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AWS Introduces AQUA to Bolster Data Queries

Amazon Redshift is used to performing multiple data queries on incredibly large datasets. In many ways, the entire platform was built to do just that. Launched in 2012 and serving as the backbone for Amazon Web Services (AWS), one of the most popular cloud service providers in the world, the importance of Amazon Redshift cannot be understated.

Because of this, engineers at AWS are continuously working to update Redshift with the latest and greatest technologies. Many of these improvements are aimed at increasing speed, but plenty of time and effort goes into reliability, efficiency, and security, too.

Their latest update – known as the Advanced Query Accelerator or, more simply, AQUA – is specifically meant for speed. According to representatives with AWS, this technology makes it possible for their customers to perform certain data operations 10 times faster than other platforms on the market today. But how do they do it?

Understanding Amazon Redshift

To understand how AQUA works, it's critical to first understand the basics of Amazon Redshift. With the current setup, Redshift serves as an environment that is separate from the primary AWS S3 storage servers. This is done to better optimize data workloads and costs, but it comes with an inherent problem; processing time.

Smaller files won't suffer much slowdown, but larger datasets – which are often moved back and forth between Redshift and AWS S3 storage – can take a long time to transfer and process. As a result, data queries end up being delayed.

With AQUA, however, the engineers at AWS are trying to solve that specific issue. By reducing the need to move all of this data back and forth, the team believes they can speed up data queries significantly.

Rahul Pathak, vice president of analytics with AWS, provided further clarification by saying: "Existing data warehouse architectures with centralized storage require that data be moved to compute clusters for processing, which creates a bottleneck and slows down performance. By bringing compute to the storage layer, AQUA helps customers eliminate unnecessary data movement to avoid these networking bandwidth limitations, delivering up to an order-of-magnitude query performance improvement over other enterprise cloud data warehouses — and this game-changing leap in performance is available to Amazon Redshift users at no additional cost."

Understanding the Power of AQUA

To put it another way, the system has already been proven to run 50% more queries without any additional cost to the user. Additionally, many data operations are completed in one-tenth of the time when compared to previous iterations of Redshift.

For a platform that relies so heavily on its ability to process data and respond to user queries, the introduction of AQUA provides a much-needed boost. However, and perhaps even more importantly, it does so without raising prices on their users.

AQUA is already available to many of Amazon Redshift's customers, with added support being rolled out on a continuous basis. For more information about AQUA, or for details on AWS in general, please visit their official site at


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