6 Things You Need To Know Before Using Snowflake Data Warehouse

Snowflake is the industry-leading “software as a service” (SaaS) data warehousing solution that runs in the cloud. Because it was designed to work in the cloud, you won’t need to buy any specialized gear or software or worry about keeping it updated.

Snowflake Data Warehouse
Snowflake Data Warehouse


Compared to other options such as Google BigQuery and Amazon Redshift, the cloud data warehouse known as Snowflake service has emerged as the most popular choice for analytics and generating reports.

The fact that it is so straightforward and effortless to use has contributed to its rapid rise in popularity. Snowflake is meant to abstract away database maintenance and optimization, allowing customers to have a highly performant data warehouse right from the start with no management required, thanks to Snowflake’s innovative architecture.

If you have worked with Snowflake, you certainly know about its distinctive overall design, characterized by the fact that it divides storage and computation in a way that enables each to grow uniquely.

And how its virtual warehouses, which are autonomous MPP clusters, may be used across databases and automatically suspended when those are not being used in any particular database.

Accrediting the certification with SnowflakeTraining would assist you in mastering the core principles including continuous integration and monitoring.

6 Things You Need To Know Before Using Snowflake Data Warehouse

This article will go into six important Snowflake features that business executives need to know before implementing a data warehouse.

1. The separation between Compute and Storage:

This is likely the most important idea to grasp when analyzing what Snowflake provides to the market and possibly your firm.

A snowflake is made up of three distinct layers, which are as follows:

  1. Cloud computing services (Access, security, and optimizer)
  2. Compute (Processing query)
  3. Data Storage

Each layer uses its unique resources to function, yet all of them are accessible to one another. Therefore, each layer can scale up or down separately to suit your changing performance and cost requirements as they evolve. This is made possible by the fact that each layer is completely independent.

Traditional data warehouse systems are restricted to a single storage layer, which several nodes may access. These systems often have bottlenecks and are constrained by resource limitations. They also need to be sized upfront depending on the expected workload that would be the heaviest.

Due to this, they are generally more costly because most firms do not have a clear grasp of their computing demands and wind up paying for bandwidth they do not need.

On the other hand, Snowflake may be scaled up or down at any moment according to your requirements, and you will only be charged for the processed data.

A Snowflake data warehouse allows businesses to pay just for the capabilities they want while providing strong scalability. This is made possible because computing and storage are maintained separately. Some platforms, like Amazon Redshift, group these functions together and have less flexibility.

In addition, Snowflake can automatically manage operations such as data compression, in contrast to other systems that need a large degree of human administration to manage similar processes.

2. Virtual Warehouse

Snowflake refers to its computation layer as “virtual warehouses.” These are clusters of computer resources and their components, including the central processing unit (CPU), memory, and temporary storage. Within this intermediate layer is where you will carry out any data processing that has to be done.

Scalability may be achieved both vertically and horizontally in virtual warehouses. You might think of vertical scaling as raising the size of the machine you’re using to process a certain query more efficiently.

That query can be executed more quickly for you because of the breadth of your data. Scaling horizontally, on the other hand, is analogous to adding additional sets of computers capable of processing many requests simultaneously, hence increasing the depth of the available resources.

The wonderful thing about Snowflake’s concept is that both of these functions may be toggled on and off based on the requirements of your workload as well as your financial situation.

3. Database

A Snowflake “database” is a collection of schemas, tables, and views, similar to other database technologies. With a Snowflake data warehouse, any number of your virtual warehouses can access a single database.

This implies that your company may have a huge ETL (extract, transform, and load) warehouse which can transform your data and a separate reporting warehouse that generates reports and dashboards from the same data.

The benefit here stems from Snowflake’s separation of computing and storage. Using the same database for numerous virtual data warehouses enables cost and use to be separated by function.

4. Warehouse Scalability and Auto-Suspension

Snowflake’s primary selling point for many different kinds of businesses is the money it can save them. The capacity to scale up or down at speeds of less than one second per change results in these cost reductions.

You will only be charged for computing resources when actively performing queries because of Snowflake’s automatic suspension functionality. Your data warehouse will stay in an idle state for the remaining portion of the time, which will result in cost savings.

Consider, for instance, a business that operates a daily ETL process that is quite expensive and complicated. The size of their Snowflake storage has been increased to X-Large so that the conversions may be completed in less than an hour.

At 16 credits per hour, the cost of maintaining this warehouse for a day would be 384 credits. After five minutes of being idle, the cluster will automatically suspend itself and switch off if auto-suspension is enabled. Due to this change, the daily credit cost would drop from 384 credits to only 16.

For the sake of this illustration, let’s imagine that to reach the appropriate level of performance, reports and ad-hoc analytics may achieve satisfactory performance with a Medium-size warehouse, which is equal to 4 credits per hour.

It would cost forty credits per day to keep this analytics warehouse up and running during normal business hours. Again, you may get considerable cost savings by dividing the various levels of computation. In this instance, 56 credits daily, down from the initial 384 credits per day.

To illustrate this point further, let’s assume that reports and analytical queries run on average once every five minutes during business hours. Yet, there are long periods when nothing is happening.

Snowflake’s auto-suspension might be reduced to as little as one minute, resulting in even greater cost savings for the business.

5. Worksheets UI

Snowflake has a very effective user interface that is referred to as a “worksheet.” This executes data searches in addition to DDL and DML operations (data definition language and data manipulation language, respectively). Other characteristics of Snowflake include the following:

  • An intuitive graphical user interface for retrieving information straight from the internet
  • A native tool
  • An outline of the database items, a data preview, the outcomes of execution, and a breakdown of execution time
  • The capacity to adapt one’s job, warehouse, database, and schema to changing circumstances in a prompt and painless manner

6. Snowflake Pricing

Compared to other cloud data platforms, such as those that often have hidden prices and ambiguous usage limitations, Snowflake provides straightforward pricing based on only two components: the amount of data storage and the number of computing resources.

Data storage costs between $25 and $40 per TB per month and is charged daily. The computer’s utilization is invoiced per second, depending on the number of processing units, which Snowflake refers to as “credits.”

As was seen in the cases that came before, the quantity of credits utilized is determined by the size of the chosen warehouse.

This gives companies budgetary control. While simultaneously optimizing the performance of the data warehouse, any limits may be readily handled.

When a warehouse is launched in Snowflake, a minimum of sixty seconds must pass before the warehouse may be used, but no further charges will be spent while the warehouse is idle and unused.

Snowflake suggests beginning with the lowest possible warehouse size if one is deciding which one to employ. You may work up to bigger sizes until you find the optimal size for your performance requirements while still fitting inside your financial constraints.

Our tests showed that even an X-Small warehouse could keep up with a conventional SQL Server-based solution.

When assisting our customers with the requirements for their Snowflake data warehouses, we have found that most of them do not need to increase in size after their fundamental requirements and data structure have been satisfied.

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Final Thoughts

Snowflake is a unique data warehouse that has been gaining popularity in the past few years. It offers some great features and benefits for businesses of all sizes.

However, there are a few things you should know before making the switch to Snowflake. This article outlines six important points to keep in mind before migrating your data to Snowflake.

We hope this information helps you make an informed decision about whether or not Snowflake is the right solution for your business.


Do I need to have experience with SQL to use Snowflake?

Snowflake is a fully SQL-based platform, so if you have any experience with BI or data analysis, you’ll be just fine. Most of what you already know in these subjects can be applied to Snowflake. Snowflake utilizes “SnowSQL,” a customized SQL variation.

Some commands and functionalities may not operate the same in Snowflake. Snowflake is created for the cloud; thus, scaling and pricing are different. If you know SQL, you can utilize Snowflake easily.

Can data be stored in Snowflake warehouses?

All the data that has been put into Snowflake is stored in the database storage layer. This includes both structured and semistructured data.

Snowflake can autonomously manage every facet of the data storage process, including the organization, file size, structure, compression, metadata, and statistics of the data. This storage layer operates in a manner that is separate from the computational resources.

Can you tell me what language Snowflake speaks?

ANSI SQL language. To facilitate the management of day-to-day operations for standard users, Snowflake offers full support for the ANSI SQL language.

It is cloud independent and scalable in a limitless and seamless manner across both Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.

Does Snowflake support coding of any kind?

You may write stored procedures and procedural code outside of a stored procedure with the help of Snowflake Scripting. This walkthrough will teach you how to utilize the Snowflake Scripting language.

Author Bio:

Meravath Raju is a Digital Marketer, and a passionate writer, who is working with MindMajix, a top global online training provider.

He also holds in-depth knowledge of IT and demanding technologies such as Business Intelligence, Salesforce, Cybersecurity, Software Testing, QA, Data analytics, Project Management and ERP tools, etc.

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