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Snowflake: The Modern Cloud Data Platform

Conventional Data Platforms and Big Data Solutions

Having good working experience as an Oracle Datawarehouse professional, I have seen the many challenges that regular customers face with traditional Datawarehouse solutions like degraded query performance, scaling CPU or memory, spinning off another instance, etc. For many of these activities, you might have to involve a DBA and/or Infrastructure team and would also require downtime of your Datawarehouse as well as the activity being planned over the weekend(s). Along with this, many of these solutions do not support semi-structured data, which led the industry to move towards Big Data solutions, having their own set of overhead and need of skilled people. With most of the customers adopting Cloud solutions, there is a push for a fresh approach towards futuristic Cloud based Datawarehouse solutions that include several critical features, like scaling, ease of administration, low TCO, better performance, etc.

Enter the Snowflake Data Platform

Looking at the next generation Datawarehouse, one of the product that tops our list is Snowflake. It is one of the first data warehouse platforms that has been designed bottom up for the Cloud. Snowflake offers a cloud-based data storage and analytics service, generally termed “data warehouse-as-a-service”. It allows corporate users to store and analyze data using cloud-based hardware and software. Snowflake runs on AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, making it a Cloud Agnostic Datawarehouse.

Snowflake Data Platform

Snowflake has a multi-cluster, shared data model with centralized scale out storage, with multiple independent compute clusters. It is a data-warehouse as a service so there are no servers to manage, no software to install, no indexes to maintain and optimize. So, the entire overhead is taken care of. Next on the list is their virtual warehouse concept. The customer pays for the underlying storage, and the compute capacity of the virtual warehouse. Warehouses can be scaled for the work required and can be paused at any time for cost efficiency, so that you can switch things off overnight with no impact to the underlying data. Changes to the configuration can be undertaken at any time and applied in seconds. Out of the box it is also secure, governed, and resilient, both PCI and HIPAA (standard for ensuring Health care data is protected) certified. Apart from this, below are the features that are my personal favorites:

  • One of the designs I like the most is how the data is shared. As a Datawarehouse professional, I am used to separating development, staging and production environments, and accustomed to then moving and copying data between separate environments. Snowflake allows users to make “Zero Copy” clones instantly. This is a significant potential cost saving and is fast as there are no writes involved.
  • The architecture provides built in data resilience and recovery, “Time Travel” enables access back through 90 days via a simple query, with roll back and recovery.
  • Snowflake also ingests data in its native format and imposes a schema on read. That means bringing in data in XML, Avro, Parquet and JSON files to accommodate data from Websites, Social Media, IOT Sensors, documents and so on and make it available via SQL without sacrificing performance or flexibility, all in the one database.

Looking at Snowflake’s history as a data warehouse platform and the features that come along with it, it is easy to see what makes Snowflake one of the best in class. With all of this you are only paying for what you use. So, you have a fairly ideal set of attributes that really do offer something that is faster, faster to load data, and faster to analyze. It’s also notably cheaper and simpler, the savings in the management and tuning is significant, all achieved without compromise, which is really impressive. To conclude, Snowflake is a secure, scalable, and popular cloud data warehousing solution. It has achieved this status by constantly re-engineering and catering to a wide variety of industry use cases that helped win over so many clients.

Looking for Help?

Apps Associates delivers a breadth of services, unwavering dependability and unparalleled agility that drives ROI. We are Snowflake Select Partner, and as a select partner, Apps Associates is making the journey to Modern Analytics easy for Oracle ERP, NetSuite, and Salesforce Users. We are trained to provide you with trusted and validated expertise to help accelerate the benefits you receive with Snowflake.