Altis Lunch & Learn Series: Snowflake is SNOWBALLING!!!

Richard Roose, Principal Consultant from our Sydney office, recently attended a Lunch & Learn session hosted by Altis where Snowflake presented their disruptive technology offering.

Richard shares his 4 key takeaways below.

Separate Storage & Compute: The 1st piece of the puzzle was to separate storage from compute. This simple concept created a number of distinct advantages. No more “expensive 24×7 appliances” which require large up-front commitments to meet peak processing requirements. Now, you can scale automatically or as required for different workloads and not worry about concurrency/contention/down time. “Pay by the second” usage means your costs are optimised to exactly what you need. Cheap storage (e.g. AWS S3) is leveraged to also minimise your costs. Separate compute also removes the need to provision separate dev/test environments.

Native SQL: The 2nd piece was to use the de-facto data warehousing language (SQL). This makes Snowflake instantly accessible to most of the major toolsets in use today and a distinct advantage over proprietary mechanisms or other approaches like the Hadoop ecosystem. Available skillsets also makes SQL attractive. New data types have been introduced to make semi-structured data like JSON, Parquet, etc also accessible via simple SQL statements. This is quite a powerful concept for today’s IoT use cases.

Zero Management: As a fully managed SaaS and some intelligent data profiling/indexing on data ingestion, they’ve removed the need for specialised DBAs and people trying to tune complex query plans. That allows you to get on with the data warehousing and not worry about all that admin overhead.

Time Travel (DRP):  Anybody who’s done data warehousing in anger will know the sinking feeling of having just committed the “drop table” command on the production database. Because all data changes in Snowflake are effectively logged as SCD-2’s (i.e. logical deletes, not physical deletes), it is mere child’s play to type in the “undrop table” command and see all your wonderfully restored data on the executive dashboard before anybody has even noticed. This convenient feature makes it also very easy to take snapshots in time for whatever reason you happen to dream up.

As with any good product, new features are being added to Snowflake all the time. A recent example is sharing data with other Snowflake users. Add this to the recent Snowflake on Azure and soon to be ported Snowflake on Google and you have the capability to implement a multi-vendor cloud strategy to your data warehouse as well.

All of the above, add to a compelling argument as to why would you continue data warehousing on an outdated, expensive and hard to maintain architecture when you could be out there adding business value today and into the future.

Altis has worked on 4 projects using Snowflake with our clients and will give our insight to those in a future blog.

If you would like to find out how this solution may help you, or would like to learn more, contact us.

Altis is also running future Lunch & Learn sessions around hot topics in the Data & Analytics world, if you are interested in attending, reach out to your Regional Manager.

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