Snowflake Interview Questions

Last updated on Jun 12, 2024

Boost your Career with Snowflake. Snowflake is one of the ultimate cloud data warehouse solutions with innovative capabilities like data sharing, data cleansing, compute and storage isolation. It supports programming languages like .Net, Java, Python and Go language.

Selecting the right career opportunity in the right organization is one of the critical steps you have to take in this competitive IT world. So to help you in your preparation for the advancement of your career, HKR is providing you with the most frequently asked Snowflake interview questions. In this blog, we have divided the frequently asked interview questions into three levels: Basic level, Intermediate level and Experienced level. Let's start with our basic level interview questions. 

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Snowflake Interview Questions and Answers for Experienced,Freshers & Intermediate.

Basic snowflake interview questions:

1. What is Snowflake?

Snowflake is a cloud-based data warehousing service employing a unique architecture that enhances data handling and analysis. It stands out from traditional data warehouse solutions with features like simplicity, superior performance, high concurrency, and cost-effectiveness. Snowflake's architecture, separating computation and storage, revolutionizes data warehousing by consolidating all data into a single system, facilitating storage and analysis with cloud tools.

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2. What is special about snowflake architecture?

Snowflake's architecture is a hybrid of shared-nothing and shared-disk designs, combining a central data repository for consistent data storage accessible from all computing nodes and massively parallel processing for executing queries. Its three-layer structure includes Query Processing, Data Storage, and Cloud Services, each playing a crucial role in managing and optimizing data handling, from query execution to metadata management.

3. How to access Snowflake's data warehouse?

Snowflake's data warehouse can be accessed through various methods, including ODBC and JDBC drivers, Python libraries, a web user interface, and the SnowSQL command-line client, catering to diverse user preferences and technical requirements.

4. What benefits does a Snowflake database offer?

Snowflake's cloud-native design addresses challenges unresolved by traditional warehouses. Key benefits are as follows:

  • Robust security.
  • Consistent high availability.
  • Seamless data sharing.
  • Impressive speed and performance.
  • The capability to handle both structured and unstructured data efficiently.

5. How is the data securely stored in Snowflake?

Snowflake prioritizes data security, adhering to the highest industry encryption and data protection standards. Key security measures include managed data encryption, TLS for secure communications, and geographic-specific data storage options, ensuring comprehensive data safety.

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6. How does Snowflake Data Compression work?

Snowflake automatically compresses all stored data using advanced algorithms. The unique aspect is that customer charges are based on the compressed data size, leading to lower storage costs and negligible storage overhead for data cloning or sharing.

7. What is Snowflake Catching?

Snowflake enhances SQL query performance through data and result caching on SSDs. It captures and reuses the outcomes of previous queries, thereby speeding up query responses and optimizing resource use.

8. What is Time Travel?

Snowflake's Time Travel feature allows users to access and interact with historical data, enabling data restoration, historical analysis, and backup of critical data points, enhancing data management and recovery capabilities.

9. What is Fail-safe?

Fail-safe in Snowflake is an advanced feature that adds an extra layer of data protection, providing an additional seven-day storage period post the time travel period, ensuring enhanced data security.

10. Explain Snowflake features.

Snowflake's features encompass a range of functionalities, including Cloud Services, a Compute Layer, Database Storage, easy data sharing, robust security, high-speed performance, and support for both structured and unstructured data, demonstrating its versatility and efficiency.

Intermediate level Snowflake interview questions:

11. What are the different editions of Snowflake?

Snowflake offers editions tailored to varying client needs, including the Standard Edition for beginners, the Enterprise Edition for large-scale operations, the Business-Critical Edition for sensitive data, and the Virtual Private Snowflake for high-security demands.

12. What is the virtual warehouse?

Snowflake's virtual warehouse is a set of clusters facilitating data operations like loading and queries, providing essential resources such as CPU and temporary storage for efficient data processing.

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13. Why do we use Fail-safe?

Fail-safe in Snowflake addresses the drawbacks of traditional data backup methods, offering a more efficient, cost-effective, and time-saving solution for data recovery and management, minimizing company downtime.

14. What are the data shares in Snowflake?

Snowflake enables safe data sharing across accounts, allowing users to share readable but non-modifiable database objects. This feature facilitates data collaboration and access across different management and geographical units.

15. What is Zero-copy cloning?

 Zero-copy cloning in Snowflake allows the creation of data object copies without actual data duplication, enabling real-time data access and manipulation with minimal resource usage.

Related Article: Snowflake Vs Redshift

16. What is Snowpipe?

Snowpipe is an efficient, user-friendly service for continuous data loading into Snowflake, optimizing the data loading process through micro-batching and immediate data availability for analysis.

17. What is Horizontal scaling and Vertical Scaling?

Horizontal scaling in Snowflake enhances concurrency through additional virtual warehouses, while vertical scaling optimizes workload processing by choosing larger warehouse sizes, demonstrating its scalability and performance adaptability.

18. Explain about the database storage layer.

Snowflake's database storage layer organizes data in an optimized, columnar format, ensuring efficient storage and management of data with advanced organization, compression, and access methodologies.

19. What is the Query processing layer?

Snowflake's query processing layer uses virtual warehouses, each a separate cluster, ensuring isolated and efficient query execution enhancing performance and reliability.

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20. What is the Cloud Service layer?

The Cloud Services layer in Snowflake manages and coordinates various tasks, including user requests, authentication, and infrastructure management, demonstrating a seamless integration of services for optimal performance.

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 Snowflake interview questions for Experienced:

21. What is Materialized view?

Materialized views in Snowflake are pre-computed datasets that enhance query performance, especially for repetitive and complex queries on large datasets, contributing to faster and more efficient data analysis. 

22. What is Schema?

Schemas in Snowflake organize stored data, grouping database objects like tables and views, facilitating structured data management and efficient use of disk space. 

23. What ETL tools are you using in Snowflake?

Snowflake integrates with various ETL tools, including Etleap, Blendo, Matillion, Hevo Data, StreamSets, and Apache Airflow, catering to diverse data integration and transformation needs.

24. What programming languages are supported in Snowflake?

Snowflake supports various programming languages, including Go, C, .NET, Java, Python, Node.js, etc., offering flexibility and compatibility for different development environments.Related Article: Snowflake Vs BigQuery

25. What is a clustering key in Snowflake?

 A clustering key in Snowflake is a subset of table columns that optimize data co-location within the table, especially beneficial for large tables with non-sequential DML operations.

26. What is a Stage?

A Stage in Snowflake is a central area for file uploads, enabling Snowpipe to systematically load files into the database, with support for various stage types, including User, Table, and Internal Named Stages.

27. Is Snowflake OLAP or OLTP?

Primarily designed as an OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) system, Snowflake can also adapt to OLTP scenarios, showcasing its versatility.

28. How can we execute Snowflake Procedure?

A Snowflake procedure involves executing SQL statements, retrieving query results, and accessing result set metadata, encapsulating complex business logic within a modular code structure.

29. Does Snowflake maintain stored procedures?

Snowflake supports stored procedures created via the CREATE PROCEDURE command. It is executed with CALL, incorporating JavaScript APIs for database operations like UPDATE, SELECT, and CREATE

30. What is a Columnar database?

A columnar database, like Snowflake, stores data in columns rather than rows, enhancing analytical query processing and overall database performance, marking a significant advancement in BI analysis.

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 All the above are some of the frequently asked interview questions in the topmost companies. We trust this Frequently Asked Questions has been helpful to you. We are attempting to include more frequently asked questions that will help you get ready for your interview. Keep an eye out for HKR Trainings blogs for more questions.

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As a Senior Writer for HKR Trainings, Sai Manikanth has a great understanding of today’s data-driven environment, which includes key aspects such as Business Intelligence and data management. He manages the task of creating great content in the areas of Digital Marketing, Content Management, Project Management & Methodologies, Product Lifecycle Management Tools. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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