AWS Lake Formation Review

Stable and good at handling analytics but needs to better accept integrations

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution in order to build infrastructure. It's basically for building network infrastructure.

What is most valuable?

The solution is quite good at handling analytics. It's done a good job at helping us centralize them.

What needs improvement?

We occasionally work with third-party libraries and they fail to integrate with this product effectively.

For the end-users, it's not as user-friendly as it could be. For example, if I have a Lake Formation return, once the code is in place, then working Lake Formation, or deploying Lake Formation code, still requires an engineer as opposed to being automated to the extent where end-users can actually deploy the whole infrastructure. 

The other issue is the debugging on the solution is not so straightforward. This should be simplified.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for about a year and a half. It hasn't quite been two years. I haven't used it for that long.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has come with time. At first, it wasn't so stable. We had some trouble and there was a bit of a learning curve. It gets easier and much more stable after you deploy.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

While we are okay with the tooling, we're still working on the scaling process. Right now, there are no immediate challenges.

The solution isn't used by end-users. It's just used by our engineering staff who are working on the infrastructure.

How are customer service and technical support?

Often, the people who handle the initial contact may or may not have the experience you need. It takes a while sometimes to get a person who can help. If it's a bigger issue, most of the time we have to engage the senior associates, and sometimes it takes time to find the right person. 

They also have hundreds of services there, and therefore, depending on where the problem is, finding the right person for the right service is an issue, due to the fact that, on the onset as an end-user, I don't know where the problem could be.

For example, while I may be working on the Lake at the surface, the problem may be on the Lake Formation. However, it could also be an EMR issue. Or it could be an issue in Spark, or it could be an issue within the EMR. and so on. That's why it's hard to get to the right person. You need to figure out the root cause then they need to figure out the best person to deal with the root cause.

That said, in terms of responsiveness, I don't have a problem with them. They do try to be helpful. It's just that the way the system is designed,getting to the right technical hand is complex and can take a while.

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

We didn't previously have another solution. Our instinct is to stick with internal solutions before moving out and looking for third-party options.

How was the initial setup?

I would not describe the initial setup process as straightforward. There's definitely a learning curve involved. However, once you understand everything, it does get easier.

Once you deploy the solution, it stabilizes pretty fast and everything is a bit better from there onwards.

What other advice do I have?

We're strictly customers of AWS. We're end-users.

I'm not sure which version of the solution we're using.

My advice to other organizations would be to not think of this solution as a one-time activity. It's an ongoing thing. It's a big change and there will new services and therefore it's constantly changing. You have to make sure that it's part and parcel of your everyday operations. 

The solution is pretty stable, or stable in the long run. However, every single day there is a need to grow the infrastructure, or there are new services being added externally and internally. You deploy more applications. You deploy more code. You deploy new libraries. You'll have to stay on top of everything to make sure it stays aligned with changes.

Overall, I would rate the solution at a seven out of ten.

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