June 23, 2022

Introducing Snowflake: a single platform for all your data

Have you heard about Snowflake? In the following article, we invite you to learn a little more about this modern Data Cloud platform, its characteristics, capabilities, why it is becoming a trend and the impact it can have on your business.

Snowflake is a fully managed Data Cloud that brings together end-to-end functionality that supports Data Warehouse, Data Lake, Data Engineering, Data Science, Data Application Development and secure Data Sharing and Consumption.

As it is a single platform solution with a wide variety of use cases, the set of Snowflake functions is necessarily extensive. For the purposes of this article, we are examining the three main layers that form the basis of the solution, what each contains and the key benefits that each layer brings to the solution as a whole.

Layer 1: Elastic performance engine

At the heart of Snowflake there is a multipurpose engine that drives a variety of tasks, including analysis, applications and interactions, function engineering and complex data pipelines

Rather than using separate engines for different silos of tasks, Snowflake's approach allows for a much more simplified architecture, significantly reducing the maintenance, testing and integration overheads associated with multi-part solutions.

It means that scaling can be done centrally and almost instantaneously, with no functional upper limit on the number of users or workloads, and bi-directionally, which means no unnecessary expenditure on unused infrastructure.

Snowflake is also easy to use for developers, natively supports SQL and includes its own "Snowpark" developer framework that allows access to Java and Scala. Native pushdown integrations are also available to developers, allowing them to seamlessly integrate their preferred external tools with the platform.

Layer 2: Smart infrastructure

As a completely cloud-based solution, Snowflake uses the latest automations to optimise data management and resource allocation. The platform aims to reduce dependence on the administration and manual configuration of the underlying infrastructure, rather than automating the management of key parameters to obtain the most efficient result.

This maximizes both platform reliability and availability, with automatic data replication between regions or between clouds, in complex configurations, offering substantial reductions in recovery time.

However, the role of automation is not limited to monitoring and duplicating data. The smart infrastructure can make real-time adjustments in the background, responding to usage patterns and demand to improve throughput speed and storage efficiency without manual intervention.

The result is a highly profitable solution that allows a real scaling up of the use of resources and offers the maximum return on investment.

Layer 3: Data management

The combination of a smart infrastructure and an integrated, elastic performance engine means that Snowflake enables users to go beyond mere data management to realise its full potential. Organisations that implement Snowflake have the tools they need to automatically optimise the security, availability and resilience of their data sets.

Snowgrid, part of Snowflake, allows organisations to share data easily and conveniently between commercial functions, so that teams, departments, partners and customers no longer operate in separate silos. As all parties use a single copy of the data, there are fewer administrative costs in terms of version management, access control and data transfer.

Snowflake Data Marketplace adds more depth, giving users access to a large number of third-party data sets that can be used to develop and enrich knowledge, improve reports and comparative operations.

From a security point of view, Snowflake benefits from sophisticated governance controls and comprehensive policies that guarantee regulatory compliance when data is shared between functions, regions or locations.

Snowflake's higher security implementations have obtained Federal Risk Management and Licensing Program Authorisation to operate at the Moderate level and support SOC 2 Type 2, PCI DSS and HIPAA compliance.

The result is greater operational efficiency, a significant reduction in risk and simplified regulatory, legal and governmental compliance.

First steps with Snowflake

If you would like to learn more about how Snowflake could revolutionise data management within your organisation, you can watch our latest webinar.