Working with Redshift Snapshots Simplified

• March 22nd, 2022

Redshift Snapshots | Cover

Redshift is a  popular cloud data warehouse platform provided by Amazon. It is a columnar database solution used for massive data aggregation as well as parallel processing. It is among the most preferred cloud data warehouse platforms today, which can be attributed to its features.

When using data storage engines including Amazon Redshift, data backup is one of the data administration roles. Amazon Redshift has the Snapshots feature to create point-in-time backups of your cluster. This saves you from data loss and makes it possible for you to recover your data in case of an unexpected event. In this article, we will be discussing Amazon Redshift snapshots in detail.

Table of Contents

  1. Prerequisites
  2. What is Amazon Redshift?
  3. What is Redshift Snapshots?
  4. How to Create AWS Redshift Snapshots?
  5. How to Configure Cross-Region Redshift Snapshots?
  6. How to Schedule Redshift Snapshots?
  7. How to Delete Manual Redshift Snapshots?
  8. Conclusion

Prerequisites

This is what you need for this article:

  • An AWS Account. 

What is Amazon Redshift?

redshift snapshots | Redshift Logo

Redshift is a cloud-based data warehouse service built by Amazon to handle enormous amounts of data and make it simple to extract new insights from them. Its functionality allows you to query and aggregate terabytes of structured and semi-structured data from a variety of Data Warehouses, operational databases, and data lakes.

Redshift is built on industry-standard SQL and includes features for managing massive datasets, doing high-performance analysis, generating reports, and performing large-scale database migrations.

Moreover, Redshift has the ability to scale horizontally or vertically in a short amount of time. Horizontal scaling is performed by adding more nodes, as the name implies. Vertical scaling entails improving the hardware specifications of existing nodes. The concurrency scaling features of Redshift are worth mentioning here. Concurrency scaling enables the cluster to scale autonomously in response to workloads. This is charged individually, however some concurrency scaling capability is provided free of charge for every 24 hours that the cluster remains operating.

What is Redshift Snapshots?

Redshift snapshots are backups of your Redshift clusters. They can be automated or manual. These snapshots are stored in S3 using an encrypted Secure Socket Layer connection. 

Redshift takes incremental snapshots of your cluster to track the changes that have been made since the last automated snapshot. These snapshots retain all data that you need to restore a cluster using a snapshot. Redshift allows you to create a schedule to determine when the automated snapshots will be taken. By default, this happens after every eight hours or after changes amounting to 5GB of data are made, whichever comes first. However, automated snapshots are deleted once you delete a cluster, and that’s why you may need to create manual snapshots. 

You can take manual Redshift snapshots anytime. By default, they are retained indefinitely, even after you’ve deleted your cluster. You can also set the retention period of the snapshot. 

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How to Create AWS Redshift Snapshots?

The following steps can help you to create a Redshift snapshot:

Step 1: Log into your Amazon Redshift account and click CLUSTERS from the left. 

Step 2: Click the “Actions” dropdown button on the top right corner of the page. Choose “Create snapshot”. 

How to Create AWS Redshift Snapshots?
Source: www.sqlshack.com

Step 3: A new window will pop up. Give the snapshot a name and specify its retention period. By default, the retention period for a manual snapshot is “Indefinitely”, meaning that it can only expire once the user decides to delete it. Feel free to change by selecting a custom value. Once done, click the “Create snapshot” button. 

Source: www.sqlshack.com

The process of creating the snapshot will then begin. To see the Redshift snapshots for the cluster, just click CLUSTERS from the left pane. 

If the cluster has a massive volume of data, it may take a long time to create the snapshot. In such a case, the progress of the backup process will be shown on the interface. 

How to Configure Cross-Region Redshift Snapshots?

To avoid total data loss in case of a disaster that destroys an entire region, Redshift snapshots are kept in different regions, physically distant from the primary location of the cluster. For example, if N. Virginia (us-east-1) is the primary location of the cluster, other regions except N.Virginia are good for disaster recovery. With Redshift, you automatically create cross-region snapshots. The following steps can help you set up this:

Step 1: Log into your Amazon Redshift account and click CLUSTERS from the left pane. 

Step 2: Click the “Actions” dropdown button on the top right corner of the page. Choose “Configure cross-region snapshot”. 

How to Configure Cross-Region Redshift Snapshots?
Source: www.sqlshack.com

Step 3: A new window will popup prompting you to allow for cross-region snapshots. Click “yes”.

Step 4: Select the destination region and the retention periods for both automated and manual Redshift snapshots. 

How to Configure Cross-Region Redshift Snapshots?
Source: www.sqlshack.com

Step 5: Click the “Save” button. 

You will have configured cross-region Redshift snapshots. 

How to Schedule Redshift Snapshots?

By default, Redshift creates automated snapshots every eight hours. However, you may need to change this to your own schedule. The following steps can help accomplish this:

Step 1: Click the Schedule tab. A new interface will be opened. 

Step 2: Click the “Add Schedule” button. 

How to Schedule Redshift Snapshots?
Source: www.sqlshack.com

Step 3: On the window that pops up, give the schedule a name and a description. Also, select when you want the automated Redshift snapshots to be taken. 

How to Schedule Redshift Snapshots?

Source: www.sqlshack.com

Step 4: If you want to configure rules for the snapshot, select the “Configure automated snapshot rules” button. More options will be opened for you. 

Step 5: Click the “Add schedule” button.

You will have created a schedule for your Redshift snapshots. 

How to Delete Manual Redshift Snapshots?

You may decide to remove a manual snapshot before its retention period ends. Amazon Redshift allows you to do this. To delete a manual snapshot, follow the steps given below:

Step 1: Select the manual snapshot from the snapshots tab. 

Step 2: Next, click the “Actions” menu. 

Step 3: Choose the “Delete Snapshot” option. 

How to Delete Manual Redshift Snapshots?
Source: www.sqlshack.com

The snapshot will then be deleted. 

From the above discussion, you can tell that Redshift provides both manual and automated features for snapshot management to make the work of database administrators easier. 

That is how to work with Redshift snapshots. 

Conclusion

This is what you’ve learned in this article:

  • Redshift is a cloud data warehouse platform provided by Amazon. It is a columnar database solution good for the aggregation of massive volumes of data and parallel processing. 
  • The Redshift snapshots feature creates point-in-time backups of your cluster to save you from data loss in case of a disaster. It also makes it easy for you to recover from disasters. 
  • By default, Redshift creates automated snapshots after every 5 hours or after changes amounting to 5GB, whichever comes first. They are also deleted immediately once you delete the cluster. Redshift also allows you to alter the schedule to be followed in creating the snapshots to meet your own needs. 
  • On the other hand, manual snapshots do not expire until the owner decides to delete them. You can create them at any time. Redshift also allows you to delete manual snapshots anytime you want. 
  • To stay safe in case of a disaster that destroys an entire region, configure cross-region Redshift clusters. These snapshots are stored in a different region from that of the primary cluster. 
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