The Amazon Redshift benefits that could transform your analytics strategy

  • Richard Thelwell
  • August 17, 2015

amazon redshift benefits transform analyticsThe volume of data being generated and collected by organisations today, is reaching a truly staggering level. And – of course – this data needs to be stored somewhere. An effective Data Warehousing solution has therefore become a critical component of any successful analytics strategy, and one product in particular has revolutionised this process… Amazon Redshift.

The benefits of Amazon Redshift are clear to see, and this is reflected in its adoption by some of the world’s biggest and most innovative companies. These 7 Amazon Redshift success stories feature companies such as Nokia, Foursquare and the Financial Times.

Amazon Redshift has helped transform the way these businesses handle data, and it could transform your business too.

What is Amazon Redshift?

Amazon Redshift is Amazon Web Service’s fastest growing service. So what exactly is it?

In short, it is a fully managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse service deployed on the AWS platform. Using columnar data storage technology and massively parallel processing (MPP), Amazon Redshift provides businesses with an extremely fast, powerful and cost-effective solution to data warehousing.

To find out more about the benefits of Amazon Redshift, watch this short introduction to Amazon Redshift.

Incredibly fast

One of the most obvious Amazon Redshift benefits is that it is fast – incredibly fast in fact.

The key to this speed lies in its ability to leverage the Massively Parallel Processing (MPP) capabilities of its data warehouse architecture. By distributing the workload across multiple nodes, this takes advantage of all available resources. Working in parallel, this optimises query performance, even when dealing with petabyte scale datasets.

The speed of the solution was one of the Amazon Redshift benefits that Nokia were most impressed about, with Greg Johnson, Head of Analytics at the company, stating that they could now run queries almost ‘twice as fast as before’.

Easily scalable

The flexibility and in particular, scalability, of Amazon Redshift makes it appealing to businesses of all shapes and sizes.

With a few simple clicks, you can easily scale the number or type of nodes in your Redshift data warehouse to suit your capacity requirements. Amazon Redshift allows you to scale from single 160GB nodes all the way up to 16TB nodes, allowing you to create a petabyte scale data warehouse, without any loss in performance.

This scalability means that, as well as being used by large multinational corporations, Amazon Redshift can also be beneficial for start-ups who require a data warehousing solution that can scale with the growth of their business.

This was the case for app-based taxi booking firm Hailo, who needed a robust solution that was flexible enough to deal with the unpredictability of the early days of their business. In discussing the factors behind choosing Amazon Redshift, platform automation lead Boyan Dimitrov explained that “Scalability was the main driver really – it’s great for start-ups, and great for start-ups that expect to grow rapidly”.

Scalability is one of the most important Amazon Redshift benefits, allowing businesses to easily scale their data warehouse up or down, when they need to, meaning they only have to pay for what they need to use.

Low cost

One of the most appealing Amazon Redshift benefits is, quite understandably, the price.

The scalability of Amazon Redshift makes it an increasingly cost-effective alternative to traditional data warehousing practices. The on-demand pricing structure means you only pay for the resources you provision. This on-demand pricing starts at as low as $0.25 per hour for a 160GB DC1.Large node or $0.85 per hour for a larger 2TB version.

Furthermore, there are no up-front costs and no long-term commitments involved. However, if you do commit to a longer period, you can take advantage of even lower costs, with reserved instance pricing offering significantly reduced rates.

The cost-saving benefits of Amazon Redshift were illustrated by property rental website Airbnb, who conducted an experiment comparing Amazon Redshift against a competing data warehouse solution, Hive. This experiment found that, not only was Redshift 20 times as fast at running a complex query, it was also significantly cheaper to run. Whereas Hive cost $57 per hour to run, Amazon Redshift was a mere $13.60 per hour.

Matillion ETL for Amazon Redshift

Matillion ETL for Amazon Redshift is an ETL/EL-T tool which helps you get the most out of Amazon Redshift.

matillion etl for redshift

Matillion ETL for Amazon Redshift pushes the data transformation down to Redshift, meaning you can process millions of rows in seconds, with real-time in-job feedback and linear scalability. And by providing a user-focused, full-featured graphical job development environment, this process becomes simple and scalable.

For more information on Matillion ETL for Amazon Redshift, and for a FREE 14 DAY TRIAL, find us on the AWS Marketplace here.

For more best-practice advice and information on optimizing Amazon Redshift performance, download our free guide below