ANS: – The cost of using Amazon Redshift depends on the cluster size, node type, the amount of data stored, and so on. Amazon Redshift uses a pay-as-you-go pricing model, so businesses only pay for the resources they use.

3. What is Amazon Redshift Spectrum?

ANS: – Amazon Redshift Spectrum resides on dedicated Amazon Redshift servers independent of the cluster. With Amazon Redshift, it becomes possible to perform efficient queries and retrieve structured and semi-structured data directly from files stored in Amazon S3, eliminating the need to load the data into Redshift tables. Redshift Spectrum queries leverage the power of massive parallelism, enabling swift execution against extensive datasets. Most processing occurs within the Redshift Spectrum layer, while the data remains stored in Amazon S3. Furthermore, multiple clusters can concurrently query the same dataset in Amazon S3 without necessitating data duplication for each cluster.

WRITTEN BY Nayanjyoti Sharma



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