Sanchit Dilip Jain/Tips & Tricks while working on Amazon Redshift 🛡️

Created Fri, 18 Aug 2023 12:00:00 +0000 Modified Thu, 08 Feb 2024 05:55:04 +0000
634 Words 3 min

Tips & Tricks while working on Amazon Redshift


  • Amazon Redshift, known for its scalability and efficiency, provides a powerful solution for data warehousing. This post offers a comprehensive technical exploration of Amazon Redshift, discussing best practices and examples about table design, query performance, cluster management, cost control, data sharing, data governance and security.

  • Table Design

    1. Distribution Styles:

      Redshift supports EVEN, KEY, and ALL distribution styles. The appropriate distribution style, which governs how data gets distributed across nodes, can significantly impact query performance. EVEN, which distributes rows evenly across the slices, is generally a safe default.

      CREATE TABLE large_table (
          column1 INTEGER,
          column2 VARCHAR(30),
    2. Sort Keys:

      These dictate the physical order of data on disk and can significantly influence query performance. Columns frequently used in filters or JOIN conditions make good sort keys. You may consider using interleaved sort keys for complex queries involving multiple filters.

      CREATE TABLE events (
          event_date DATE,
          event_type VARCHAR(30),
          event_count INTEGER
      INTERLEAVED SORTKEY (event_date, event_type);
  • Query Performance

    1. Query Optimization:

      Regularly run the ANALYZE command for more efficient query planning. Avoid SELECT * queries; instead, specify only the necessary columns to reduce the data scanned. Use the EXPLAIN command to understand your query plan and optimize accordingly.

      ANALYZE table_name;
      EXPLAIN SELECT column1, column2 FROM table_name;
    2. Column Encoding:

      By specifying column compression encodings when creating tables, you can reduce storage utilization and I/O, thereby improving performance. The auto or AZ64 encoding often yields optimal results.

      CREATE TABLE events (
          event_date DATE ENCODE az64,
          event_type VARCHAR(30) ENCODE lzo,
          event_count INTEGER ENCODE az64
  • Cluster Management

    1. Workload Management (WLM):

      WLM allows you to manage query workloads by defining separate queues, each with specific concurrency levels and memory allocation. This can help prioritize critical tasks and improve system responsiveness.

    2. Elasticity and Scalability:

      Use Elastic Resize to scale your clusters based on demand. Concurrency Scaling can be an effective way to manage bursts of queries without impacting the performance of your main workloads.

    3. Right Sizing:

      Choose the right instance type based on your workload. You may need to increase the number of nodes, opt for denser node types, or both. For example, ra3 nodes offer up to 3x the performance of ds nodes and are optimal for large data workloads due to their managed storage capability. dc nodes could be suitable for smaller workloads requiring less storage but more compute power.

      # resize cluster using AWS CLI
      aws redshift modify-cluster --cluster-identifier my-cluster --node-type ra3.4xlarge --	number-of-nodes 4
    4. Monitor with CloudWatch and Redshift System Tables:

      CloudWatch allows real-time monitoring of cluster performance. Redshift system tables provide detailed diagnostics information for individual queries, aiding in performance tuning.

  • Cost Efficiency

    1. Reserved Instances and Savings Plans:

      Reserved Instances can provide significant cost savings for steady-state workloads, and AWS Savings Plans offer flexibility for changing usage patterns.

    2. Utilize Redshift Spectrum for infrequent data access:

      If you occasionally need to access large historical datasets, consider using Redshift Spectrum. It enables you to query data directly from S3, avoiding the cost of storing all data in your Redshift cluster.

  • Data Sharing, Governance, and Security

    1. Data Sharing:

      Redshift allows you to share data across different clusters without the need for data duplication, providing real-time and transactional access.

      CREATE DATASHARE sales_share FOR SCHEMA sales;
      ALTER DATASHARE sales_share GRANT USAGE TO ACCOUNT '<aws_account_id>';
    2. AWS Lake Formation for Data Governance:

      AWS Lake Formation helps enforce fine-grained access control, which simplifies data governance across AWS services.

    3. Encryption and Audit with CloudTrail:

      Use AES-256 encryption and AWS KMS for securing your data. AWS CloudTrail tracks API calls and changes to your environment, providing an audit trail for improved security.


These technical best practices will help you get the most out of Amazon Redshift, leading to more efficient, secure, and cost-effective data warehousing. Stay tuned for more expert level deep-dives into cloud data management!