re:Invent 2016 – Amazon Athena Enables Serverless MySQL Queries of S3 Data Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), today announced Amazon Athena. This allows serverless queries of large amounts of data stored in Amazon Simple Storage Service, (Amazon S3). This bypasses standard Big Data processes like spinning up Hadoop clusters. Customers can point Amazon Athena to their Amazon S3 data and use standard SQL to run queries and get answers in seconds with just a few clicks in AWS Management Console. Amazon Athena is free from infrastructure to set up or manage, clusters to tune, and no infrastructure to maintain. Customers pay only for the queries they run. Amazon Athena promises to make it easier to query petabyte-scale data stored as standard data formats like log files, CSV, JSON, Apache ORC, and Apache Parquet. It does not require the use of standard Big Data tools, primarily from the Apache Software Foundation ecosystem like Spark, Hive, Pig, and Hadoop. However, its underlying architecture is based upon the Presto distributed SQL engine, an Apache project. AWS spokesperson Jeff Barr stated that Athena has an interactive query editor to make it as easy as possible. Your queries can be expressed in standard ANSI SQL, and can include JOINs and window functions. You can execute your queries from either the AWS Management console or a SQL client like SQL Workbench. Amazon QuickSight can also be used to visualize your data. You can also download the Athena JDBC driver to run queries from your favorite Business Intelligence software. AWS FAQ provides more information about the product, including which use cases are best suited to Athena. This includes details on how Athena compares to other Big Data services like Amazon Redshift or more complex data processing frameworks like Amazon EMR. Snowflake Computing CEO Bob Muglia stated that AWS Athena’s announcement is a further confirmation of the growing demand for cloud data processing. “In fact, data processing has become one the most important workloads in cloud computing. Customers demand fast, flexible, and simple ways to store, access, and analyze cloud data to help them achieve business goals. Barr stated that Athena is currently only available in the US East (Northern Virginia), and US West (Oregon) areas, but will be available in other regions in the coming months. He also stated that Athena is only available for the queries you run. The amount of data scanned by each query is what you pay. This information will be displayed after each query. This allows you to make significant cost savings by compressing or partitioning your data, or converting it to a columnar format. More information at re:Invent 2016.