Snowflake Inc, a cloud computing-based data cloud company which was founded in July 2012 by Benoit Dageville,Thierry Cruanes and Marcin Zukowski. The firm, which was publicly launched two years later in October 2014, allows corporate users to store and analyze data using cloud-based hardware and software.
What is Snowflake?
Snowflake refers to a cloud data warehouse that can analyze and store all your big data records in one place. Snowflake is built on top of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure plus Google cloud platforms, and is a fully managed SaaS (software as a service).
Snowflake is an analytic database that provides a single platform for data warehousing, data lakes, data science, data engineering, data application development plus secure sharing and consumption of real-time/ shared data.
Snowflake is characterized by out-of-the-box features such as separation of storage and compute, on-the-fly scalable compute, data sharing, data cloning and third-party tools support in order to handle the demands and needs of growing enterprises.
There is no hardware or software needed to install, configure, and manage; rather, Snowflake runs entirely on public cloud infrastructure. This makes Snowflake ideal for organizations that don’t intend to dedicate resources for, setup, maintenance and support of in-house servers. However, what really sets Snowflake apart is its architecture and data sharing capabilities.
Snowflake architecture is built for the cloud, hence decoupling the storage, compute functions and system services, meaning that organizations with high storage demands but less need for CPU cycle or vice versa, don’t have to pay for an integrated bundle that requires them to pay for both. Snowflake users are capable of scaling up or down as needed in order to pay for only the resources they use.
Architecturally, the Snowflake data warehouse consists of three key layers as seen below.
The Database Storage runs independently. This layer holds all the data loaded into Snowflake for processing and analysis, including structured and semi-structured data. Snowflake automatically manages all aspects of how data is stored, that is organization, encryption, structure, file size, compression, metadata and statistics.
The compute layer of Snowflake consists of virtual cloud data warehouses that execute data processing tasks required for queries. Each virtual warehouse or cluster can access all the data in the Data Storage layer and runs independently so that the warehouses don’t share, or compete for compute resources. As a result, none of the Snowflake layers have their performance affected, which eliminates workload concurrency.
Snowflake uses ANSI SQL for cloud services empowering users to optimize their data and manage their infrastructure. Snowflake handles the security and encryption of stored data. They maintain robust data warehousing certifications such as PCI DSS and HIPPA. Services in this Snowflake layer include; authentication, infrastructure management, metadata management, query parsing and optimization and access control.
Snowflake Benefits for your Business
Built specifically for the cloud, Snowflake is designed to address many of the problems found in older hardware-based data warehouses such as limited scalability, delays or failures due to high query volumes, and data transformation issues.
Below are some of the benefits your business can reap from implementing the use of Snowflake.
- Unlike traditional warehouses where you could experience concurrency issues when too many queries compete for resources, Snowflake addresses issues such as delays or failures with the help of its unique multicluster architecture.
- Information is accessible to data scientists and data analysts in real-time, without waiting for other loading or processing tasks to complete.
- The elastic nature of the cloud facilitates high speeds and performance since it enables running of high volume of queries and as result, faster loading.
- Snowflake enables seamless sharing of data among users and non users.
- Snowflake ensures secure storage and support of structured and semi-structured data.
With cloud data warehousing gaining popularity with each passing day, solutions like Snowflake are an effective option over other traditional-based solutions. Implementing Snowflake into your business is a sure way to improve performance and forecast future growth.
Has your company incorporated the use of Snowflake?
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