Amazon Redshift Overview

Amazon Redshift is the #3 ranked solution in our list of top Cloud Data Warehouse tools. It is most often compared to Snowflake: Amazon Redshift vs Snowflake

What is Amazon Redshift?

Amazon Redshift is a fast and powerful, fully managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse service in the cloud. Customers can start small for just $0.25 per hour with no commitments or upfront costs and scale to a petabyte or more for $1,000 per terabyte per year, less than a tenth of most other data warehousing solutions.

Traditional data warehouses require significant time and resource to administer, especially for large datasets. In addition, the financial cost associated with building, maintaining, and growing self-managed, on-premise data warehouses is very high. Amazon Redshift not only significantly lowers the cost of a data warehouse, but also makes it easy to analyze large amounts of data very quickly.

Amazon Redshift gives you fast querying capabilities over structured data using familiar SQL-based clients and business intelligence (BI) tools using standard ODBC and JDBC connections. Queries are distributed and parallelized across multiple physical resources. You can easily scale an Amazon Redshift data warehouse up or down with a few clicks in the AWS Management Console or with a single API call. Amazon Redshift automatically patches and backs up your data warehouse, storing the backups for a user-defined retention period. Amazon Redshift uses replication and continuous backups to enhance availability and improve data durability and can automatically recover from component and node failures. In addition, Amazon Redshift supports Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC), SSL, AES-256 encryption and Hardware Security Modules (HSMs) to protect your data in transit and at rest.

As with all Amazon Web Services, there are no up-front investments required, and you pay only for the resources you use. Amazon Redshift lets you pay as you go. You can even try Amazon Redshift for free.

Amazon Redshift Buyer's Guide

Download the Amazon Redshift Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: March 2021

Amazon Redshift Customers

Liberty Mutual Insurance, 4Cite Marketing, BrandVerity, DNA Plc, Sirocco Systems, Gainsight, Blue 449

Amazon Redshift Video

Amazon Redshift Archived Reviews (More than two years old)

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Nir Wasserman
BI Manager at jfrog
Real User
Feb 4, 2019
Allows you write complex queries and perform row by row processes

What is our primary use case?

We use it to build a data warehouse and a centralized location for all of our data sources, allowing for in-depth analysis by using SQL queries.

How has it helped my organization?

Allows for the storage of huge amounts of data.  Assists users to perform ad hoc analysis on a lot sources together.

What is most valuable?

Windows functions, such as LEAD and LAG. Allows you write complex queries and perform row by row processes.

What needs improvement?

In the next release, a pivot function would be a big help. It could save a lot of time creating a query or process to handle operations.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.
it_user869871
Principal Consultant at Inawisdom
User
May 23, 2018
Easy to load and reload data. Retaining data long-term should be cheaper.

What is our primary use case?

Storing and querying data in near real time. Loading millions of raw CSV records. Running data comparisons and queries, then shutting it all down all within a few hours, once a week.

How has it helped my organization?

Easy to load and reload data.

What is most valuable?

Fast load times  Flexibility in column definitions The ability to reload data multiple times at different times.

What needs improvement?

It would be nice if it was a bit cheaper to retain data long-term.  Should be made available across zones, like other Multi-AZ solutions.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Per hour pricing is helpful to keep the costs of a pilot down, but long-term…
Learn what your peers think about Amazon Redshift. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: March 2021.
466,017 professionals have used our research since 2012.
it_user705738
Senior Solutions Engineer, West at a tech vendor with 5,001-10,000 employees
Vendor
Jul 20, 2017
It helped my customers migrate off on-premise platforms

Pros and Cons

  • "Redshift COPY command, because much of my work involved helping customers migrate large amounts of data into Redshift."
  • "Migrating data from other data sources can be challenging when you are working with multibyte character sets."

What other advice do I have?

Be careful with vendor lock-in! You cannot move your Redshift environment to a different cloud provider or to an on-premise solution.
it_user653898
Manager Data Services at a logistics company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 20
Jul 18, 2017
Gives us the ability to increase space requirements

Pros and Cons

  • "Easy to build out our snowflake design and load data."
  • "It would be nice if we could turn off an instance. However, it would retain the instance in history, thus allowing us to restart without beginning from scratch."

What other advice do I have?

Plan out your our DB design in advance and test your theories on running a small instance first. Use a good ETL tool, like Talend, so updates can be scheduled easily. Don't try to write these from scratch. Redshift has been a great DB for us to date. We haven't seen any slowdowns or outages!
Nir Wasserman
BI Manager at jfrog
Real User
Jun 28, 2017
You can copy JSON to the column and have it analyzed using simple functions

Pros and Cons

  • "You can copy JSON to the column and have it analyzed using simple functions."
  • "It lacks a few features which can be very useful, such as stored procedures"

What other advice do I have?

My rating would be 8.5. This a great product, but one still needs to know how to manage clusters and nodes. In order to make your DB scalable and reliable. it has the greatest benefit of build on PostgreSQL, so any data specialist that has SQL experience can handle Redshift.
it_user689532
Full Stack Engineer at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Consultant
Jun 22, 2017
Valuable features are performance, data compression, and scalability. Query compilation time needs a lot of improvement.

Pros and Cons

  • "The valuable features are performance, data compression, and scalability."
  • "Query compilation time needs a lot of improvement for cases where you are generating queries dynamically."

What other advice do I have?

It is very important to understand how Redshift is designed to work. The database schema design is not trivial and requires an in-depth knowledge about it, especially if your use-case requires it to perform well.
Padmanesh NC
Big Data Solution Architect - Spatial Data Specialist at Sciera, Inc.
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Apr 10, 2017
It processes petabytes of data and supports many file formats. Restoring huge snapshots takes too long.

What other advice do I have?

Use this product for huge data mapping or aggregation. Use Redshift through VPC to keep their data very secure and for a long time.
it_user396519
Director at a tech company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Feb 26, 2017
Columnar-storage databases leverage the Massively Parallel Processing (MPP) capabilities of its data warehouse architecture.

What other advice do I have?

You need to design the database structure with best sort and distribution keys, along with primary and foreign keys.
it_user576450
Data Science Lead at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Feb 20, 2017
The PostgreSQL interface is good because you can play with big data with just SQL.

What other advice do I have?

Redshift, like any other big data technology, isn’t a silver bullet for everything. The most important thing is to understand your data and your requirements before you make any decision to use any technology.
it_user576444
Rails Developer at a recruiting/HR firm with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Feb 20, 2017
It's based on PostgreSQL, is a managed solution, and has low price per terabyte per year.

What other advice do I have?

If you evaluate Redshift, chances are that you should evaluate BigQuery too. So take the time to weigh the pro and cons of each (plenty has been written online about that). Take a look at the reserved instances pricing. It is very advantageous if you know you will stick with Redshift for some time. Take the time to learn PostgreSQL (eg: https://www.pgexercises.com/). Redshift, while based on PostgreSQL 8.0, supports a good number of advanced Postgres features. Do not be afraid of joins. PostgreSQL is performs very well in this regard. If you need performance, have a look at the suggested…
it_user576456
Manager BI Development at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Feb 20, 2017
The fact that it stores data using a columnar approach allows us to use columns in join conditions.

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.
it_user572622
BI Architect & Developer (contract) at a retailer with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Jan 31, 2017
You can configure tables to live in the memory of all of the available cores.
it_user583371
BI Architect at a comms service provider with 5,001-10,000 employees
Vendor
Jan 29, 2017
Columnar storage technology is valuable.

What other advice do I have?

You need to make sure that the space used in DWH has to be a maximum of 50% of the total space. You must create processes to vacuum and analyze tables frequently. Also, before creating the tables, you should choose the right encoding, DISTKEY and sort keys.
it_user576441
Senior Software Engineer [Redshift Programmer] at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
Jan 19, 2017
It supports SCD1 and SCD2, and the star schema. Improvement is needed in the scope of data types and complex RDBMS functionalities.

What other advice do I have?

As of now, Redshift is far better than the other products in the market. Lastly, I would like to mention that Redshift is more about scaling and stabilizing your data. One should also focus on data modeling from time to time.
it_user149223
Senior Engineer, Big-Data/Data-Warehousing at a manufacturing company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Nov 23, 2016
We create different-sized clusters and orchestrate them using the SDK.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to other is to prototype, prototype, prototype! Everything depends on your data and what you need to do to it. No two projects are the same.