AWS Big Data Blog

Migrate your existing SQL-based ETL workload to an AWS serverless ETL infrastructure using AWS Glue

Data has become an integral part of most companies, and the complexity of data processing is increasing rapidly with the exponential growth in the amount and variety of data. Data engineering teams are faced with the following challenges:

  • Manipulating data to make it consumable by business users
  • Building and improving extract, transform, and load (ETL) pipelines
  • Scaling their ETL infrastructure

Many customers migrating data to the cloud are looking for ways to modernize by using native AWS services to further scale and efficiently handle ETL tasks. In the early stages of their cloud journey, customers may need guidance on modernizing their ETL workload with minimal effort and time. Customers often use many SQL scripts to select and transform the data in relational databases hosted either in an on-premises environment or on AWS and use custom workflows to manage their ETL.

AWS Glue is a serverless data integration and ETL service with the ability to scale on demand. In this post, we show how you can migrate your existing SQL-based ETL workload to AWS Glue using Spark SQL, which minimizes the refactoring effort.

Solution overview

The following diagram describes the high-level architecture for our solution. This solution decouples the ETL and analytics workloads from our transactional data source Amazon Aurora, and uses Amazon Redshift as the data warehouse solution to build a data mart. In this solution, we employ AWS Database Migration Service (AWS DMS) for both full load and continuous replication of changes from Aurora. AWS DMS enables us to capture deltas, including deletes from the source database, through the use of Change Data Capture (CDC) configuration. CDC in DMS enables us to capture deltas without writing code and without missing any changes, which is critical for the integrity of the data. Please refer CDC support in DMS to extend the solutions for ongoing CDC.

The workflow includes the following steps:

  1. AWS Database Migration Service (AWS DMS) connects to the Aurora data source.
  2. AWS DMS replicates data from Aurora and migrates to the target destination Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) bucket.
  3. AWS Glue crawlers automatically infer schema information of the S3 data and integrate into the AWS Glue Data Catalog.
  4. AWS Glue jobs run ETL code to transform and load the data to Amazon Redshift.

For this post, we use the TPCH dataset for sample transactional data. The components of TPCH consist of eight tables. The relationships between columns in these tables are illustrated in the following diagram.

We use Amazon Redshift as the data warehouse to implement the data mart solution. The data mart fact and dimension tables are created in the Amazon Redshift database. The following diagram illustrates the relationships between the fact (ORDER) and dimension tables (DATE, PARTS, and REGION).

Set up the environment

To get started, we set up the environment using AWS CloudFormation. Complete the following steps:

  1. Sign in to the AWS Management Console with your AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) user name and password.
  2. Choose Launch Stack and open the page on a new tab:
  3. Choose Next.
  4. For Stack name, enter a name.
  5. In the Parameters section, enter the required parameters.
  6. Choose Next.

  1. On the Configure stack options page, leave all values as default and choose Next.
  2. On the Review stack page, select the check boxes to acknowledge the creation of IAM resources.
  3. Choose Submit.

Wait for the stack creation to complete. You can examine various events from the stack creation process on the Events tab. When the stack creation is complete, you will see the status CREATE_COMPLETE. The stack takes approximately 25–30 minutes to complete.

This template configures the following resources:

  • The Aurora MySQL instance sales-db.
  • The AWS DMS task dmsreplicationtask-* for full load of data and replicating changes from Aurora (source) to Amazon S3 (destination).
  • AWS Glue crawlers s3-crawler and redshift_crawler.
  • The AWS Glue database salesdb.
  • AWS Glue jobs insert_region_dim_tbl, insert_parts_dim_tbl, and insert_date_dim_tbl. We use these jobs for the use cases covered in this post. We create the insert_orders_fact_tbl AWS Glue job manually using AWS Glue Visual Studio.
  • The Redshift cluster blog_cluster with database sales and fact and dimension tables.
  • An S3 bucket to store the output of the AWS Glue job runs.
  • IAM roles and policies with appropriate permissions.

Replicate data from Aurora to Amazon S3

Now let’s look at the steps to replicate data from Aurora to Amazon S3 using AWS DMS:

  1. On the AWS DMS console, choose Database migration tasks in the navigation pane.
  2. Select the task dmsreplicationtask-* and on the Action menu, choose Restart/Resume.

This will start the replication task to replicate the data from Aurora to the S3 bucket. Wait for the task status to change to Full Load Complete. The data from the Aurora tables is now copied to the S3 bucket under a new folder, sales.

Create AWS Glue Data Catalog tables

Now let’s create AWS Glue Data Catalog tables for the S3 data and Amazon Redshift tables:

  1. On the AWS Glue console, under Data Catalog in the navigation pane, choose Connections.
  2. Select RedshiftConnection and on the Actions menu, choose Edit.
  3. Choose Save changes.
  4. Select the connection again and on the Actions menu, choose Test connection.
  5. For IAM role¸ choose GlueBlogRole.
  6. Choose Confirm.

Testing the connection can take approximately 1 minute. You will see the message “Successfully connected to the data store with connection blog-redshift-connection.” If you have trouble connecting successfully, refer to Troubleshooting connection issues in AWS Glue.

  1. Under Data Catalog in the navigation pane, choose Crawlers.
  2. Select s3_crawler and choose Run.

This will generate eight tables in the AWS Glue Data Catalog. To view the tables created, in the navigation pane, choose Databases under Data Catalog, then choose salesdb.

  1. Repeat the steps to run redshift_crawler and generate four additional tables.

If the crawler fails, refer to Error: Running crawler failed.

Create SQL-based AWS Glue jobs

Now let’s look at how the SQL statements are used to create ETL jobs using AWS Glue. AWS Glue runs your ETL jobs in an Apache Spark serverless environment. AWS Glue runs these jobs on virtual resources that it provisions and manages in its own service account. AWS Glue Studio is a graphical interface that makes it simple to create, run, and monitor ETL jobs in AWS Glue. You can use AWS Glue Studio to create jobs that extract structured or semi-structured data from a data source, perform a transformation of that data, and save the result set in a data target.

Let’s go through the steps of creating an AWS Glue job for loading the orders fact table using AWS Glue Studio.

  1. On the AWS Glue console, choose Jobs in the navigation pane.
  2. Choose Create job.
  3. Select Visual with a blank canvas, then choose Create.

  1. Navigate to the Job details tab.
  2. For Name, enter insert_orders_fact_tbl.
  3. For IAM Role, choose GlueBlogRole.
  4. For Job bookmark, choose Enable.
  5. Leave all other parameters as default and choose Save.

  1. Navigate to the Visual tab.
  2. Choose the plus sign.
  3. Under Add nodes, enter Glue in the search bar and choose AWS Glue Data Catalog (Source) to add the Data Catalog as the source.

  1. In the right pane, on the Data source properties – Data Catalog tab, choose salesdb for Database and customer for Table.

  1. On the Node properties tab, for Name, enter Customers.

  1. Repeat these steps for the Orders and LineItem tables.

This concludes creating data sources on the AWS Glue job canvas. Next, we add transformations by combining data from these different tables.

Transform the data

Complete the following steps to add data transformations:

  1. On the AWS Glue job canvas, choose the plus sign.
  2. Under Transforms, choose SQL Query.
  3. On the Transform tab, for Node parents, select all the three data sources.
  4. On the Transform tab, under SQL query, enter the following query:
SELECT orders.o_orderkey        AS ORDERKEY,
orders.o_orderdate       AS ORDERDATE,
lineitem.l_linenumber    AS LINENUMBER,
lineitem.l_partkey       AS PARTKEY,
lineitem.l_receiptdate   AS RECEIPTDATE,
lineitem.l_quantity      AS QUANTITY,
lineitem.l_extendedprice AS EXTENDEDPRICE,
orders.o_custkey         AS CUSTKEY,
customer.c_nationkey     AS NATIONKEY,
FROM   orders orders,
lineitem lineitem,
customer customer
WHERE  orders.o_orderkey = lineitem.l_orderkey
AND orders.o_custkey = customer.c_custkey
  1. Update the SQL aliases values as shown in the following screenshot.

  1. On the Data preview tab, choose Start data preview session.
  2. When prompted, choose GlueBlogRole for IAM role and choose Confirm.

The data preview process will take a minute to complete.

  1. On the Output schema tab, choose Use data preview schema.

You will see the output schema similar to the following screenshot.

Now that we have previewed the data, we change a few data types.

  1. On the AWS Glue job canvas, choose the plus sign.
  2. Under Transforms, choose Change Schema.
  3. Select the node.
  4. On the Transform tab, update the Data type values as shown in the following screenshot.

Now let’s add the target node.

  1. Choose the Change Schema node and choose the plus sign.
  2. In the search bar, enter target.
  3. Choose Amazon Redshift as the target.

  1. Choose the Amazon Redshift node, and on the Data target properties – Amazon Redshift tab, for Redshift access type, select Direct data connection.
  2. Choose RedshiftConnection for Redshift Connection, public for Schema, and order_table for Table.
  3. Select Merge data into target table under Handling of data and target table.
  4. Choose orderkey for Matching keys.

  1. Choose Save.

AWS Glue Studio automatically generates the Spark code for you. You can view it on the Script tab. If you would like to do any out-of-the-box transformations, you can modify the Spark code. The AWS Glue job uses the Apache SparkSQL query for SQL query transformation. To find the available SparkSQL transformations, refer to the Spark SQL documentation.

  1. Choose Run to run the job.

As part of the CloudFormation stack, three other jobs are created to load the dimension tables.

  1. Navigate back to the Jobs page on the AWS Glue console, select the job insert_parts_dim_tbl, and choose Run.

This job uses the following SQL to populate the parts dimension table:

SELECT part.p_partkey,
FROM   part part
  1. Select the job insert_region_dim_tbl and choose Run.

This job uses the following SQL to populate the region dimension table:

SELECT nation.n_nationkey,
FROM   nation,
WHERE  nation.n_regionkey = region.r_regionkey
  1. Select the job insert_date_dim_tbl and choose Run.

This job uses the following SQL to populate the date dimension table:

SELECT DISTINCT( l_receiptdate )        AS DATEKEY,
Dayofweek(l_receiptdate) AS DAYOFWEEK,
Month(l_receiptdate)     AS MONTH,
Year(l_receiptdate)      AS YEAR,
Day(l_receiptdate)       AS DATE
FROM   lineitem lineitem

You can view the status of the running jobs by navigating to the Job run monitoring section on the Jobs page. Wait for all the jobs to complete. These jobs will load the data into the facts and dimension tables in Amazon Redshift.

To help optimize the resources and cost, you can use the AWS Glue Auto Scaling feature.

Verify the Amazon Redshift data load

To verify the data load, complete the following steps:

  1. On the Amazon Redshift console, select the cluster blog-cluster and on the Query Data menu, choose Query in query editor 2.
  2. For Authentication, select Temporary credentials.
  3. For Database, enter sales.
  4. For User name, enter admin.
  5. Choose Save.

  1. Run the following commands in the query editor to verify that the data is loaded into the Amazon Redshift tables:
FROM   sales.PUBLIC.order_table;

FROM   sales.PUBLIC.date_table;

FROM   sales.PUBLIC.parts_table;

FROM   sales.PUBLIC.region_table;

The following screenshot shows the results from one of the SELECT queries.

Now for the CDC, update the quantity of a line item for order number 1 in Aurora database using the below query. (To connect to your Aurora cluster use Cloud9 or any SQL client tools like MySQL command-line client).

UPDATE lineitem SET l_quantity = 100 WHERE l_orderkey = 1 AND l_linenumber = 4;

DMS will replicate the changes into the S3 bucket as shown in the below screenshot.

Re-running the Glue job insert_orders_fact_tbl will update the changes to the ORDER fact table as shown in the below screenshot

Clean up

To avoid incurring future charges, delete the resources created for the solution:

  1. On the Amazon S3 console, select the S3 bucket created as part of the CloudFormation stack, then choose Empty.
  2. On the AWS CloudFormation console, select the stack that you created initially and choose Delete to delete all the resources created by the stack.


In this post, we showed how you can migrate existing SQL-based ETL to an AWS serverless ETL infrastructure using AWS Glue jobs. We used AWS DMS to migrate data from Aurora to an S3 bucket, then SQL-based AWS Glue jobs to move the data to fact and dimension tables in Amazon Redshift.

This solution demonstrates a one-time data load from Aurora to Amazon Redshift using AWS Glue jobs. You can extend this solution for moving the data on a scheduled basis by orchestrating and scheduling jobs using AWS Glue workflows. To learn more about the capabilities of AWS Glue, refer to AWS Glue.

About the Authors

Mitesh Patel is a Principal Solutions Architect at AWS with specialization in data analytics and machine learning. He is passionate about helping customers building scalable, secure and cost effective cloud native solutions in AWS to drive the business growth. He lives in DC Metro area with his wife and two kids.

Sumitha AP is a Sr. Solutions Architect at AWS. She works with customers and help them attain their business objectives by  designing secure, scalable, reliable, and cost-effective solutions in the AWS Cloud. She has a focus on data and analytics and provides guidance on building analytics solutions on AWS.

Deepti Venuturumilli is a Sr. Solutions Architect in AWS. She works with commercial segment customers and AWS partners to accelerate customers’ business outcomes by providing expertise in AWS services and modernize their workloads. She focuses on data analytics workloads and setting up modern data strategy on AWS.

Deepthi Paruchuri is an AWS Solutions Architect based in NYC. She works closely with customers to build cloud adoption strategy and solve their business needs by designing secure, scalable, and cost-effective solutions in the AWS cloud.