Redshift is a data warehouse product that costs about $1000 per terabyte per year which is about 1/10 the cost of most data warehousing solutions. Instead of storing data in a row, data is stored in columns which makes it ideal for aggregating data. Data is stored squentially and compressed and when combined with Massive Parallel Processing the system is quite peppy.


Small configuration is a single node and up to 160Gb.

Multi-Node - includes a leader node and up to 128 compute nodes.

In general, you can optimize on compute density using SSD storage (362 TB) or storage density using magnetic storage (2Pb). This service attempts to maintain at least three copies of your data (original, recompute nodes, S3).

Only in 1 AZ; no HA.

Redshift does not use indexes because the data is stored in columns.

Data is encrypted in transit and at rest using Redshift managed keys. Key Management through HSM or KMS is possible. Encryption is an immutable property of the cluster. The only way to switch from an encrypted cluster to a nonencrypted cluster is to unload the data and reload it into a new cluster. Encryption applies to the cluster and any backups. When you restore a cluster from an encrypted snapshot, the new cluster is encrypted as well.

Similiar to RDS, Redshift uses parameter groups to standardize the configuration of a cluster. Workload Management groups are a big part of the standardization of a cluster. By default the WLM group contains one queue that can run 5 queries concurrently. More queues can be added; the last queue in the list of queues is the default queue. Additionally, users, query groups, and user groups can be defined to allow differiented access to the cluster.


Data load - single source per load generally compressed from S3

Any SQL client that works with PostgreSQL works with Redshift.

The EXPLAIN command spits out the execution plan for the query.


  1. Connections are terminated, cluster is restarted in readonly mode, all transactions in flight are rolled back

  2. The service starts a new cluster and copies data from the only cluster and operates in a read-only mode

  3. The endpoint is updated and the old cluster terminates all connections

A better way is probably to snapshot the cluster, load it on a new resized cluster, and then switch the connection endpoint to the resized cluster when the resize is complete

Cluster Termination

Shutting the cluster down snap shots the cluster for use at a later time but delete all automated snapshots.

Deleting a cluster does not create a final snapshot and deletes all the automated snapshots.

Redshift Backups

Redshift includes free automatic storage for snapshots with a 35 day retention period and backups up the amount of storage in the cluster.

Snapshots are point-in-time backups. Redshift nodes are continuously backed up to S3.

Automatic snap shotting can be configured with a retention period (default of 1 days) and can not be manually deleted. The automatic snapshot copy feature copies snapshots from one region to another manually or automatically AND does incur data transfer costs.

Restoring data from a snapshot by launching a new cluster and importing the data from the snapshot. The snapshot contains the number of nodes, type of nodes, the cluster configuration and the data included in the nodes.


Price = Compute Node Hours + backup costs + data transfer (within the VPC)

Notice that the leader node is not a cost!

Storage is provisioned as part of the node as long as the cluster is running so spot instances are not an option. On-demand instances can be added for scaling or temporary clusters. Reserved instances, given they are the right instance type and in the right AZ, can be used.