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Snowflake: What makes the Cloud Data Platform so valuable?

May 20, 2021 2:34:48 PM

In this age of data democratisation, the demand on data warehouses is constantly evolving. More volumes, more scalability, more velocity, more simplicity are the most common requests in 2021. Among all the existing options, Snowflake stands out by offering a 100% cloud solution. Let's take a look at this popular platform.

Snowflake: What Is It?

Snowflake is a Saas data warehouse platform architected to be cloud-native. It offers seamless scalability across Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and the Google Cloud Platform. It enables data storage, processing, and analytic solutions that are faster, easier to use, and flexible.

With Snowflake, organisations can benefit from the performance of a data warehouse combined with the flexibility of the cloud. This is impossible with any legacy on-premises infrastructure. They are too complex, and their elasticity is limited for storage and compute.

Unlimited performance and scale

Being the only data warehouse with an architecture designed for the cloud, Snowflake provides elastic scaling for data analysis workloads. It’s possible to scale the warehouse up and down on-demand, with a pricing model to match.

Snowflake utilises cloud-native storage, such as S3 or Azure Blob Storage, which means that it builds on their performance and scalability capabilities so there’s no risk of hitting an arbitrary storage limit. The compute resources are fully based in the cloud, and these can be scaled both horizontally and vertically, independently of storage. This enables you to achieve the performance you need as the number and the complexity of the queries increases.

Also read: "Why choose Snowflake: the experience of an NZ media company"

Ease of use

While the architecture is different, from an end-user perspective, working with Snowflake is very similar to working with any other database.

Snowflake makes it easy for all its users right along the value chain to access and exploit data using familiar SQL syntax. Data can easily be accessed by reporting tools such as Power BI and Tableau, or pulled into Excel spreadsheets or other analytical tools.

Almost zero maintenance as a service

Being fully managed, Snowflake makes the whole data management process much easier. Managing a database cluster and nodes across the platform is simplified.

All the aspects of database management that would usually be taken up by DevOps resources are managed by the platform itself. Ongoing maintenance, management, upgrades, and tuning are handled by Snowflake.

One platform, one copy of data, many workloads

On Snowflake, compute and storage are carried out independently. This is one of the platform’s great asset: users can access the platform simultaneously, processing a number of different queries without ever impacting the warehouse’s performance.

The platform uses a multi-cluster and shared data architecture that is dynamic and scalable. The multiple clusters all access the same underlying data, but they run independently and without contention. This is what enables heavy queries and operations to run simultaneously without issues.

Secure and governed access to all data

Snowflake offers secure and performant methods for loading data, with any changes taken into account in real-time. It has a role-based permissions model that allows you to control and audit the way that each user interacts with data and resources. All data is encrypted in transit and at rest by default, with secure end-to-end encryption also supported.

So, is Snowflake a revolution in data management? In part, yes! It has never been easier to store, process and analyse data at such scale. And all of this is thanks to the power of BI combined with the elasticity of the cloud. Final proof of this efficiency? According to Snowflake, their clients often make over 600% return on investment within the first quarter of going live.

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