Spotlight offers an integrated architecture and set of components to discover, collaborate, and model data for analytics on top of managing, querying, and consuming it. It is a well-rounded offering that provides all the critical services to make analysts more productive and give them access to the data they need to facilitate faster analytics the business can trust.
So why would you consider Spotlight over Amazon Athena? Let’s examine why.
Everything In One – Spotlight combines multiple services to let users discover, model, collaborate, query, and federate any data to create a seamless, self-service experience for the data and business analyst. Athena forces users to jump around between various external services and use different technical skills along the way.
Work with and Federate More Data – Spotlight has connectors to over 200 different data sources of different types and locations (on-premises, cloud, SaaS). It allows the easy creation of federated data models and queries across these sources.
Self-service Data Modeling – Spotlight provides easy to use, point-and-click modeling tools to analysts to create their own federated data models without coding. Athena forces you to write SQL DDL to define basic data structures and complex SQL queries to join datasets.
Collaborative Data Catalog – Spotlight offers an integrated data catalog with a rich set of information about the data beyond the physical metadata, including tags, descriptions, comments, certification, business level metadata, and custom properties. Users can collaborate around data with shared workspaces. Athena offers integration with AWS Glue (an external service), which only holds technical metadata and offers no collaboration.
Easy Discoverability – Spotlight allows users to perform faceted-search across any information in the data catalog, provides a detailed data preview, and allows users to see which others are using the dataset to find the right dataset for the job quickly. Athena is hard-wired to the underlying data assets. Users must know what assets are in the system and their structure.
Integrated Data Governance – Spotlight provides a rich suite of data governance features to provide the proper access to, manage the privacy of, and monitor the use of data. Athena offers no data governance capabilities.
Integration with the Same Services – Spotlight also integrates with the same AWS external services that Amazon Athena uses: Glue, IAM, and KMS. This creates a cooperative metadata management, security, and encryption environment between Spotlight and your AWS cloud.