Amazon RDS to QuickSight

This page provides you with instructions on how to extract data from Amazon RDS and analyze it in Amazon QuickSight. (If the mechanics of extracting data from Amazon RDS seem too complex or difficult to maintain, check out Stitch, which can do all the heavy lifting for you in just a few clicks.)

What is Amazon RDS?

Amazon RDS (relational database service) lets users spin up cloud-based database instances without worrying about infrastructure provisioning or software maintenance or many of the administrative tasks involved in running a database on premises.

Cloud platforms can scale up or down quickly to meet changing demands. RDS takes advantage of that capability to let users add database instances to as needed. It offers automatic backup and recovery for database instances, and can replicate data across multiple zones for high availability.

RDS supports six different database engines: Amazon Aurora, PostgreSQL, MySQL, MariaDB, Oracle Database, and Microsoft SQL Server.

What is QuickSight?

Amazon QuickSight is the AWS business intelligence tool for creating dashboards and visualizations. Users are charged per session only for the time when they access dashboards or reports. QuickSight supports a variety of data sources, such as individual databases (Amazon Aurora, MariaDB, and Microsoft SQL Server), data warehouses (Amazon Redshift and Snowflake), and SaaS sources (Adobe Analytics, GitHub, and Salesforce), along with several common standard file formats.

Getting data out of Amazon RDS

The most common way to get data out of any database is to write SQL SELECT queries. As part of any query you can join tables, specify filters, and sort and limit results.

Loading data into QuickSight

You must replicate data from your SaaS applications to a data warehouse (such as Redshift) before you can report on it using QuickSight. Once you specify a data source you want to connect to, you must specify a host name and port, database name, and username and password to get access to the data. You then choose the schema you want to work with, and a table within that schema. You can add additional tables by specifying them as new datasets from the main QuickSight page.

Using data in QuickSight

QuickSights provides both a visual report builder and the ability to use SQL to select, join, and sort data. QuickSight lets you combine visualizations into dashboards that you can share with others, and automatically generate and send reports via email.

Keeping Amazon RDS data up to date

At this point you've coded up a script or written a program to get the data you want and successfully moved it into your data warehouse. But how will you load new or updated data? It's not a good idea to replicate all of your data each time you have updated records. That process would be painfully slow and resource-intensive.

The key is to build your script in such a way that it can identify incremental updates to your data. You can identify key fields that your script can use to bookmark its progression through the data, and pick up where it left off as it looks for updated data. Auto-incrementing fields such as updated_at or created_at work best for this. When you've built in this functionality, you can set up your script as a cron job or continuous loop to get new data as it appears in your database.

From Amazon RDS to your data warehouse: An easier solution

As mentioned earlier, the best practice for analyzing Amazon RDS data in Amazon QuickSight is to store that data inside a data warehousing platform alongside data from your other databases and third-party sources. You can find instructions for doing these extractions for leading warehouses on our sister sites Amazon RDS to Redshift, Amazon RDS to BigQuery, Amazon RDS to Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Amazon RDS to PostgreSQL, Amazon RDS to Panoply, and Amazon RDS to Snowflake.

Easier yet, however, is using a solution that does all that work for you. Products like Stitch were built to move data automatically, making it easy to integrate Amazon RDS with Amazon QuickSight. With just a few clicks, Stitch starts extracting your Amazon RDS data, structuring it in a way that's optimized for analysis, and inserting that data into a data warehouse that can be easily accessed and analyzed by Amazon QuickSight.