Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Mehdi Daoudi, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Open Source Cloud, @DXWorldExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Case Study: Integrating Redshift, DynamoDB and JasperSoft

JasperSoft and Redshift are touted as the new way to do data warehousing in the cloud

We recently completed a proof-of-concept (POC) that involved pulling data out of DynamoDB and into Redshift so that business users could analyze the data in an ad hoc manner with JasperSoft. JasperSoft and Redshift are touted as the new way to do data warehousing in the cloud and we were using DynamoDB as a sort of alternative to something Hadoop based.

We were amazed at how quickly and easily you could get a business-user friendly view of the data we had stored in DynamoDB using Redshift and JasperSoft. The actual human effort required to copy some initial data from DynamoDB into Redshift and then view it in JasperSoft was barely a few hours. However, there were a few unforseen technical challenges, but these challenges were not insurmountable. Ultimately we will continue with this technology combination because, as well as being easy to deploy and use, it gives us confidence that we can scale the POC into a "real" solution, and that our growing data needs will be taken care of.

Redshift's inbuilt copy from DynamoDB function makes getting data into Redshift fast but has limitations
Redshift provides an out-of-the-box copy function to copy data from DynamoDBinto Redshift without the need to set up servers or write any code other than a few simple lines of SQL. We were able to copy many of our tables straight out of DynamoDB and into Redshift and start running ad hoc queries without having to fire up servers or create an entire data translation layer of software.

We couldn't copy all of our tables, however, as DynamoDB's String Set field type is not currently supported by Redshift's copy function. After attempts at various SQL hacks and closely reading the Redshift manual we realized that we would not be able to work with these tables in the POC. In the future we will write some simple copy scripts (unless Amazon beats us to it and updates the copy command which, given their continuous product improvement, is likely).

Copying takes time
As it was a POC we were only copying across 3.5GB or 50 million rows of data but this process did take some time to complete - it took us 37 hours. Both Redshift and DynamoDB were running on the lowest performance settings and the DynamoDB instance was also servicing the needs of the live beta application we were trying to extract data from. We suspect this process could easily be made quicker by increasing the DynamoDB instance power and the power of Redshift but we did not test this.

The time it takes to copy 3.5GB of data indicated to us that a considered approach is necessary for getting data from DynamoDB into Redshift, especially considering that the live data will be much larger in volume. For example, when this goes into production we are only going to copy new records on a daily basis instead of clearing the entire Redshift database and reloading it to stay up to date.

Working in SQL with Redshift makes life easy
Once we had pulled our initial copy of data into Redshift we needed to manipulate the data to get it into a form that business users could analyze and create reports with.

The great thing about Redshift is that you are working in an environment you are familiar with. SQL. Redshift, at the time of writing, is based on PostgreSQL 8.0.2 so we were able to apply familiar string manipulation and math functions as well as create and join new tables to make the data much easier to understand for a non-technical business user.

Some SQL functions aren't yet supported by Redshift so we had to read through the documentation every now and then to find a suitable alternative. Sometimes it was just about trying to find the alternate name Redshift was using for a function we were used to using. Other times it meant creating some interesting workaround SQL. For example, Redshift doesn't support a function that can convert a Unix timestamp to a date so we had to manually convert our time stamps to dates using a mathematical formula.

Instant, non-technical user friendly data access with JasperSoft
We easily spun up a JasperSoft OnDemand instance and connected it to Redshift quite quickly. We were then creating ad hoc views and reports in a matter of minutes.

We did have some issues analyzing one of our tables straight out-of-the-box, one table had almost 3.5GB. Attempting to view reports on this table led to JasperSoft crashing. With some tweaking of the way the reports ran we were able to prevent analysis of this table from crashing JasperSoft.

More Stories By Scott Middleton

Scott Middleton is the CEO and Principal Consultant at Terem Technologies, a company that specializes in custom software development for innovative companies and high-tech ventures.

Comments (1)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Microservices Articles
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes how...
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term.
As Enterprise business moves from Monoliths to Microservices, adoption and successful implementations of Microservices become more evident. The goal of Microservices is to improve software delivery speed and increase system safety as scale increases. Documenting hurdles and problems for the use of Microservices will help consultants, architects and specialists to avoid repeating the same mistakes and learn how and when to use (or not use) Microservices at the enterprise level. The circumstance w...
Containers, microservices and DevOps are all the rage lately. You can read about how great they are and how they’ll change your life and the industry everywhere. So naturally when we started a new company and were deciding how to architect our app, we went with microservices, containers and DevOps. About now you’re expecting a story of how everything went so smoothly, we’re now pushing out code ten times a day, but the reality is quite different.
Traditional IT, great for stable systems of record, is struggling to cope with newer, agile systems of engagement requirements coming straight from the business. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, William Morrish, General Manager of Product Sales at Interoute, will outline ways of exploiting new architectures to enable both systems and building them to support your existing platforms, with an eye for the future. Technologies such as Docker and the hyper-convergence of computing, networking and...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
Containers and Kubernetes allow for code portability across on-premise VMs, bare metal, or multiple cloud provider environments. Yet, despite this portability promise, developers may include configuration and application definitions that constrain or even eliminate application portability. In this session we'll describe best practices for "configuration as code" in a Kubernetes environment. We will demonstrate how a properly constructed containerized app can be deployed to both Amazon and Azure ...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
The now mainstream platform changes stemming from the first Internet boom brought many changes but didn’t really change the basic relationship between servers and the applications running on them. In fact, that was sort of the point. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Gordon Haff, senior cloud strategy marketing and evangelism manager at Red Hat, will discuss how today’s workloads require a new model and a new platform for development and execution. The platform must handle a wide range of rec...