What is Amazon Redshift?
Who uses Amazon Redshift?
Amazon Redshift Integrations
Why developers like Amazon Redshift?
Here are some stack decisions, common use cases and reviews by companies and developers who chose Amazon Redshift in their tech stack.
Back in 2014, I was given an opportunity to re-architect SmartZip Analytics platform, and flagship product: SmartTargeting. This is a SaaS software helping real estate professionals keeping up with their prospects and leads in a given neighborhood/territory, finding out (thanks to predictive analytics) who's the most likely to list/sell their home, and running cross-channel marketing automation against them: direct mail, online ads, email... The company also does provide Data APIs to Enterprise customers.
I had inherited years and years of technical debt and I knew things had to change radically. The first enabler to this was to make use of the cloud and go with AWS, so we would stop re-inventing the wheel, and build around managed/scalable services.
For the SaaS product, we kept on working with Rails as this was what my team had the most knowledge in. We've however broken up the monolith and decoupled the front-end application from the backend thanks to the use of Rails API so we'd get independently scalable micro-services from now on.
Our various applications could now be deployed using AWS Elastic Beanstalk so we wouldn't waste any more efforts writing time-consuming Capistrano deployment scripts for instance. Combined with Docker so our application would run within its own container, independently from the underlying host configuration.
Storage-wise, we went with Amazon S3 and ditched any pre-existing local or network storage people used to deal with in our legacy systems. On the database side: Amazon RDS / MySQL initially. Ultimately migrated to Amazon RDS for Aurora / MySQL when it got released. Once again, here you need a managed service your cloud provider handles for you.
Future improvements / technology decisions included:
Caching: Amazon ElastiCache / Memcached CDN: Amazon CloudFront Systems Integration: Segment / Zapier Data-warehousing: Amazon Redshift BI: Amazon Quicksight / Superset Search: Elasticsearch / Amazon Elasticsearch Service / Algolia Monitoring: New Relic
As our usage grows, patterns changed, and/or our business needs evolved, my role as Engineering Manager then Director of Engineering was also to ensure my team kept on learning and innovating, while delivering on business value.
One of these innovations was to get ourselves into Serverless : Adopting AWS Lambda was a big step forward. At the time, only available for Node.js (Not Ruby ) but a great way to handle cost efficiency, unpredictable traffic, sudden bursts of traffic... Ultimately you want the whole chain of services involved in a call to be serverless, and that's when we've started leveraging Amazon DynamoDB on these projects so they'd be fully scalable.
Stitch is run entirely on AWS. All of our transactional databases are run with Amazon RDS, and we rely on Amazon S3 for data persistence in various stages of our pipeline. Our product integrates with Amazon Redshift as a data destination, and we also use Redshift as an internal data warehouse (powered by Stitch, of course).
The majority of our services run on stateless Amazon EC2 instances that are managed by AWS OpsWorks. We recently introduced Kubernetes into our infrastructure to run the scheduled jobs that execute Singer code to extract data from various sources. Although we tend to be wary of shiny new toys, Kubernetes has proven to be a good fit for this problem, and its stability, strong community and helpful tooling have made it easy for us to incorporate into our operations.
Looker , Stitch , Amazon Redshift , dbt
We recently moved our Data Analytics and Business Intelligence tooling to Looker . It's already helping us create a solid process for reusable SQL-based data modeling, with consistent definitions across the entire organizations. Looker allows us to collaboratively build these version-controlled models and push the limits of what we've traditionally been able to accomplish with analytics with a lean team.
For Data Engineering, we're in the process of moving from maintaining our own ETL pipelines on AWS to a managed ELT system on Stitch. We're also evaluating the command line tool, dbt to manage data transformations. Our hope is that Stitch + dbt will streamline the ELT bit, allowing us to focus our energies on analyzing data, rather than managing it.
We use Amazon Redshift because it's based on PostgreSQL and allows us to quickly query vast amounts of data for reporting and analytics.
Amazon Redshift's Features
- Optimized for Data Warehousing- It uses columnar storage, data compression, and zone maps to reduce the amount of IO needed to perform queries. Redshift has a massively parallel processing (MPP) architecture, parallelizing and distributing SQL operations to take advantage of all available resources.
- Scalable- With a few clicks of the AWS Management Console or a simple API call, you can easily scale the number of nodes in your data warehouse up or down as your performance or capacity needs change.
- No Up-Front Costs- You pay only for the resources you provision. You can choose On-Demand pricing with no up-front costs or long-term commitments, or obtain significantly discounted rates with Reserved Instance pricing.
- Fault Tolerant- Amazon Redshift has multiple features that enhance the reliability of your data warehouse cluster. All data written to a node in your cluster is automatically replicated to other nodes within the cluster and all data is continuously backed up to Amazon S3.
- SQL - Amazon Redshift is a SQL data warehouse and uses industry standard ODBC and JDBC connections and Postgres drivers.
- Isolation - Amazon Redshift enables you to configure firewall rules to control network access to your data warehouse cluster.
- Encryption – With just a couple of parameter settings, you can set up Amazon Redshift to use SSL to secure data in transit and hardware-acccelerated AES-256 encryption for data at rest.<br>