Amazon Redshift Review

Scales according to our needs, which saves a lot in terms of upfront costs

What is our primary use case?

We are a digital transformation services company, and we are using Amazon Redshift for one of our clients. They are a logistics company that has transportation and other needs.

Their first requirement is for financial reporting, where we pull financial data from their many ERP systems and can provide a corporate-level view.

There is also an operations standpoint, where they are looking for operational insights. For this, we again pull different information from their ERPs, bring it into Redshift, and then model it in such a way that they will be able to see a consolidated view in terms of operational success across lines of business.

How has it helped my organization?

I've been working with data warehouses for a long time and it has always been the case that we had to invest quite a bit on infrastructure, upfront. We are used to dealing with Teradata, and the cost of setting up the data center and getting the appropriate licenses was a big deal. Now, we are able to spin up some clusters and then start using it, allowing us to incrementally pay as we expand.

This has become a big shift in how we spend because there is no capital cost upfront. Moreover, this works with startups as well as with enterprise, and they provide an equal footing. This means that even the advanced capabilities and insights that are available with a data warehouse are no longer limited to the larger clients. Even a startup can use these features, immediately.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the scalability, as it grows according to our needs.

The part that I like best is that you only pay for what you are using.

What needs improvement?

The OLAP slide and dice features need to be improved. For example, if a business wants to bring in a general ledger from an ERP, they want to slice and dice the data. What we have found is that they have a lot of formulas that are used to calculate metrics, so what we do is use SQL Server Analysis Services. The question then becomes one of adopting a single vendor and transitioning to Azure. If Redshift had similar capabilities then it would be very good.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Amazon Redshift for about five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is awesome. We have been using it for quite a while and haven't faced any issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is very good. You can start at a very low scale and just keep expanding as required. It is the type of product that fits organizations of all sizes.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have contacted support on several occasions. With our most recent customer, they are pretty large and we were directly in touch with the regional account manager, who is the head of database analytics for India. This person was directly involved in our calls and helped with the evaluation, so the support has been pretty good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have worked with Teradata and more recently, have been working with Azure SQL Warehouse. Teradata is an on-premises solution and the upfront costs are high. Comparing Azure SQL Warehouse and Amazon Redshift, in terms of features I think that they are pretty much on par.

The SQL Data Warehouse does have better OLAP capabilities, and they also offer a level of serverless capability where they have split the compute and the storage. This means that they can operate at a lower cost in the development environment.

Many of our clients have begun to adopt Power BI, and once they start using it, they tend to lean towards Azure and the Azure SQL Data Warehouse. The fact that Power BI is free, makes quite an impact.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward, once you get used to it. There is a lot of documentation available.

What about the implementation team?

We handle the implementation and deployment of Redshift for our clients.

What other advice do I have?

I am interested in seeing a split between compute and storage, which is something that they are currently working on. We plan to start leveraging it at some point in the future.

In summary, I think that Amazon Redshift is a very good data warehouse and we really like it a lot.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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