This service goes right for the jugular of existing big data warehousing players Oracle, IBM and Teradata. Just as other AWS offerings compete not by aping the existing offerings but by rethinking them for a low-cost, low-margin, automated self-service approach, so, too, does Redshift represent a different twist on data warehousing.
Instead of the traditional, expensive star schema approach, Redshift is a compressed columnar database that provides better performance and smaller storage requirements. Moreover, Redshift is cost-competitive- at less than $1,000 per year per terabyte, it's 90 percent less expensive than the competition, Jassy says, which can run up to $20,000 per year.
From what I see, Redshift is designed to be easy to use, without a huge learning curve or requiring disruption to loading or running the warehouse. Another attractive aspect of Redshift is that supports existing analytics and reporting tools from Microstrategy and Jaspersoft-making the transition dead simple for those data warehouse users.
Jassy offered a true-to-life example of a Redshift customer: Amazon itself. Amazon, as you might imagine, has a ton of data to crunch in analyzing its business, and it has traditionally used one of the big players. It migrated to Redshift, and claims its costs went from "millions of dollars per year" to $32,000. One may be skeptical about the Amazon connection in this example, but the numbers are eye-popping.
My read on Redshift is that it is likely to be highly disruptive to enable a whole new market for data warehouse users who were previously priced out of analytics. It also demonstrates that AWS has no barrier to its ambition-it's certainly not going to limit its offerings to hosting replacement and complementary services to hosting. If Amazon can figure out a way to standardize and automate a software segment, sooner or later the incumbents will see a commodity player come into their space.
Hudl Shows AWS at Work on Massive Scale
I attended a number of excellent sessions throughout the day as well. Amazon made an effort to have customers offer real-world case studies, which is a welcome change from the usual vendor-heavy pitches of most other cloud conferences.
A case study from the last session of the day that I attended focused on CloudFront, Amazon's content delivery network (CDN) service. After an overview of the service, the speaker introduced Brian Kaiser, CTO of a football video service called Hudl that's used by 08 percent of the high schools in America, along with 80 Division I colleges and 10 NFL teams.