PostgreSQL vs Amazon Redshift: The Definitive Comparison

By Laurent Mauer · October 27, 2022 · 7 min read

There are many different relational database management systems (RDBMS) available on the market today.

Two of the most popular options are PostgreSQL and Redshift. In this article, we’ll compare PostgreSQL vs Redshift, and take a look at the key differences between these two popular database management systems.

What is PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL is a powerful, open source relational database management system (RDBMS).

It is developed by a worldwide team of volunteers, and released under the terms of the PostgreSQL License.

PostgreSQL is ACID-compliant, supports foreign keys, joins, views, triggers, and stored procedures. It also features solid transaction support, reliability, and extensibility.

PostgreSQL has been in active development for over 20 years, and has become a database of choice for many web applications and high-traffic websites.

What is Amazon Redshift?

Redshift is a cloud-based data warehousing service offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

It is based on an older version of PostgreSQL, and is designed to handle large scale data sets for analytics and business intelligence purposes.

Redshift is fully managed, meaning that you don’t need to worry about provisioning, configuring, or managing servers.

It is also highly scalable, so you can easily add or remove capacity as needed.

Redshift is a great option for businesses that are looking for an easy to use, scalable, and cost-effective data warehousing solution.

If you have large amounts of data that you need to analyze, Redshift can help you get the insights you need.

To learn more about Redshift, check out the AWS Redshift page.

Key Differences between PostgreSQL and Amazon Redshift

There are several key differences between PostgreSQL and Amazon Redshift:

  • Open source vs proprietary

PostgreSQL is open source, while Redshift is proprietary.

This means that PostgreSQL is free to use and modify, while Redshift costs money to use.

  • On-premises vs cloud

PostgreSQL can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud, while Redshift is a cloud-based service.

  • Scalability

PostgreSQL is horizontally scalable, while Redshift is vertically scalable.

  • Data types

PostgreSQL supports a wider range of data types than Redshift.

  • Indexing

PostgreSQL supports a wider range of indexing options than Redshift.

Another key difference to consider is that PostgreSQL is ACID compliant, while Redshift is not.

This means that PostgreSQL supports transactions, while Redshift does not. This can be a critical difference for some applications.

Why Use PostgreSQL?

There are many reasons why you might choose to use PostgreSQL over other RDBMS options. Some of the key reasons include:

  • Open source

As an open source project, PostgreSQL is free to use and modify. This means that you can tailor the software to your specific needs without having to pay for a license.

  • Flexibility

PostgreSQL can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud. This gives you the flexibility to choose the deployment option that best suits your needs.

  • Scalability

PostgreSQL is horizontally scalable, so you can easily add more capacity by adding more servers. This makes it ideal for businesses that are growing rapidly and need to be able to scale quickly.

  • Data types

PostgreSQL supports a wide range of data types, including user-defined types. This makes it easy to store all kinds of data in your database.

  • Indexing

PostgreSQL supports a wide range of indexing options, so you can index your data in the way that best suits your needs.

Another reason to consider PostgreSQL is its robust set of features. Some of the key features include:

1. ACID compliance

PostgreSQL is ACID compliant, which means that it supports the four key properties of database transactions: atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability.

2. Foreign keys

PostgreSQL supports foreign keys, which means that you can enforce referential integrity in your database

3. Triggers

PostgreSQL supports triggers, which means that you can execute custom code when certain events occur in the database.

Why Use Amazon Redshift?

There are many reasons why you might choose to use Redshift over other RDBMS options. Some of the key reasons include:

  • Performance

Redshift is designed for performance. It uses columnar storage and massively parallel processing (MPP) to achieve high levels of performance.

  • Scalability

Redshift is vertically scalable, so you can easily add more capacity by 

adding more servers. This makes it ideal for businesses that are growing rapidly and need to be able to scale quickly.

  • Fully managed

Redshift is a fully managed service, so you don’t need to worry about provisioning, configuring, or managing servers. This makes it easy to get started with Redshift without having to invest in infrastructure.

  • Security

Redshift uses multiple layers of security to protect your data. This includes data encryption at rest and in transit, as well as role-based access control.

Redshift is also compatible with a wide range of data sources and tools, which makes it easy to integrate into your existing data infrastructure.

And because it’s built on top of PostgreSQL, it supports all the major features of a relational database, including transactions, foreign keys, and views.

If you’re looking for a powerful, scalable, and secure data warehouse solution, Amazon Redshift is a great option to consider.

Benefits of Using PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is a powerful, open source relational database management system (RDBMS).

It is developed by a worldwide team of volunteers, and released under the terms of the PostgreSQL License.

PostgreSQL is ACID-compliant, supports foreign keys, joins, views, triggers, and stored procedures.

It also features solid transaction support, reliability, and extensibility.

PostgreSQL is a great choice for many applications, including web applications, data warehousing (even data migration purposes), and business intelligence.

It is also a good choice for applications that need to scale up or down quickly, or that need to be able to handle a large number of concurrent users.

See some use cases with PostgreSQL databases.

Benefits of Using Amazon Redshift

Redshift is a cloud-based data warehousing service offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) like Amazon DynamoDB. See the full comparison between Amazon Redshift vs Amazon DynamoDB.

It is based on an older version of PostgreSQL, and is designed to handle large scale data sets for analytics and business intelligence purposes.

Redshift is fully managed, meaning that you don’t need to worry about provisioning, configuring, or managing servers.

It is also highly scalable, so you can easily add or remove capacity as needed.

Redshift is an ideal solution for businesses that need to process large amounts of data quickly and efficiently. It is also a cost-effective solution, as you only pay for the capacity you use.

Conclusion

At RestApp, we’re building a Data Activation Platform for modern data teams with our large built-in library of connectors to databases, data warehouses and business apps.

We have designed our next-gen data modeling editor to be intuitive and easy to use.

If you’re interested in starting with connecting all your favorite tools, check out the RestApp website or try it for free with a sample dataset.

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Laurent Mauer
Laurent Mauer
Laurent is the head of engineer at RestApp. He is a multi-disciplinary engineer with experience across many industries, technologies and responsibilities. Laurent is at the heart of our data platform.

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