Amazon Redshift vs RDS: 6 Key Differences To Know

redshift vs rds image

Amazon Redshift vs RDS

In this post, let us look at Amazon Redshift vs RDS and the 6 significant differences between the two.

To quote Lao Tzu, “A journey of a thousand miles, starts with a single step”. Similarly, implementing the right AWS services requires knowing that first step – choosing the right database service. AWS currently offers 7 different flavors of databases, ranging from relational, document, NoSQL, in-memory, graph and data warehouse. Redshift is Amazon’s data warehouse offering and is a very powerful petabyte scale relational database. This relational status of Redshift can make it a very tempting choice for transactional processing.

1. OLAP vs OLTP, whats the difference ?

Amazon Redshift is a Data Warehouse Service based on PostgreSQL 8.0.2, geared towards Online Analytical Processing (OLAP).

However, just because it is based on PostgreSQL does not mean it can be used as a transactional database (OLTP). Redshift supports relational database like features, but its architectural components are optimized for analysis on large datasets, i.e., OLAP.

Amazon RDS on the other hand is a Relational Database service offering meant for Online Transaction Processing (OLTP).

In Amazon RDS, you create a DB Instance which runs a MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, Oracle, or Microsoft SQL Server DB Engine.


2. Redshift vs RDS - Fully Managed vs Managed

Redshift is a Fully Managed Service, which means management tasks such as hardware provisioning, software patching, setup, configuration, monitoring, failure recovery, and backups are all automatically handled for you.

Amazon RDS is a mix of  Managed and Fully Managed Services. Aurora, the relational database by Amazon is fully managed, while the rest of the third-party database engines are Managed Services. As part of the managed services, RDS handles infrastructure capacity provisioning, backups, patching and data replication. All other management tasks need to be handled by an administrator.

3. Redshift vs RDS - Columnar vs Row-wise Storage

Redshift uses Columnar model for data storage. In Columnar storage, data is stored and retrieved in columns as opposed to rows. This reduces the storage space required and increases data retrieval efficiency. In addition, since a column stores data of the same type, compression encodings specific to the data type can be applied further reducing disk space consumption and I/O.

Amazon RDS uses Row-Wise data storage. In this model, data is stored one row at a time, potentially across multiple data blocks. This is the typical storage model for relational databases. However, this is not a design flaw, rather meant to increase the efficiency of read and write transactions. RDS is meant for transaction processing systems.

4. Redshift vs RDS - Sort Keys

Amazon Redshift sorts the data before storing it in a table. Sort Keys enable efficient use of range range-restricted predicates, which basically means more efficient table scans and faster return of query results. There are two types of sort keys in Redshift: Compound and Interleaved. For details on how to create tables in Redshift, click here

Amazon RDS does not have the concept of Sort Keys.

5. Redshift vs RDS - Constraints

Amazon Redshift does not enforce primary key, foreign key and unique constraints. You could define these constraints if they exist in the transactional database. In Redshift these constraints will be used for informational purposes only; however, they do get used by the query optimizer to create optimized queries.

All relational database constraints are enforced in Amazon RDS. However these are enforced based on the individual database engine rules.

6. Redshift vs RDS - Read Replicas

Amazon Redshift does not support Read Replicas.

Read replica is a feature of Amazon RDS, where a copy of the source database instance is created in the same or separate AWS Region. This replicated instance is then asynchronously updated from the source database instance. This Read Replica instance only supports reads. Having a Read Replica enables better scaling, disaster recovery, reporting and data warehousing capabilities.

Currently Maria DB, MySQL, Oracle and PostgrSQL are the only database engines that support Read Replica in RDS.

Amazon Redshift helpful links

Amazon Redshift Documentation

This is the latest version of Amazon Redshift Documentation

Amazon Redshift SQL

Every thing you need to know about Redshift SQL Conventions, Expressions, Elements, Conditions, Commands, Functions and Reserved Words

Service Offerings by Obstkel

Get to know the AWS Cloud Services offered by Obstkel

Building a Data Warehouse

This is an excellent blog post from AWS by Stephen Borg on Building a Data Warehouse using Amazon Redshift

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