Customers when creating Redshift tables can optionally specify one or more table columns as sort keys. The sort keys are used to maintain the sort order of the Redshift tables and allows the query engine to achieve high performance by reducing the amount of data to read from disk and to save on storage with better compression. Currently Redshift customers who desire to change the sort keys after the initial table creation will need to re-create the table with new sort key definitions.
With the new ALTER SORT KEY command, users can dynamically change the Redshift table sort keys as needed. Redshift will take care of adjusting data layout behind the scenes and table remains available for users to query. Users can modify sort keys for a given table as many times as needed and they can alter sort keys for multiple tables simultaneously.