Amazon Redshift vs Azure Synapse: 6 Critical Differences

By: Published: April 26, 2023

Amazon Redshift vs Azure Synapse FI

Data warehouses can help solve the problem of managing large amounts of data for businesses. A data warehouse is like a library where information from different sources is stored and organized, making it easy to find and use data. 

For many years, data warehouses have been crucial for enterprise analytics and reporting. However, traditional data warehouses were not designed to cope with the rapid growth of data. As a result, it fails to handle the constantly evolving needs of end-users. Although traditional data warehouses are effective, cloud-based data warehouses offer additional benefits like flexibility and scalability. 

As a result, cloud-based data warehouses have emerged as a popular solution for storing, reporting, and analyzing data in a secure and cost-effective manner. 

Some of the most widely used cloud-based data warehouses include Amazon Redshift and Azure Synapse Analytics. Both of them provide storage analytics services to help businesses make informed decisions. However, there are key differences between Amazon Redshift and Azure Synapse Analytics. Let’s dive in.

Amazon Redshift Overview

Amazon Redshift vs Azure Synapse: Amazon Redshift Architecture
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Amazon Redshift is a cloud-based data warehousing service provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS). It uses a massively parallel processing (MPP) architecture to distribute data across multiple nodes, enabling fast querying and analysis of large-scale datasets. To query, you can use SQL, a commonly used database language. 

Amazon Redshift also offers advanced features for automation, intelligent optimization, and enhanced security. These features make it a popular choice for organizations to store and analyze large amounts of data in the cloud.

Here are some key features offered by Amazon Redshift:

  • Powerful data warehousing.
  • Direct integration with various AWS services.
  • Automatic concurrency scaling for optimal query performance.
  • Serverless option for cost-effective scaling.
  • Streaming data ingestion for real-time data analysis.
  • High reliability and uptime with automated backups and maintenance.
  • Advanced security, access control, and compliance.

Azure Synapse Overview

amazon redshift vs azure synapse: azure synapse analysis
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Azure Synapse Analytics, formerly known as Azure SQL Data Warehouse, is a cloud-based analytics service provided by the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. It combines enterprise data warehousing with big data analytics capabilities. This platform offers two types of computing environments to support different workloads: 

  • SQL compute environment known as SQL pool
  • Spark compute environment known as Spark pool

Azure Synapse provides a unified portal called Synapse Studio. It creates a workspace for data preparation, data management, data exploration, and data warehousing. You can choose a compute environment that best suits your business requirements.

Here are the key features of Azure Synapse:

  • Provides limitless scalability for big data analytics.
  • Generate powerful insights using machine learning on transformed data.
  • Provides unified experience for end-to-end analytics solutions.
  • Offers advanced security and privacy features.
  • Easy integration with other Microsoft Azure services.

Comparison Factors – Amazon Redshift vs Azure Synapse 

Amazon Redshift vs Azure Synapse
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It’s important to evaluate different options while selecting a cloud-based data warehouse solution for your business. Comparing key differentiating factors can help you make an informed decision. 

Let’s delve into a comparison of AWS Redshift vs Azure Synapse Analytics.

AWS Redshift vs Azure Synapse: Data Analytics Capabilities

Amazon Redshift doesn’t have built-in advanced analytics capabilities, but it can integrate with other AWS services for analytics. Redshift is primarily designed as a data warehousing solution. Its main focus is providing fast and efficient querying and data retrieval capabilities.

However, it can integrate with other AWS services, such as Amazon SageMaker, Amazon EMR, and Amazon QuickSight, to perform advanced analytics tasks.

Unlike Redshift, Azure Synapse Analytics is a comprehensive analytics service with built-in advanced analytics capabilities. 

It includes Apache Spark-based analytics, machine learning, graph analysis, and predictive analytics. 

Synapse includes Azure Synapse Studio, a single workspace for analytics development and a unified experience for data preparation, big data processing, and machine learning. Additionally, it integrates with other Azure services, such as Azure Machine Learning, Power BI, and Azure Databricks, to provide an end-to-end analytics solution.

Amazon Redshift vs Azure Synapse Analytics: Data Integration

When it comes to integrating with different data sources, Synapse Analytics has over 95+ pre-built connectors, including popular tools like Magento, PayPal, and Salesforce. It also offers connectors for databases like Oracle, MySQL, and PostgreSQL. With these pre-built connectors, users can efficiently perform analytics and reporting.

While Synapse offers pre-built connectors, Redshift does not have any pre-built connectors. But instead, it offers direct integration with several AWS services, including Amazon S3, Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon EMR. 

Redshift vs Azure Synapse: Machine Learning

Redshift supports machine learning capabilities that allow users to perform basic machine learning tasks. 

In Redshift, you can build machine learning models like binary classification, multiclass classification, and regression with simple SQL commands. 

The models are trained using Amazon SageMaker and the predictions are carried out in Redshift. 

Whereas, Azure Synapse Analytics offers advanced built-in machine learning capabilities through Azure Machine Learning service. Azure Machine Learning provides additional machine learning capabilities, such as hyperparameter tuning and advanced algorithms, such as Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN), Recurrent Neural Networks (RNN), Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM), Support Vector Machines (SVM) and Naive Bayes (NB).

Redshift mainly focuses on data warehousing, while Synapse offers a wider range of analytics services, including data warehousing, big data processing, and machine learning. Therefore, Synapse provides more options for building and deploying complex machine learning models.

Amazon Redshift vs Azure Synapse: Availability and Disaster Recovery

Amazon Redshift allows for manual and automated snapshots of a cluster. The snapshots are replicated to S3 through an encrypted SSL connection in another region for disaster recovery. However, the snapshots are not deleted automatically. As a result, you need to set the retention period for both manual and automated snapshots. Additionally, Amazon Redshift continuously monitors clusters, re-replicates data, and replaces nodes in case of failures.

Even Azure Synapse Analytics allows for manual and automated snapshots of the data warehouse. Multiple restore points are created during the day, and they remain accessible for 7-35 days

Unlike Redshift, the retention period in Azure Synapse is fixed and cannot be customized according to specific business needs. However, Synapse Geo-backup capability enables restoring a data warehouse to another region’s server when the primary region’s restore points are unavailable.

Amazon Redshift vs Azure Synapse: Data Security and Access Control

In terms of Security, Synapse distinguishes itself from Redshift in two key aspects. Firstly, Azure Synapse Analytics offers OAuth 2.0 support to enable authorized account access without sharing or storing user login credentials. 

Amazon Redshift does not directly support OAuth 2.0. However, it is possible to integrate Redshift with other AWS services, such as Amazon API Gateway or AWS Lambda, which support OAuth 2.0. By using these services as a proxy, it is possible to authenticate and authorize access to Redshift resources through OAuth 2.0.

Secondly, while Redshift applies permissions to entire tables, Synapse allows for granular permissions on schemas, tables, views, individual columns, procedures, and other objects. This enables you to regulate data access and limit sensitive information to authorized users only.

Amazon Redshift vs Azure Synapse: Pricing

Azure Synapse Analytics pricing is based on data storage, data processing, and SQL pool provisioning. It has two pricing models: on-demand and provisioned. Pricing varies based on workflow, and the Azure pricing tool for Synapse can be used to determine costs.

Amazon Redshift pricing is determined by node type, number of nodes, and usage duration, with options for on-demand or reserved instances. There are also pricing tiers for data transfer and snapshots. Total costs can be estimated using the AWS pricing calculator or the billing dashboard on the AWS console.

Comparison FactorsAmazon RedshiftAzure Synapse 
Data Analytics CapabilitiesLacks built-in analytics Capabilities but can integrate with AWS services like Amazon EMR, and QuickSight for advanced analytics.Comprehensive analytics service with built-in advanced analytics capabilities, including Apache Spark-based analytics, machine learning, graph analysis, and predictive analytics.
Data IntegrationSupports direct integration with several AWS services and select AWS partners.Has 95+ pre-built connectors to various data sources.
Support for Machine LearningHas limited Built-in machine learning capabilities.
Integration with Amazon SageMaker for advanced machine learning tasks.
Has Advanced Built-in machine learning capabilities.
Supported by Azure Machine Learning.
Availability and Disaster RecoverySupports manual and automated snapshots of clusters.
The Retention period for snapshots is customizable.
Supports manual and automated snapshots of clusters.
The Retention period for snapshots is 7-35 days.
Data Security and Access ControlIndirectly supports OAuth2  by integrating with other AWS services.
Permissions are applied to entire tables.
Directly supports OAuth2.
Granular permissions on schemas, tables, views, individual columns, procedures, and other objects. 
PricingPricing is determined by node type, number of nodes, usage duration, data transfer, and snapshots.Pricing is based on data storage, data processing, and SQL pool provisioning.

Azure Synapse Analytics vs AWS Redshift: Which is Better?

Choosing between Redshift and Azure Synapse Analytics can be challenging for businesses looking to adopt a cloud data warehousing solution. Both platforms offer unique features and capabilities that can address specific business needs.

Amazon Redshift is suitable for small to large-scale businesses that require a scalable and cost-effective data warehousing solution. It is easy to set up, maintain, and integrate well with other AWS services, making it ideal for AWS users. 

Amazon Redshift is an ideal choice if you want a data warehousing solution that can handle massive amounts of data and requires minimal maintenance.

On the other hand, Synapse is well-suited for organizations that require an integrated analytics solution that can handle both data warehousing and big data analytics. It has built-in advanced analytics capabilities and can handle large volumes of data efficiently. 

Azure Synapse is ideal for users who require a highly scalable data warehousing solution that can handle complex data structures and provide real-time insights. Synapse Analytics seamlessly integrates with other Azure services, making it an all-in-one solution for businesses’ analytics requirements. 

Synapse Analytics interface includes a drag-and-drop feature that allows users to visually build and design data flows to transform, aggregate, and prepare data for analysis. 

The no-code capabilities of Synapse empower even non-technical users to gain insights from their data and make data-driven decisions.

Learn more about Amazon Redshift Vs Hadoop: How to Make the Right Choice?


Amazon Redshift and Azure Synapse Analytics are powerful cloud-based data warehousing solutions offering unique features and capabilities. 

Redshift is a better choice for data warehousing use cases. 

And Synapse is a better choice for integrated analytics use cases that require both data warehousing and big data analytics capabilities. Synapse Analytics seamlessly integrates with other Azure services, offering an end-to-end analytics solution for businesses. 

However, if data warehousing is the primary focus, Redshift is a strong contender with its ease of use and scalability. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on the business’s specific requirements.

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Freelance Technical Content Writer, Hevo Data

Amulya combines her passion for data science with her interest in writing on various topics on data, software architecture, and integration through her problem-solving approach.

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