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Google BigQuery: Serverless data warehousing made simple

Guest blog by Shashank Mishra, Data Engineer @ Expedia


Google BigQuery is a serverless, scalable data warehouse on Google Cloud. It supports real-time analytics, machine learning, and GIS capabilities. With its unique architecture separating storage and computing, it offers automatic scalability and strong security, ideal for data-driven businesses.


  • Introduction to Google BigQuery
  • Key features of Google BigQuery
  • BigQuery’s Unique Architecture
  • Benefits of Using BigQuery
  • Conclusion

Introduction to Google BigQuery

Google BigQuery is a highly scalable, serverless data warehouse offered by Google as part of its Google Cloud Platform (GCP). It is designed to streamline and simplify the processing of big data.

  • Serverless Architecture: BigQuery operates on a serverless model, which means users don’t need to manage any infrastructure or do any server management. This helps in focusing more on data analysis rather than worrying about capacity planning or server management. It allows you to query massive datasets in seconds and get insights in real-time, without needing to worry about resource provision.
  • Real-Time Analytics: BigQuery is engineered for real-time analytics. It allows users to analyze real-time data streams instantly. With its ability to run SQL queries on gigabytes to petabytes of data, it delivers speedy results on real-time data analytics, enabling businesses to make timely decisions.

In summary, Google BigQuery, with its serverless architecture and real-time analytics, serves as a robust platform to handle, analyze, and draw insights from massive datasets with ease.

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Key features of Google BigQuery

Google BigQuery offers a robust set of features that make it an ideal choice for businesses looking to leverage data for actionable insights. These features extend from machine learning capabilities and geospatial analytics to multi-cloud data analysis and automated data transfer services. These cutting-edge functionalities position BigQuery as a powerful tool in the data analytics landscape. Let’s dive into some of these key features:

  • Machine Learning Integration: Google BigQuery provides built-in machine learning capabilities, enabling data scientists to create and execute machine learning models on structured and semi-structured data directly inside BigQuery using SQL. This ML integration allows users to build models with the ease of SQL commands, eliminating the need to move data across different environments or learn a new language.
  • GIS Capabilities: BigQuery GIS, or Geo Viz, allows analysts to manage and analyze geospatial data in BigQuery by providing SQL geographic functions. These functions make it easier to understand spatial relationships and provide insights about geographic-based data that are critical for businesses, like determining delivery routes, analyzing service coverage areas, and much more.

  • BI Engine: BigQuery BI Engine is a fast, in-memory analysis service that allows users to analyze data stored in BigQuery with sub-second query response time and high concurrency. Integrated with popular tools like Google Data Studio, it enables analysts and data scientists to create interactive dashboards and reports without any performance latency.

  • BigQuery Omni: BigQuery Omni is a multi-cloud data analytics solution that allows users to execute BigQuery’s powerful analytics capabilities on data stored not just in Google Cloud, but also AWS and Azure. This means you can break down data silos and gain insights across different cloud platforms without having to move or copy data, enabling a truly multi-cloud data analytics approach.

  • BigQuery Data Transfer Service: The BigQuery Data Transfer Service automates data movement from SaaS applications to Google BigQuery on a scheduled, managed basis. This allows businesses to maintain an updated data warehouse without the hassle of writing custom scripts or manually importing data, simplifying data ingestion and ensuring that data is readily available for analysis.

In essence, Google BigQuery provides a comprehensive suite of tools and capabilities that not only simplify data warehousing tasks but also empower businesses to draw actionable insights from their data.

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Google BigQuery’s unique architecture

At its core, Google BigQuery’s architecture is a manifestation of Google’s Dremel technology. Dremel is a highly scalable, interactive ad-hoc query system for the analysis of read-only nested data, and BigQuery utilizes this technology to execute SQL-like queries over multi-terabyte datasets in seconds.

  • Dremel-Inspired Architecture: BigQuery’s Dremel-inspired architecture allows it to deliver incredibly fast analytics on a petabyte scale. By creating a tree architecture for dispatching queries and aggregating results, Dremel enables BigQuery to scan trillions of rows in seconds and return results in a blink. This architecture uses a combination of columnar storage for data organization and tree architecture for query execution, allowing BigQuery to run SQL queries on large datasets swiftly.
  • Separation of Compute and Storage: A fundamental design principle of BigQuery is the decoupling of compute and storage. The data you store in BigQuery is kept in a multi-tenant distributed architecture, separated from the computational resources. This separation allows for nearly infinite scalability: as your data grows, BigQuery scales to meet your storage needs without any intervention, and you can ramp up query computing power as needed without being limited by your data size.
  • Compute Resources: When you run a query, BigQuery dynamically allocates computing resources as needed. This serverless model means that you don’t have to worry about pre-provisioning compute capacity, and you only pay for the queries you run.
  • Storage Layer: On the storage side, BigQuery automatically replicates data for durability and high availability. It also handles all ongoing maintenance, including patches and upgrades. Data in BigQuery is stored in Capacitor, Google’s next-generation columnar storage format, which is highly compressed and optimized for reading large amounts of structured data.

Google BigQuery’s unique architecture, inspired by Dremel, and its separation of compute and storage lead to high-speed query performance, automatic scalability, and strong data security, thereby making it an efficient data warehouse solution for businesses of all sizes.

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Benefits of using Google BigQuery

Google BigQuery provides a number of benefits that make it a compelling choice for businesses of all sizes, from startups to large enterprises, who are looking to derive insights from their data. These benefits stem from BigQuery’s serverless architecture, automatic scalability, strong security features, and other business benefits:

  • Serverless Data Warehousing: As a serverless solution, BigQuery eliminates the need for businesses to manage, administer, or tune any infrastructure, saving them time and resources. This allows businesses to focus on what truly matters — deriving insights from their data and using them to make informed business decisions.
  • Automatic Scalability: BigQuery scales automatically to accommodate your data and workloads. Its architecture separates storage and computation, enabling each to scale independently. This ensures that the system can handle any volume of data and any number of queries while maintaining high performance.
  • Strong Security Features: BigQuery is designed with a robust security model that integrates with other Google Cloud security tools. It offers data encryption at rest and in transit, identity and access management, and a host of other security features that help businesses protect their sensitive data.
  • Business Benefits: Beyond the technical features, BigQuery offers tangible business benefits. It provides real-time insights that enable businesses to make timely decisions, improving operational efficiency and enabling new opportunities. It also reduces costs, as businesses only pay for the storage they use and the queries they run, making BigQuery a cost-effective solution for data warehousing.

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In conclusion, Google BigQuery stands out as a robust, serverless data warehouse in the Google Cloud Platform. Its unique Dremel-inspired architecture supports immense scalability and swift, real-time analytics. With features like machine learning integration, GIS capabilities, and multi-cloud data analytics, it equips businesses to derive critical insights from massive datasets efficiently and securely. BigQuery simplifies data management, providing a potent solution for data-driven decision-making in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

In episode 4 of Datawarehouse series, we’ll explore how we can integrate Data Warehousing services like Snowflake/Redshift/Google BigQuery with Mage.

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