Guide: Athena Security

Amazon Athena vs. Redshift

The technologies that power data warehouses are progressing toward collaborative, real-time, and numerical methods. Due to this increase in information gathering and the resources that power data warehouses provide, now is the best time for businesses to connect! Cloud-based data warehousing solutions have achieved unprecedented success with the assistance of standard techniques.

Amazon’s Redshift and Athena are both useful tools that provide collaborative, up-to-date, and analytic solutions to cloud-based warehousing issues associated with big data.

Below are the topics to be discussed.

What is Amazon Athena?

Amazon Athena does not require any underlying infrastructure to generate, handle or scale data formats. It is an interactive query engine that allows users to quickly analyze data sources stored in Amazon’s Simple Storage Service, also known as S3, using fundamental SQL.


It functions on top of the data sets contained in Amazon S3 buckets directly. It works as a read-only solution from the perspective of an S3 bucket since it generates external tables and, as a result, does not modify the data sources stored in Amazon Simple Storage Service or S3.

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What is Amazon Redshift?

Redshift is a petabyte-scale database system that, in conjunction with other business intelligence tools, enables the development of contemporary analysis methods. In contrast to Amazon Athena, Amazon Redshift necessitates the use of a cluster. This means that the user is required to construct external tables and transfer information extracts before any querying activities are performed.

Amazon Redshift is a data warehousing solution that is hosted in the cloud and comes with full management support. It is built on PostgreSQL 8.0.2 so it provides fast query performance and I/O performance for datasets of any size.

To begin using Redshift, the user first needs to set up clusters, which are collections of servers. An Amazon Redshift engine is located within each cluster and stores one or more datasets. Users can then swiftly perform sophisticated queries and effectively examine the results of those queries. Redshift functions most effectively when applied to load data sets that are both extensive and organized.

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Amazon Athena vs. Redshift: Broken Down

Making an accurate comparison between Athena and Redshift is challenging. Redshift is preferred to Athena regarding performance and scalability, whereas Athena has the edge concerning portability and pricing. Each method of data analysis contains its own set of benefits and drawbacks, even though both are excellent methods in their own right.


Athena enables data partitioning based on any key, with a maximum of 20,000 partitions per table. It can parse data from various data formats because it is compatible with several Serializer and Deserializer libraries. In addition to this, it does not support groups or any types of object identifiers.


In contrast, Redshift’s default behavior does not include support for straight partitioning. Optimizing tables for parallel computing takes advantage of previously set dispersion keys. Redshift automatically selects the partition keys rather than relying on the user since a poor human selection of partition keys can significantly influence the query performance.


Athena can start immediately. It does not need to be configured in any way. It can begin instantly running queries on the data stored in Amazon S3. However, Athena is designed for running queries on a single source of data, irrespective of the data’s structure, Athena is designed for running queries on a single data source.


Starting up Amazon Redshift takes a few minutes and necessitates the users to configure a cluster before they can start. It is necessary to load data into the tables that have been manually constructed. Moreover, Amazon Redshift’s design can execute complicated queries across multiple data sources.¬†

Management and Security

Amazon’s Identity Access Management is the system that Amazon Athena uses for security. The users must acquire authorization to access the S3 data locations within this context. Athena can perform simple queries on encrypted data stored in S3 and easily write a protected response directly to the S3 bucket. The upgrading process is inextricably bound to S3, which runs as a controlled system on top of the data, and users are required to make a special request for greater limits if they run into any restrictions.

When securing Amazon Redshift, creating a cluster security group is necessary to provide other users with access to the clusters. Redshift can leverage Amazon’s Virtual Private Cloud to secure access to the cluster, and you can deploy various data encryption techniques to safeguard clusters, links, and data file systems. Redshift can also use Amazon S3 to store encrypted data. In this implementation, upgrading is entirely dependent on the nodes, which makes upgrading a straightforward process that only requires the addition of nodes to scale up a cluster.


Athena’s pricing is determined by every terabyte of data scanned during the running of a query, with a minimum standard of 10 megabytes per query processing. There is no price for searches that are not successful, and the service is at its most inexpensive when the data is either compacted, partitioned, or transformed into a columnar structure.


The price of using Redshift is determined by the type of nodes, the total number of nodes, and the hourly charge for multiple concentrated processors and dense storage nodes. Redshift offers predictable pricing and no additional charge for performing excessive queries. However, the overall cost may increase due to the fixed computation and storage costs.

When to Use Athena vs. Redshift





Requires clusters

No requirements

Types of data sets


Unorganized, semi-structured

Data sources





Flexible, open-ended


Wait for clusters


Amazon Athena runs queries on Amazon S3 buckets. Therefore if you have a single source of data that is unorganized, semi-structured, Athena may be a better choice. 

On large structured data sets, it may be more beneficial to use Amazon Redshift as it is scalable enough to support new nodes, and even if one node is down, it recovers the drive. Further, if you have data spread across multiple data sources, Redshift is a better choice. 


When deciding between Amazon Redshift and Amazon Athena, no one answer is superior or worse than the other. The requirements of the company will ultimately determine the decision. Whichever option you choose, Satori’s Data Security Platform can provide comprehensive automated and secure access to data.

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Last updated on

June 29, 2023

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