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Why Build a Data Warehouse in Snowflake?

Author: Tom Hoblitzell | | December 2, 2021


 

Snowflake took the market by storm when it introduced its innovative cloud-based data warehouse technology in 2014. It is one of the first data warehousing platforms offered as a software as a service (SaaS) product with storage, compute, and cloud services operating separately and billing as independent units.

 

Major companies like Anthem, DoorDash, and PepsiCo use Snowflake as a critical component of their systems, and its popularity continues to grow. But what is it about Snowflake that companies and IT leaders are so excited about? Let’s look at some of the top reasons organizations choose to build their data warehouses in Snowflake.

You Pick the Platform

One of the main reasons we like to recommend Snowflake to our customers is that it can run on AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud. You’re not tied into any specific cloud technology or brand so you can select the one that best fits your architecture, budget, and functionality requirements. If you wish, you can even run multiple Snowflake accounts, each on a different cloud platform. It’s the ultimate flexibility that gives you the freedom to do what works best for your business.

You Get Better Query Performance

Snowflake manages concurrency issues with a multicluster architecture – you can set up separate virtual warehouses that are individually scalable. So as multiple users are running queries, compute resource usage won’t overlap; each virtual warehouse can scale up or down as required without waiting for other user tasks to be completed. This speeds the work of data scientists and gets analytical insights into the right hands faster.

In addition, you can specify the size of each warehouse, and suspend and resize them at any time. This gives you a high level of flexibility while also allowing you to only pay for the resources you actually need.

You Can Securely Share Data Inside and Outside Your Organization

The reason for the existence of the data warehouse is to eliminate data silos. Even so, those silos can still exist if the data warehouse isn’t accessible by important teams, vendors, and partners across the organization. With Snowflake’s Secure Data Sharing, you don’t need to copy or export data to share it with necessary parties. You can simply set up secure data sharing accounts that access the data directly. This means that:

  • The data won’t take up space in the receiver’s account.
  • The receiver won’t be responsible for additional storage charges (compute resource charges for running queries still apply).
  • The data is read-only with pre-configurable role-based access controls.
  • It’s quick and easy to set up and access.

You Can Lower Your Costs

Because Snowflake is a cloud SaaS product, you don’t need to invest in any infrastructure or hardware to build your data warehouse. Additionally, you are billed according to usage, and you can adjust your usage as needed to avoid going over budget.

And, without the costly infrastructure administration, you can refocus your data team on high value, higher touch tasks in your data value chain.

Snowflake takes this a step further by allowing you to also set up separate warehouses for separate users and teams that can vary in size and usage, and can be switched on and off based on demand. Add to this the fact that your storage and compute costs are also tallied separately, and you have a true “only pay for what you need” offering.

You Can Process All Data Formats

Snowflake can support data in any format – structured, semi-structured, or unstructured. This means you can store, query, and analyze data that comes in the form of text, images, PDFs, and more. Previously, unstructured data had to be stored separately in a data lake, but now it resides in the same warehouse as structured and semi-structured data with the same data governance, management, and replication guarantees. This opens up a wealth of analytics capabilities, particularly for businesses in industries like healthcare that rely heavily on images, blocks of text, and documentation.

Additionally, Snowflake supports a multitude of next generation file formats that were once not accessible by traditional solutions. These include CSV, JSON, AVRO, ORC, PARQUET, and XML.

Final Thoughts

Companies across industries are discovering the value of Snowflake as a cloud data warehousing solution. At Datavail, we help clients plan, implement, and manage their Snowflake deployment so they can take advantage of its speed, performance, and flexibility.

We helped one of our clients, a multimedia nonprofit, replace their existing data warehouse solution with Snowflake on Azure. The benefits they gained from the change included higher data quality, access to real-time analytics, and excellent data accessibility and performance. Read more about the case study here.

Do you want to see similar improvements to your data environment? Contact Datavail’s data warehouse and analytics team to discuss how we can help you turn your data into a strategic asset.

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