What is Snowflake

Snowflake is a type of data platform for data storing, data warehousing, data science, data engineering, data security, consumption of real-time data, data lakes, data sharing, etc. This data platform comprises 3 main components which are cloud services, query processing, and database storage. In this article, we will be talking more about the snowflake software, the detailed view of its components, the need for snowflakes, and how it is different from the rest of the cloud software. We will also discuss the use cases of snowflakes and their benefits.

Introduction to Snowflake 

The snowflake is a software as a service platform that was designed in the year 2012. It is a type of data platform for data storing, data warehousing, data science, data engineering, data security, consumption of real-time data, data lakes, data sharing, etc. Moreover, it takes care of numerous features such as storing and computing at the same time, scalable computing, supporting third-party tools, handling the needs of growing enterprises, etc. 

The snowflake software consists of three main components which are:

  • Cloud services: The snowflake platform optimises and manages its data using ANSI SQL. It also handles the features like security as well as encryption of the data already stored. The cloud services help in authenticating, managing the infrastructure, parsing the query, optimising the data, managing the metadata, and controlling the access.
  • Query processing: The snowflake layer consists of a virtual cloud warehouse that lets the user analyse the data with the help of requests. It is present in the form of an independent cluster which doesn’t compete for computing resources. They also don’t affect the performance of each other in any way. Hence, we can say the currency doesn't come as a problem.
  • Database storage: The database of snowflake keeps all the structured as well as semistructured datasets of the organisation. It is further used for processing and analysing. It tends to manage all the storage processes such as file size, metadata, organisation, compression, statistics, etc.

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Why Use Snowflake?

Below are some important features for understanding why a person should use Snowflake:

  • Speed and performance: The snowflake platform helps in quick query processing and features such as microprocessing, cluster-tuning, etc.
  • On-Demand Pricing: It is a boon for users that snowflake allows them to only pay for the amount of data they have used for storing their data on the platform. This is computed in terms of hours or minutes. Hence, it is worth the price as the user does not pay for the time he is not active.
  • No Administration Cost: AS compared to other solutions like a snowflake, this platform offers 0 administrative costs to the user. As SaaS needs no hardware not it needs installation of any software, therefore it is cost-free.
  • User-friendly: The platform is very friendly for both the developers as well as users. 
  • Compatible: It is compatible with a lot of programming languages such as .NET, GoLang, Node.js, C, etc which helps in programming in a very comfortable way. 
  • Data Sharing: The process of data sharing between the providers and consumers is very easy and quick with snowflake. 


Why Snowflake is special?

Snowflake helps in creating a revolutionary tool that makes the infrastructure in IT very strong and powerful. There are services such as Google cloud platform, AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform, etc but still, there is some scope for improvement which is in the snowflake platform.

It mainly optimises and manages its data using ANSI SQL. It also handles the features like security as well as encryption of the data already stored. The cloud services help in authenticating, managing the infrastructure, parsing the query, optimising the data, managing the metadata, and controlling the access.

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How Snowflake is different

As we have discussed in the section above, Snowflake software is one of the leading cloud platforms of these times. It completely runs with the support of cloud infrastructure. There are other cloud platforms as well such as AWS, google cloud, etc but there is no hardware or software involved in Snowflake for any kind of selection, installation, configuration, or even management. Everything is handled by the snowflake platform itself such as the maintenance part, management, upgrades, or even tuning.

The architecture and sharing capabilities are also very different from the other platforms. 

What are the use cases of Snowflake?

Below are some use cases that Snowflake includes:

  1. Storage: It is more scalable that the data is present in the cloud as it is low in cost then hence this is the premium data storage solution.
  2. Reporting: The use of working with data warehouses makes it easier and faster to run a business on a larger scale. It is also easier to restructure the data as it adds more value and delivers more business to the customers. 
  3. Analytics: It is possible to get all the insights that the user needs with the help of snowflake. Hence, it adds value to the operational businesses helping in contributing to the business applications. For example, CRM software. 

Benefits of Snowflake

  • Instant, nearly unlimited scalability: The architecture of Snowflakemakes the use of an engine delivering high performance and speed with increased scalability. This platform can support a lot of interactive users and their workloads in a very clear manner. This helps in achieving a multi-cluster environment for the clusters. The confidence boosts up as the workload becomes easier to handle. The Snowflake services make it easier for its customers to have their skillset open to a huge amount of data.
  • Easy Automation: It is not possible for enterprises to store the data manually and then manage it. It reduces the accuracy as well as speed. Therefore, it is possible to automate things in the snowflake platform. Not only this, the automation comes with high security, proper management of data, data resilience as well as governance. Even the data replication and recovery time are very quick as compared to other platforms.
  • Single Data Copy Sharing: Snowflake helps in eliminating the ETL as well as all kinds of data silos. This is done with the help of cross-cloud and region connections including the process of data sharing. Cloud access is provided to anyone who needs to access the data. All these processes are secure and governed totally with full compliance with policies. This helps in building trust and enhancing remote collaboration among the enterprise and its employees as the decision-making process becomes simpler as well as easier.
  • Third-Party Integrations: Snowflake platforms let its users interact with third-party easily and make connections. This is done using applications such as iPaas having an on-demand price structure and zero commitment policy. This app also offers a free trial-based system.
  • Disaster Recovery: The snowflake has a lot of software for replicating the data in case of data failure of a disaster. This could be scaled up as per the demand of the user.
  • Speed and Performance: The snowflake platform helps in quick query processing and features such as microprocessing, cluster-tuning, etc.
  • Cost Effective: It is a boon for users that snowflake allows them to only pay for the amount of data they have used for storing their data on the platform. This is computed in terms of hours or minutes. Hence, it is worth the price as the user does not pay for the time he is not active.
  • High availability: This platform is a distributed service present across various availability zones that can either be AWS or Azure. It is designed for operating continuously and also tolerating the components and network failure issues without affecting its customers. 
  • Seamless Data Sharing: The architecture of Snowflake makes it easy for its customers to have a data-sharing facility. It is also possible for various organisations to share their data with their customers without any problems. The data is directly made available through the reader’s account and it goes into the user interface for users. The only thing that needs to be managed is the Snowflake account after creating it for a user.

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Pros of Snowflake

  • Storage Capacity: The snowflake software can easily run on the Azure platform and it is very scalable, user-friendly, and affordable to the users. It also offers its users the ability to store huge amounts of data very easily.
  • Multi-Cloud: The snowflake software does not only run in Azure but can also run on a lot of other platforms as well such as google cloud, amazon web services, etc. This can provide the ability of data warehousing for several other organisations. 
  • Server Capacity: The snowflake software does not need much equipment for any server storage however a lot of other platforms have this need. This is because snowflake is cloud-based and everything goes up on the cloud for storage.
  • Security: There are several third-party security systems for a lot of organisations working on various platforms. This does not happen with the snowflake as it has a two-way authentication system.
  • Performance: Organisations cannot take a break when they are working with a lot of users and customers. Because of high scalability, it is possible for the snowflake software to provide its users with increased performance every time. 
  • Star Schemas: This ability helps the users as the snowflake combines with the star schema and provides some unique designs for the data warehousing. 

Cons of Snowflake

  • Bulk Data Load: It is not easy to migrate the data from snowflake software as it requires continuous loading of the data hence loading of bulk data can be an issue.
  • No data constraints: As we have discussed the factor of pricing, snowflake lets its users pay only for the services they opt for. Hence, it becomes very easy to exceed the use of services for billing them later. 
  • Unstructured Data: Currently the snowflake can only handle structured as well as semi-structured data. It doesn't take unstructured data which is expected in the future. 

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Conclusion

Snowflake services are one of the most important cloud-data platforms for a lot of data-related work. Its ability to scale, deliver, its elasticity, and concurrent nature is way different from the organisations of today as it doesn't go with the traditional approach at all. Snowflake is a type of data platform for data storing, data warehousing, data science, data engineering, data security, consumption of real-time data, data lakes, data sharing, etc. In this article, we have discussed the snowflake platform, its components, and services, and how a snowflake is different from the rest of the cloud platforms. We have also learned the use cases and benefits of the Snowflake.

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Gayathri
Gayathri
Research Analyst
As a senior Technical Content Writer for HKR Trainings, Gayathri has a good comprehension of the present technical innovations, which incorporates perspectives like Business Intelligence and Analytics. She conveys advanced technical ideas precisely and vividly, as conceivable to the target group, guaranteeing that the content is available to clients. She writes qualitative content in the field of Data Warehousing & ETL, Big Data Analytics, and ERP Tools. Connect me on LinkedIn.

FAQs For What is Snowflake

The snowflake helps in storing the data on the cloud without taking up the storage capacity of the user’s device. 

It is different from other databases as it optimises and manages its data using ANSI SQL. It also handles the features like security as well as encryption of the data already stored

It is an SQL based database.

SQL database has a common pool for all its resources whereas snowflake enables separate pools for its data depending on the users.

The main competitors of Snowflake are Db2, Redis Enterprise cloud, MarkLogic, Oracle Database, etc.

The architecture used by Azure is MPP whereas snowflake requires a traditional database which is based on shared-disk.