Amazon Redshift Review
The fact that it stores data using a columnar approach allows us to use columns in join conditions.


What is most valuable?

Redshift gives extremely fast response involving large tables. This is the most important feature I look for in data warehouse solutions. Often you came across use cases where it is not possible to distribute data on a certain column, yet you need this column in join conditions. Redshift stores data using a columnar approach, which is useful for data aggregation.

All this at an extremely low price makes it possible for small to medium sized organizations to use Redshift’s power to get business insights.

How has it helped my organization?

One of my clients required large amounts of data but had a low budget. Amazon Redshift was the perfect choice for my client. We joined two tables containing billions of rows each and got results back in 27 seconds with a relatively small cluster of nodes.

What needs improvement?

Amazon should bring more SQL functions that are required in data warehouse implementations. It lacks SQL functions for complex data processing. A very small example is recursive queries. However, Amazon is developing the product at a fast pace and bringing new features with every release.

For how long have I used the solution?

I’ve been using Redshift for more than two years. I created one traditional data warehouse with 3-tier architecture and one big data solution.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not really had stability problems. The product is mature and can be utilized for production systems.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Since Redshift is on AWS cloud, scalability is not an issue. With a few clicks, cluster size can be increased or reduced. This is useful especially when you expect a large amount of data processing temporarily. For example, on Black Friday retail organizations expect large amounts of data flow/processing. Redshift can be scaled up for few days to accommodate the surge of data and then scaled back to normal cluster size to save OPEX.

How is customer service and technical support?

The AWS team gives special focus to customer support. This is a very big benefit of going to the cloud. You get a reply from AWS in small time frame.

Which solutions did we use previously?

I worked on Teradata and IBM solutions. Redshift gives performance similar to these solutions and costs a fraction of the amount.

How was the initial setup?

Your Redshift can be up and running with few clicks and in less than 5 minutes. A big benefit when you shift to cloud.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We analyzed Microsoft, Oracle, AWS RDS and Mango DB for our requirements.

What other advice do I have?

Redshift is based on PostgreSQL and adds MPP/columnar features to make it a data warehouse product. It is very easy for developers to adopt this solution. Your existing team can easily work on Redshift with no extra cost of learning.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.

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