AWS’s own documentation is the best place for full details on the Athena offering, this post hopes to serve as further explanation and also act as an anchor to some more detailed information. As it is a managed service, Athena requires no administration, maintenance or patching. It’s not designed for regular querying of tables in a way that you would with an RDBMS. Performance is geared around querying large data sets which may include structured data or semi-structured data. There are no licensing costs like you may have with some Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) such as SQL Server and costs are kept low, as you only pay when you run queries in AWS Athena.
Click through for an overview of product benefits.