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Trino delivers for Amazon Athena


Our community just keeps growing! Today, it is time to reach out and welcome another large group of Trino users. The release of the new engine version for Amazon Athena upgrades Athena to a recent version of Trino from a rather old version. This update brings a ton of improvements from the Trino project to the users of the popular cloud-based query service.

Shared history

Amazon Athena and Trino share a long history. From the beginning of Athena, the query engine under the hood was Trino, then still called Presto. Athena created a low-maintenance, powerful access mode to your data in S3 and beyond. It combined the performance and features of Trino, with the convenience of a cloud service, which enabled new users and use cases. You could take advantage of Trino without needing a team of experts to deploy and operate a Trino cluster for your organization. In fact, we wrote about this in the first edition of Trino: The Definitive Guide. There is also a section in the new second edition that you can get for free from Starburst.

Time flies

But since the initial release of Athena, time has not stood still. In fact, the Trino project has accelerated in innovation, features, and releases tremendously. Until now Athena users missed out on these improvements. However with the update Amazon Athena users now get access to many of these great features. As AWS mentions in the announcement, “over 50 new SQL functions, 30 new features, and more than 90 query performance improvements” are now available due the upgrade to a new version of Trino. These include Row pattern recognition with MATCH_RECOGNIZE, new window features, support for UPDATE or TRUNCATE statements, and many others.

Performance improvements in our core engine and all the Trino connectors show up in every release note. The improvements observed by the Athena team in their benchmarks show the resulting gains nicely. This is great evidence that our approach of constantly working on small improvements wherever we find potential works well. This approach is necessary since Trino is already at a very high performance level, and like an elite athlete, where every small improvement matters.

It is also important to note that these improvements are only in the Trino version of the engine, since the Presto project does not include these features.

Client tools and collaboration

Athena users also benefit from improvements for supporting client tools such as Python clients, dbt, Metabase and others. Working with other communities is of critical importance to the Trino project. The innovations in our Iceberg connector that are all now also available to Athena users are a great example how we can lead the way together. Working with contributors from Amazon and other companies and projects has yielded some amazing improvements. At the Trino summit and contributor congregation, we to reconnected in person and established even closer collaboration.

Looking forward

So, what is next for Trino and Athena users? First up, you should upgrade to the new Trino engine in Athena, and avoid the legacy Presto engine.

Second, check out some of the great presentations from Trino Summit 2022 and hear about some of our impressions.

And last but not least, stay tuned for more goodness. Trino already shipped further releases that included support for MERGE, table functions, and more performance improvements. The Athena team is working hard on updating Trino for your benefit regularly.

Celebrating our first decade of the Trino project this last summer has shown a great trajectory for the project and the community, and it looks like the next decade is going to be even better!

Sending a warm welcome from the Trino community to the Amazon Athena team and users. Now you know that you were Trino users all along.

Martin and Manfred