With tens of thousands of customers, Amazon Redshift is one of the most-talked-about platforms in database management circles. It stores data in one place for analytics, providing infrastructure for business intelligence (BI) analytics tools that analyze an organization's most valuable data. 

You might be wondering how Redshift works and whether it's a database or something else entirely. Below, learn the science behind Redshift and how a data integration tool such as Integrate.io can move your data to this platform for analytics. 

So is AWS Redshift a database? Read on to find out.

Table of Contents

Integrate.io is the no-code solution that moves data to Amazon Redshift for analytics. Use it to eliminate common problems with manual data pipelines and transform your data integration strategies. Start your seven-day free trial with Integrate.io now.

Read more: Amazon Redshift SecurETL to Your Data Warehouse

Is AWS Redshift a Database?

The short answer is yes, but there's a lot more to it than that.

AWS Redshift is a high-performance petabyte-scale database that performs something called online analytical processing or OLAP. That means it's capable of processing and storing large amounts of data for analytical purposes. An OLAP executes multidimensional analysis of business-critical data so users can draw conclusions from that data for better organizational decision-making. For example, data analysts might run data through this database to learn more about their organization's customers. Marketing teams can then use the analytics generated from an OLAP database to fine-tune their marketing campaigns and improve customer engagement.

A database that carries out OLAP is called a data warehouse. AWS Redshift refers to itself as a data warehouse, not a database, which is why so many organizations ask themselves the question: "Is AWS Redshift a database?"

Technically, Redshift is a database. However, it's not a database in the traditional sense. Relational databases and transactional databases, for example, only store data. These platforms can't execute OLAP or run complex analytical processes as Redshift can.

Redshift, part of Amazon Web Services, consists of clusters that comprise nodes and disk storage. Its Redshift Spectrum feature lets you run queries against data from Amazon S3 buckets with machine learning algorithms. Use cases for Redshift include identifying high-value customers and generating scheduled reports for marketing teams.

Redshift isn't the only data warehouse. Other warehouses such as Snowflake and Google BigQuery do the same thing. However, many organizations use Redshift because of its speed. Amazon says its data warehousing solution is the fastest in the world, capable of processing twice as many workloads as Snowflake. 

Amazon offers Redshift as a cloud-based web service, so you don't need to store any data on your computer.

How Does Redshift Work?

Redshift is column-based. It stores data in columns rather than rows and this data storage method makes it faster than some other platforms. Each column in Redshift contains numbers, text, or other values. Redshift is based on PostgreSQL. 

Redshift analyzes structured and semi-structured data using SQL. When you move data to this platform, you can generate insights about your business with Amazon QuickSight and third-party BI tools such as Tableau, Looker, and Microsoft PowerBI. Discover more about customer purchasing habits, for example. Or analyze marketing trends. 

With the Redshift data warehouse, you get real-time operational analytics on easy-to-use dashboards. You can then use these analytics to solve problems in your organization and make business-critical decisions.

Say you are a retailer that wants to analyze customer data to improve customer engagement, marketing processes, and, ultimately, sales. If you have customer data in several databases, you can move all your data sets to Redshift for a single, unified view of your customer base. You can then run data through BI tools and learn more about customer behaviors, trends, and patterns from your AWS account. 

Amazon Redshift Data: What Can You Use It For?

There are many reasons why enterprises like yours might use the Redshift cloud data warehouse:

  • You want to store data in one place instead of using several systems.
  • You want to run data analytics in the cloud, which offers more security and scalability than on-premise hardware. 
  • You want to generate real-time operational analytics about sales, marketing, customer service, financial management, and other functions in your organization. 
  • You want a single source of truth for data processing. 
  • You already use a data warehouse service, but it's ineffective or too expensive.  

Read more: Amazon Redshift: Comprehensive Guide

How Integrate.io Can Help

Now you know how Amazon Redshift works, you might be thinking about how to move data to the platform. For Redshift to analyze data, you need a data integration method such as Extract, Transform and Load (ETL), which takes data from its source, transforms the data into the correct format, and loads it into Redshift. 

Amazon has its own ETL tool called Amazon Glue, but it requires knowledge of Scala or Python. If you lack coding skills or don't have the resources to hire a data engineering team, you might need a third-party ETL platform to move data sources to Redshift. Otherwise, you might need to deal with complicated tasks such as massively parallel processing, compute nodes, data types, query performance, SQL queries, concurrency scaling, bandwidth, deployments, IAM roles, schemas, security groups, permissions, parameters, leader nodes, node types and identity, and access management. 

Integrate.io is a no-code/low-code ETL platform that makes moving big data to Redshift easy. You can aggregate data from sources such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, relational databases, columnar databases, and transactional databases. Integrate.io then transforms that data into the proper format for metrics and loads data to Redshift. A native Redshift connector makes this all possible. 

There are other benefits:

  • With Integrate.io, you only pay for the number of connectors you use and not for the data you consume. For example, you will only pay for Xplenty's Redshift connector if that's all you need. This pricing model could work out more cost-effectively for some teams. 
  • You can access telephone and email support if you require a helping hand.
  • You can use over 100 other native connectors that move large data sets between sources and destinations, such as Salesforce, Snowflake, Oracle, and other AWS services such as DynamoDB.
  • You can use a Salesforce-to-Salesforce connector that not only moves data from Salesforce but moves it back again. 
  • You can build your own data pipelines with a powerful REST API.

Integrate.io currently has an average user score of 4.3/5 on the review website G2.com, making it one of the most popular data integration platforms on the market. 

Read more: Allowing Integrate.io Access to My Redshift Cluster

Integrate.io is the data management platform for data-driven enterprises everywhere. Use it to load data from various sources to AWS Redshift in mere minutes without code. Start your seven-day free trial today and learn more answers to the question: "Is AWS Redshift a database?"