What is AWS Athena

AWS Athena is a serverless interactive query service that allows you to query data using standard SQL. Read this post to learn more about Athena.

What is AWS Athena
AWS Athena logo

AWS Athena is a serverless interactive query service that allows you to query data in Amazon S3 using standard SQL. Athena is easy to use. With Athena, there is no need to manage infrastructure, databases, or partitions. You can start querying data immediately after creating your data set. Athena is serverless, so there is no need to worry about managing clusters. You only pay for the queries that you run. Athena scales automatically—executing queries in parallel—so results are fast, even with large datasets and complex queries.

How does AWS Athena work?

AWS Athena uses Presto, an open-source distributed SQL query engine, to run SQL queries on data stored in Amazon S3. Athena uses Amazon S3 as its underlying data store and can read data from any file format stored in Amazon S3, including text files, CSV files, JSON files, Parquet files, ORC files, and Avro files.

What are the benefits of using AWS Athena?

There are many benefits of using Athena, including the following:

  • Athena is serverless, so there is no need to manage infrastructure, databases, or partitions.
  • Athena is easy to use. With Athena, you can start querying data immediately after creating your data set.
  • Athena is scalable. Athena can scale automatically to execute queries in parallel, so results are fast, even with large datasets and complex queries.
  • Athena is cost-effective. You only pay for the queries that you run.

Use Cases

AWS customers are using Athena to query data stored in Amazon S3 for a variety of use cases, including:

  • Analytics: Customers are using Athena to run ad-hoc queries on data stored in Amazon S3 to gain insights into their business. For example, a customer can use Athena to query clickstream data to better understand customer behavior.
  • Business intelligence: Customers are using Athena to query data stored in Amazon S3 to generate reports and dashboards. For example, a customer can use Athena to query data stored in Amazon S3 to generate a report on website traffic.
  • Data discovery: Customers use Athena to query data stored in Amazon S3 to explore and discover new insights. For example, a customer can use Athena to query data stored in Amazon S3 to discover new customer segments.

How do I get started with AWS Athena?

To get started with Athena, simply login to the AWS Management Console and create an Athena data set. Athena will automatically detect your data schema and generate the necessary SQL tables. You can then start running SQL queries on your data.

Pricing

AWS Athena is priced based on the amount of data scanned per query. The first TB of data scanned is free, and you only pay for the subsequent TBs scanned.

Let’s say you have a data set that is 1 TB in size and you run 100 queries per day. Each query takes 1 minute to run. The cost to store the data in Amazon S3 is $0.03 per GB per month or $30 per month. The cost to query the data is $5 per TB or $0.005 per GB. The total cost to query the data set for a month would be $30 for storage + $5 for queries, for a total of $35.

You can get more details on the pricing here.

Best Practices

When using Athena, there are a few best practices to keep in mind, including the following:

  • Use columnar formats such as Parquet and ORC to optimize query performance.
  • Partition your data to optimize query performance and minimize costs.
  • Use the S3 Select feature to retrieve only the data you need, instead of scanning the entire dataset.

You can read more about performance tuning here.

Conclusion

AWS Athena is a powerful tool for querying data stored in Amazon S3. Athena is easy to use, scalable, and cost-effective. With Athena, you can start querying data immediately after creating your data set.