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What is AWS Glue?

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Understanding AWS Glue

Amazon AWS Glue is a cloud-optimized Extract, Transform, and Load Service (ETL). AWS Glue allows customers to organize, transform, locate, move all the data set through any business to make fair use for them. Glue is essentially different from its competitors and other ETL products existing today in three distinctive ways. In this blog, we'll cover the real essence of AWS Glue and its avenue to aiding organizations in the foreseeable future.

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How can AWS Glue help businesses and enterprise users across the world?

In the world where we live, data is a crucial aspect, and it is equally essential for organizations to integrate forward-thinking. With Big Data, businesses will provide better insights to serve the customers and surpass the competitors. Sadly, most organizations are not trying to capitalize on the very essence of the data, which they already have at their disposal. Data is wealth today. Two-thirds of the companies worldwide firmly believe that they are garnering tangible benefit or ultimately no benefit from the overall enterprise data.

For simplifying the task, enterprises rely on data analytics. That is why both businesses and enterprises have selected to install a data warehouse, a holistic data storage system that directly collects information from distinctive sources from the organization. Nevertheless, this also raises a question about entering data from databases instantly into a data warehouse.

Amazon introduced the cutting-edge ETL process, explicitly designed to transfer data among enterprises from the source database directly into the data warehouse. Generally, ETL has incredible complexities and challenges that could be quite hard or sometimes incredibly tough to implement at a successful rate for all enterprise data. By the looks of it, this is the only reason why Amazon has tried to bring a paradigm shift in terms of ETL tasks and processes with the AWS Glue.

The three reasons that give AWS Glue an edge over its competitors are:

AWS Glue Advantages


Businesses can point Glue to all the ETL tasks that your business and then run it. When integrated with businesses, AWS Glue doesn't rely on any provision, configuration, or even spinning of servers. Additionally, businesses do not require to manage the overall lifecycle either.

Schema Inference

Glue also provides crawlers with automated schema inference for businesses with structured or semi-structured data sets. The crawlers are responsible for seamlessly and automatically discovering all of the data sets for extracting schema, as well as, store all of the information in the most centralized catalog featuring meta-data to take up query & analysis.

Generates ETL Scripts Automatically

AWS Glue can automatically generate scripts that businesses need to extract, transform & load the business' data directly from the source to a designated target. Further, it also makes sure that businesses won't have to start ETL work from scratch.

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What is ETL?

ETL is a predominant process for data integration to load information from the source database(s) or even the data warehouse. Given that you're already aware of the full-form concerning the abbreviation of ETL, ETL possesses three functional stages, such as:

Extract: This means that the data is correctly read and at the same time extracted from the database source directly inside of a staging area.

Transform: The data that is still raw gets validated, checked for integrity issues with data & is further transformed so that the validated information matches the schema in the target database.

Load: The data that has finished transformation is then loaded into the target database or the data warehouse.

The primary purpose behind Amazon developing AWS Glue is to facilitate data warehouses' construction at the enterprise level. With AWS Glue, information can be seamlessly moved from any data warehouse to various sources such as transactional databases and Amazon cloud.

Use Cases of AWS Glue

  • Discover the metadata regarding numerous data stores and databases. It can further archive them in the Data Catalog of AWS Glue.
  • Curating ETL scripts for transforming, enriching, and denormalizing the overall data while en route from the source to a designated target.
  • Detect changes in the business's database schema while adjusting the overall service to match the changes.
  • Launch ETL jobs on a specific schedule, trigger, or event.
  • Collect metrics, logs, and KPIs on the overall ETL operations to report and monitor purposes.
  • Oversees errors alongside retries to prevent the overall stalling at the time of processing.
  • It can also scale resources automatically to fit with the overall needs of the present-day scenario.

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Functionality and features of AWS Glue

Apache Spark

The AWS Glue runs on Apache Spark analytics engine to process big data. Nevertheless, the service also facilitates users to curate scripts either in Scala or Python.

AWS Glue Data Catalog

As a metadata vault, AWS Glue Data Catalog stores information regarding the sources and data stores. It also gives you a significant amount of visibility in the overall data assets irrespective of the location.

Serverless Computing

It is already mentioned that the serverless feature of AWS Glue makes it a powerful tool as compared to its competitors. Moreover, the serverless offering suggests that users do not require to designate a serve manually for seamless running. On the other hand, whenever you'd like to see AWS Glue's functioning, Amazon will dedicate a server for you, and then it would shut down the server when AWS Glue isn't used. This automation will free users from the overall task of managing or even scaling the overall infrastructure by themselves.

Job Scheduling

Scheduling can be a hectic task, and with AWS Glue, scheduling jobs can be more comfortable. You can schedule an appointment based on schedule or an event, moreover the ones which are on-demand.

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Easy Development

AWS Glue allows users to decide if they manually want to write ETL code with AWS Glue's help to access developer endpoints. You can also choose any environment of your choice to develop and at the same time test the Glue scripts.

Amazon AWS ETL engine

Once the data is wholly cataloged, it becomes entirely searchable and job-ready for ETL. The AWS Glue also comes with a script recommendation system for creating Spark (PySpark) and Python code. Additionally, you can also find an ETL library for executing jobs. Further, a developer can choose fundamental ETL code through Glue custom library or even write PySpark through the cutting-edge script editor.

Developers can also choose to import any PySpark code or even libraries that are custom-made. Developers can also choose to upload any code to the existing ETL jobs to the S3 bucket and then create an all-new Glue job for processing the code. Developers can also make use of the sample code and can be located in the repository of GitHub.


AWS Glue is an excellent tool for IT professionals and developers that allows them to reduce the overall complexity and manual labor involved in the ETL process ever since its release back in August 2017.

It is already a well-established tool that is user-friendly, exponentially managed, and features strong support making it an excellent ETL platform.

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Last updated: 04 August 2023
About Author
Remy Sharp
Anjaneyulu Naini

Anjaneyulu Naini is working as a Content contributor for Mindmajix. He has a great understanding of today’s technology and statistical analysis environment, which includes key aspects such as analysis of variance and software,. He is well aware of various technologies such as Python, Artificial Intelligence, Oracle, Business Intelligence, Altrex, etc. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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