Amazon Redshift Advanced Benchmarking

5 minute read
Content level: Advanced

Concurrency testing with derived TPC-DS

AWS Amazon Redshift excels in executing the derived queries from the popular TPC-DS benchmark. AWS has the data, DDL and queries needed to perform this benchmark in GitHub so it is easy to test this for yourself.

This article covers another GitHub project that extends this existing functionality to also benchmark the execution of these queries in n number of concurrent sessions. The query times for each query is also captured in addition to the load times for each table.

Solution overview

You have two options to use this solution. One is an automated deployment with CloudFormation and the other is to manually deploy and configure the resources.

Automated Setup: CloudFormation

Download and then deploy a Stack with this CloudFormation Template. This will deploy an Amazon Redshift Serverless workgroup as well as a small EC2 instance which will use Amazon Redshift rsql to execute the benchmark.

The template deploys the following resources in your default VPC:

  • EC2 instance with Amazon Linux 2
  • Redshift Serverless Workgroup
  • IAM Role with permissions needed to use and load data with Redshift Serverless
  • Security Group with inbound port 22 (ssh) and connectivity between the EC2 instance and the Redshift Serverless Workgroup
  • The Github repo is downloaded in the EC2 instance
  • Amazon Redshift rsql installed and configured

Template parameters

  • Stack : CloudFormation term used to define all of the resources created by the template.
  • KeyName : This is the name of an existing Key Pair. If you don't have one already, create a Key Pair which is used to SSH to the EC2 instance.
  • SSHLocation : The CIDR mask for incoming connections to the EC2 instance. The default is which means any IP address is allowed to SSH to the EC2 instance provided the client has the Key Pair private key. You may choose to limit this to a smaller range of IP addresses if you like.
  • RedshiftCapacity : This is the number of RPUs for the Redshift Serverless Workgroup. The default is 128 and recommended for analyzing the larger TPC-DS datasets.

Manual Setup

If you choose not to use the CloudFormation template, deploy the EC2 instance and Redshift Workgroup with the following instructions.


  • Deploy Redshift Serverless workgroup
  • Take note of the Region

Linux EC2 instance setup

  • Deploy a VM in the same AWS Region as your Redshift database using the Amazon Linux 2 AMI
  • The Amazon Linux 2 AMI (64-bit x86) with the t2.medium instance type is an inexpensive and tested configuration
  • Add the Security Group configured for your Redshift database to your EC2 instance
  • Install rsql
  • Download this Github repo. git clone --depth 1 /home/ec2-user/redshift-benchmarks

Redshift rsql

  • Configure the rsql DSN on your EC2 instance. See the rsql documentation for guidance.
  • Be sure that the DSN value you provide matches the DSN variable in the file which is covered below.

Benchmark configuration

On your EC2 instance, cd /home/ec2-user/redshift-benchmarks/load-tpc-ds/

Configure the variables for the scripts in

  • DSN="dev" : The value for the DSN you are testing with. For manual configurations, be sure this matches the DSN you created.
  • SCHEMA_NAME="tpcds" : The name of the schema that will be used by Redshift. Note: This schema will be dropped if it already exists.
  • EXPLAIN="false" : Queries will generate explain plans rather than actually running. Each query will be logged in the log directory.
  • MULTI_USER_COUNT="5" : n concurrent users will execute the queries. The order of the queries are set randomly at runtie. Setting to 0 will skip the multi-user test.
  • SCALE="3TB" : Scale of the test. Available values are: 10GB, 100GB, 1TB, 3TB, 10TB, 30TB, 100TB.
  • SOURCE_BUCKET="redshift-downloads/TPC-DS/2.13" : Source bucket where the generated data resides. This should not be changed.
  • TEMP_BUCKET="jgrcloud-temp" : You must update this to a bucket in your account! This is the name of the temporary bucket where files are staged to load into Redshift. This bucket is removes the temporary files at the end of the test.

Executing the Benchmark Script

  • SSH to the EC2 instance as ec2-user
  • Execute:
cd /home/ec2-user/redshift-benchmarks/load-tpc-ds/
./ > rollout.log 2>&1 &
  • You can use tail -f rollout.log to monitor progress
  • Once complete, the log file will show the results of the benchmark
  • Example output:
 0 hour(s), 2 minute(s), 20.14000 second(s)
(1 row)

 0 hour(s), 2 minute(s), 37.39300 second(s)
(1 row)

 0 hour(s), 1 minute(s), 28.96200 second(s)
(1 row)

 0 hour(s), 6 minute(s), 26.49500 second(s)
(1 row)

Connecting with rsql

Amazon Redshift rsql requires providing a DSN to connect to the database which is configured in the .odbc.ini file in the ec2-user home directory. The CloudFormation template configures this for you and the DSN is dev. Connecting is a simple process that looks like this:

rsql -D dev

Amazon Redshift rsql is a fork of PostgreSQL psql so most of the commands remain the same.