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Build a dashboard with AWS Athena and Quicksight in less than an hour

Feb 28, 2018 10:00:00 AM / by Hans Van Akelyen

Quickly move from data to insight

Amazon Athena is the Amazon Web Services (AWS) service that allows to directly query files stored in S3 using SQL. 
Amazon Quicksight is an AWS dashboarding service. It has a user friendly drag an drop interface to create charts and full dashboards in less than an hour.
We'll use an Athena database for this example, but Quicksight dashboards could even be built on a CSV file in S3 directly. 

Athena, key features

  • Fast
  • Secure
  • Low cost
  • Supports multiple file formats
  • JDBC,ODBC,API and visual inferace

Using Athena

Athena is fast and easy. In just a couple of steps you will have your first data set and table to query in Athena.

Before an Athena database can be created, your data file(s) need to be uploaded to an AWS S3 bucket.
After this step is completed, your database and tables can be created from the Athena interface.  

Creating a table takes 4 steps:

  • specify your database, table name and the S3 bucket containing the files for this table
  • specify your S3 file layout
  • your define the column lay-out of the table that will be created
  • (optionally) create partitions for even faster query performance on large datasets.

AWS Athena: create databases, tables

AWS Athena: create databases, tables

After completing these four steps the table is ready to be used in Amazon Quicksight or directly in your company applications via the API or ODBC and JDBC drivers.

AWS Athena: create databases, tables

Quicksight, key features

  • Low cost
  • User friendly
  • Drag and drop
  • Map support
  • Iphone & Android app

Using Quicksight

The first step in creating a Quicksight is selecting a datasource. Quicksight offers a wide set of connectors: you can upload a csv file, connect directly to salesforce or use one of the many database connectors. These databases can both be on premise or in the cloud. We'll use the Athena database that was created in the previous step.

If a database connector is selected, Quicksight will ask if you want to store your data in SPICE, which is AWS's "Super-fast, Parallel, In-memory Calculation Engine". Using SPICE will guarantee very snappy response times on your dashboard. 

After this step, we have the data ready in Quicksight and can start building a dashboard.

AWS Quicksight: build charts, dashboards

Quicksight supports the standard chart types: line, bar, maps, scatter plots and tables to visualize your data. Including filters and linking multiple charts to the same filter is also a great way to focus on one or more of your dataset dimensions.

Valuable company information can now be visualised in an interactive dashboard that works on both computers and mobile devices.

Once completed, dashboards can easily be exported and shared. 

AWS Quicksight: build charts, dashboards

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Topics: amazon, analytics, cloud, aws

Hans Van Akelyen

Written by Hans Van Akelyen

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