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Challenges and Best Practices for Snowflake Data Warehouse Environments

Author: Jeff Schodowski | | January 4, 2022


As more and more companies look towards the cloud for their data warehousing needs, Snowflake is becoming a popular choice. Snowflake’s cloud data platform has a variety of advantages—including a straightforward, on-demand pricing model, excellent scalability and performance, and the ability to build either a data warehouse or data lake according to your business requirements.


Given these benefits, you might consider a Snowflake data warehouse migration for your own organization. But what should businesses thinking about moving to Snowflake be aware of before they get started? In this article, we’ll go over both the challenges and the best practices you need to know about for Snowflake migrations.

4 Challenges of Snowflake Migrations

When it comes to a Snowflake cloud migration, the grass may indeed be greener on the other side of the fence—but that doesn’t mean there aren’t significant challenges to getting over the fence in the first place.

If you’re thinking about moving your data warehouse to Snowflake, here are four issues you should consider before you get started:

  • Transitioning to new technology: Just like any new change or experience, making a big transition in your enterprise IT can be jarring. Although Snowflake has a lot to offer in terms of features and functionality, you need to know what’s new and what’s available in order to get the most out of your Snowflake migration.
  • Unique architecture and pricing: In particular, Snowflake users should consider how to make the best use of the platform’s distinct architecture and pricing model. Snowflake’s on-demand pricing could mean that you’ll need to adopt a different usage pattern than with your previous data warehouse solution. Meanwhile, Snowflake’s “unique multi-cluster shared data architecture” will take some time getting used to (or some help from your IT partner).
  • Measuring success: If you aren’t sure what you’re hoping to achieve with Snowflake, why are you bothering with the migration in the first place? Selecting the appropriate metrics and KPIs will help you assess the migration’s success and focus on areas that need more progress.
  • Planning ahead: Don’t have in-house Snowflake experts on staff? Working with the right Snowflake managed services provider will be crucial. However, because Snowflake is enjoying a surge in popularity, you’ll need to plan for the migration well in advance.

3 Best Practices for Snowflake Migrations

While it’s crucial to be aware of the challenges that lie ahead, it’s even more important to be familiar with the best practices for Snowflake migrations. Here are three golden nuggets of advice:

  • Check your business requirements: Snowflake migrations may require in-depth technical skills, but ultimately tools like Snowflake also have a concrete business objective: they help you turn raw data into actionable insights. Make sure your business team is heavily involved in the migration from day one.
  • Leverage the cloud: A major advantage of cloud computing is that you can rapidly spin up and shut down resources on an ad hoc basis, giving you greater business flexibility and agility. Take full use of these advantages to test new ideas (and “fail fast” if necessary).
  • Pick the right MSP: As mentioned above, Snowflake migration partners are in high demand right now—but you shouldn’t just select the first MSP who agrees to work with you. Properly vetting Snowflake MSPs is critical. Look for partners who want a holistic understanding of your business needs and pain points, and who see technology as a business enabler rather than the end goal itself.

How Datavail Can Help with Snowflake Data Warehousing

Given the potential obstacles involved in moving to Snowflake—and the best practices to know about along the way—the best strategy is to join forces with a skilled, experienced IT managed services provider. For countless businesses who need help migrating to the cloud, that MSP has been Datavail.

Datavail is a managed services provider for IT solutions and services, including Snowflake, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, and Oracle. We specialize in database management, analytics, and application development and integration across a wide range of technologies. In particular, Datavail is a Microsoft Gold Partner and an AWS Advanced Tier Consulting Partner for applications, databases, and analytics. Whether you choose Azure or AWS to host your Snowflake data warehouse, we know how to make the most of your choice.

Our list of Snowflake professional services includes:

  • Data warehouse migrations
  • Snowflake integrations and connectors
  • Roadmaps and strategic planning
  • Warehouse design and performance tuning
  • Long-term support and maintenance


Looking for more Snowflake advice and inspiration? We’re here to help. Check out our white paper: Moving Your Data Warehouse to Snowflake: What You Need to Know and help kick your upcoming Snowflake data warehouse cloud migration into motion.

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