Whether you are in the infancy stages of understanding the power of data and what your business needs to do to really harness that power for the business to grow, it all starts with how that data is being managed. Understanding data warehousing is critical to moving forward to capitalize on the data that is being collected. An organization needs to do so many things in order to collect, manage, and protect proprietary data. Snowflake is a data warehouse and platform that has a lot of benefits and has attracted a lot of attention recently- especially with it being a cloud computing-based warehouse. Snowflake has really stuck its neck out to be nontraditional in the sense that it is more flexible and has a very unique architecture. So let’s dive into how partnering with Snowflake can benefit your business.
One of the biggest benefits Snowflake has over many is that it’s cloud-based and organizations don’t have to worry about IT infrastructure or hardware to set up or manage. Because Snowflake is 100 percent cloud-based, no additional administrative overhead is needed when it comes to optimizing performance, data protection, data sharing and recovery- since it’s all built in. There’s a lot of out-of-the-box features your team will appreciate. While implementation is easy, if you previously had an on-premise or hybrid solution and are thinking about migrating to the cloud, it’s always a good idea to look into a business like Aptude who partners with Snowflake, to ensure the migration goes smoothly. According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, The global Platform as a Service (PaaS) market size is expected to grow from $56.2 billion in 2020 to $164.3 billion by 2026, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 19.6% during the forecast period- you can take this as your sign that it might be a good idea to start looking into cloud-based solutions if you haven’t already.
Keeping it simple
Data processing can be very difficult, but Snowflake will save you the headaches when it comes to data blending, analysis and transformations against different types of data structures working with SQL as the only language. Snowflake has the ability to work with data in structured and semi-structured formats. Since in today’s digital age, data comes in so many different formats from so many different sources, Snowflake can work with semi-structured data without having to transform it first and is optimized for storage and querying for maximum efficiency. All a user needs to do is create a table with a single column type VARIANT -or you can add columns of any other type- followed by executing Snowflake’s COPY command to load the data.
Due to Snowflake’s architecture, users can query semi-structured data and structured data together using SQL. By having the ability to compare and calculate between the two in one query, it eliminates so many extra steps and also maximizes performance.
The overall design of Snowflake’s architecture allows for a simplistic approach to data management that allows to have both schema flexibility of semi-structured data and the performance optimizations of relational data. Further, its design has a database engine that natively understands how to optimize performance for queries on semi-structured data in the same way it does for structured data. Another benefit is that once that data uploads, Snowflake maintains metadata about the structure of that data and continuously updates automatically even when the data changes. Snowflake’s unique architecture works with semi-structured data in a way that does not sacrifice performance- a big differentiator when comparing against other platforms.
Another unique feature to Snowflake is its ability to clone data. Usually this is a very difficult and arduous process in traditional data warehousing services. In order to test changes, perform analysis, create test environments, etc. users would need to copy and deploy a completely separate environment and load the data into it. With Snowflake- instead of copying, you can clone databases or tables instantaneously. This saves an enormous amount of time and especially money without having to worry about storage space. By cloning, users can create multiple independent clones of the same data without any additional costs associated with doing so.
As previously mentioned, the Snowflake Cloud Data Platform is designed to work natively with structured and unstructured data- and at an unlimited scale being in the Cloud. It includes data warehouses, data lakes and data science applications providing a great foundation to run any workload from one service. Where there are silos between data, there comes performance issues and roadblocks to realizing the true ROI of your data and increasing costs.
Snowflake has proven to be the only true data platform built for the cloud for all of your enterprise data- providing one unified platform. The number of features Snowflake has built in that allows for more of an automated process when it comes to your data is definitely a key benefit to anyone who has to work with that data. Having the ability to set up recurring tasks to build workflows allows you to maintain a high-performing system and continuous pipelines.
Snowpipe is Snowflake’s continuous data ingestion service that provides a way for loading new data in micro-batches when it’s available in an external stage instead of it again, being a manual process using larger batches and using COPY statements.
Encryption and Security
Securing your data should always be at the forefront of an organization’s mind when considering a partnership with any kind of platform. Snowflake has many layers of security built in for user and group administration, account and user authentication, object security, data security and maintains several security validations. The data stored in Snowflake is protected through Continuous Data Protection (CDP) that includes features that protects data stored in Snowflake against several factors such as human error, malicious attacks, or software/hardware failures. In the event data corruption, removal or modification occurs, Snowflake allows data to be accessible and recoverable. The following are a few key security features:
- Maintains network policies to grant users restricted access to the site based on their IP address
- Verification and authentication is required for any users accessing your account
- Access control for certain users to access all objects in the system
- Historical data maintenance in order to restore or data for disaster recovery purposes within Snowflake Time Travel and Fail-safe.
With Snowflake, users can share objects from a database in their account with another Snowflake account without having to copy the data-again eliminating the issue of accruing additional storage costs and space. If the other user doesn’t have a Snowflake account, providers can still set up reader accounts. Depending on your needs, Snowflake has three different products – Direct Share, Snowflake Data Marketplace and Data Exchange to securely share data.
Snowflake has a lot to offer organizations that are diving head first into quality data management in the cloud. Aptude is an IT consulting firm that can work with your organization on migrating to the cloud or moving over to a solution like Snowflake to realize these benefits. Click here to learn more.