AWS re:Invent: Amazon launches data warehouse service Redshift and cuts S3 prices

Cloud computing software

AWS re:Invent: Amazon launches data warehouse service Redshift and cuts S3 prices

Archana Venkatraman

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is making a foray into the data warehousing segment with the launch of Redshift, a cloud-based data warehouse service. 

It announced the Redshift service, along with Amazon S3 price cuts, at its first ever user and partner conference, AWS re:Invent, in Las Vegas.

“Traditional data warehouse products are too expensive and have licensing complications,” said AWS senior vice-president Andy Jassy (pictured). “Many large enterprises told us they are unhappy with the existing data warehousing services in the market.”

Launching in 2013, AWS Redshift will become a fully managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse service in the cloud. It will help enterprise IT automate labour-intensive tasks such as setting up, operating and scaling a data warehouse cluster.

It will also help them to provision capacity, monitor and back up the cluster, as well as apply patches and upgrades.

Amazon Redshift is designed for developers or businesses that require the full features and capabilities of a relational data warehouse, said Jassy.

An average enterprise typically pays between $19,000 and $25,000 per terabyte per year on data warehousing. With Redshift, the average cost per terabyte per year would be $1,000

It is certified by Jaspersoft and MicroStrategy, and will work with most business intelligence (BI) tools, including SAP Business Objects and Cognos among others, with additional BI tools to be added later.

“When customers complained to us about existing products, we wanted to do data warehousing services on the cloud AWS style,” said Jassy. “It should be easy to provision, easy to scale, open and flexible, and inexpensive,” he said.

Today, an average enterprise typically pays between $19,000 and $25,000 per terabyte (TB) per year on data warehousing. With Redshift, the average cost per terabyte per year would be around $1,000.

In addition to cost savings, Redshift will offer 10 times faster performance and will be a “game changer” in the data warehouse space, said Jassy.

Amazon’s cloud-based service for the data warehouse space marks its venture into a new segment. It already provides infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) services; cloud-based storage services, with Amazon Simple Storage Service or Amazon S3); and cloud-based database services, with Amazon RDS.

Redshift is due to launch next year, but it is already used by the retailer itself and other enterprise customers, including Netflix, Nasa and Flipboard, under AWS’s private beta programme.

"At Netflix, we deliver personalised recommendations for millions of subscribers by analysing large volumes of data, and are always looking for ways to improve our service," said Kurt Brown, director, data science and engineering platform, at Netflix. "The cost-disruptive and cloud-based model of Amazon Redshift will shake up the data warehousing industry,” he added.

Amazon slashes S3 prices by 25%

Another big highlight of the AWS re:Invent conference was the price reduction of Amazon S3. “We are lowering Amazon S3 pricing by about 25% across the board, effective from 1 December 2012,” said Jassy.

Amazon S3 is AWS’s web services interface that enterprises use to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web.

The cost-disruptive and cloud-based model of Amazon Redshift will shake up the data warehousing industry

Kurt Brown, Netflix

Under the new pricing, customers will be able to store data in the cloud for about nine cents per gigabyte. S3 currently stores 1.3 trillion objects and receives 800,000 requests per second, according to AWS.

Jassy said the company is passing its lower overall cost of storage and better economies of scale on to customers, and has "made 23 price reductions since 2006". 

AWS is being aggressive in its push into the enterprise segment by venturing into new markets and launching steep price cuts, Michael Barnes, research director at Forrester told Computer Weekly

“It is carrying forward its focus on low-margin, high-volume strategy,” he added.

AWS re:Invent, Amazon’s first ever user conference, has been all about capturing more of the enterprise market share, said Barnes. 

Among other highlights, AWS reiterated its commitment to cloud security at the user conference and spoke about its new services, including Amazon Cloud Search and Amazon Glacier, its low-cost cloud storage service for data that can tolerate a three- to five-hour retrieval time.


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