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The Data Lake: the practice of storing, organizing, and operationalizing your data in object storage instead of a compute-backed database engine, is the future of data analytics. In fact, thanks to open source technology like Apache Arrow and DuckDB, the future is here already!

There is no solution that comes close to an AWS S3 backed Data Lake when it comes to scalability, flexibility, and cost efficiency. However, some legacy institutions have been slow to adjust to the new cutting edge (looking at any orgs still paying a pretty penny for SQL Server Standard/Enterprise). 

Of the complaints surrounding Data Lake’s is that many firms are not sure how to get the same level of data visibility as they are used to in SQL based DBs. This is where Glue and Athena come in. 

AWS Glue is both a Spark-backed ETL feature that can help transform and create your Data Lake - but it also has a “crawler” function which creates and stores the metadata/schemas of your data lake. 

Finally, once Glue has crawled your data lake, teams can use Amazon Athena to view and query Data Lake tables just as they would a database, while only paying for the compute you need for your queries. 

The Data Lake is here - time to start swimming!

Deep Dive: 


Amazon S3 provides scalable and durable object storage, making it an ideal choice for storing raw and processed data. Data can be organized into buckets and folders, facilitating efficient data management.

AWS Lake Formation:

AWS Lake Formation simplifies the process of building, securing, and managing a data lake. It enables easy setup of a central data catalog, data ingestion, access control, and data transformation.

AWS Glue:

AWS Glue is a fully managed ETL service that automates the process of preparing and loading data for analytics. It provides data cataloging, data transformation, and ETL job orchestration.

AWS Athena:

AWS Athena is a serverless query service that allows you to analyze data stored in S3 using SQL queries. It provides on-demand querying of data without the need to set up and manage infrastructure.

Architecture Overview:

  • Data Ingestion: Raw data from various sources is ingested into the data lake, usually stored in Amazon S3 buckets. This data can include structured, semi-structured, and unstructured formats.

  • Data Cataloging: AWS Lake Formation centralizes the data catalog, making it easier to discover, organize, and manage datasets. It provides a unified view of metadata and data lineage.

  • Data Transformation: AWS Glue is used for data transformation, ETL processing, and data preparation. Glue crawlers automatically discover data and build metadata, while Glue jobs perform the transformations.

  • Query and Analysis: Processed and transformed data can be queried using AWS Athena. SQL queries are executed directly on the data in S3, enabling ad-hoc analysis and business insights.

  • Result Visualization: Analyzed data can be visualized using various tools, such as Amazon QuickSight, to create interactive dashboards and visual representations.


  • Centralized Management: AWS Lake Formation simplifies data lake setup, cataloging, and access control.

  • Flexible Data Processing: AWS Glue offers automated data transformation and ETL, allowing for diverse data processing needs.

  • Serverless Analytics: AWS Athena enables on-demand querying without the need for infrastructure provisioning.

  • Scalability: Amazon S3's scalability ensures efficient storage and retrieval of data of any size.


  • Data Security: Implement proper access controls and encryption mechanisms to ensure data security throughout the data lake.

  • Data Quality: Define data quality checks and transformations to ensure accurate and reliable analysis.

  • Cost Optimization: Optimize storage and query costs by organizing data efficiently and using partitioning strategies.

Documentation and Pricing: