Redshift tips

I am using Redshift since two years ago, and as every database it has its SQL dialect and its secrets. I will write here everything I discover and it is worth to be annotated.

AWS
PostgreSQL
Redshift
SQL

psql

Use psql! It is a great tool: I use it for ETL scheduled processes and on a daily basis to interact with Redshift.

See how to install [AWS Redshift compatible PostgreSQL client]/2016/05/aws-redshift-compatible-psql/ article.

Temporary tables

Prepend an hash (#) to table name to create a temporary table.

CREATE TABLE #mytable AS SELECT 1;

Table #mytable will be clean up when session will be closed.

Two simultanei sessions can create a temporary table with the same name with no conflicts.

You can also create a tmp schema, launching the following statement

/**
 * Statement above must be executed as admin
 *
 * NOTA BENE: replace <myuser> with the user that actually will
 *            use the tmp schema.
 */
CREATE SCHEMA tmp;
GRANT CREATE, USAGE ON SCHEMA tmp TO <myuser>;

The following bash script can ne scheduled to clean up the tmp schema.

#!/bin/bash

psql -A -t -q -c "
SELECT 'DROP TABLE tmp.' || table_name || ';'
FROM information_schema.tables
WHERE table_schema = 'tmp'
;
" | psql

yyyymmdd

I use an integer field to store dates in the YYYYMMDD format. It is really handy cause it can be sorted naturally, even in other contexts like folder or file naming conventions. It is true that first two digits 20xxxxxx are redundant but they make it really easy to humans to recognize it is a date, like 20170928 the day this article was published. So I use this format in many other databases, it crosses contexts easily and in this section I will write the snippets I use to convert it or manipulate it in Redshift, however…

Consider also to use the YYYY-MM-DD string format that has the same benefits and has also the advantage to be easier to cast in Redshift, for instance SELECT SYSDATE::DATE returns current timestamp in this format.

Convert timestamp to yyyymmdd

SELECT TO_NUMBER(TO_CHAR(SYSDATE, 'YYYYMMDD'), 99999999);
SELECT TO_CHAR(SYSDATE, 'YYYYMMDD')::INTEGER;

First day of last week

 SELECT TO_CHAR(DATE_ADD('day', -7, DATE_TRUNC('week', SYSDATE)), 'YYYYMMDD');

Read given date from environment, for example in your bash script set YYYYMMDD to yesterday

YYYYMMDD=$(date --date="yesterday" +%Y%m%d)

Then in your psql session

\set yyyymmdd `echo \'$YYYYMMDD\'`
SELECT CAST(:yyyymmdd AS INTEGER) AS yyyymmdd;