Snowflake is a platform for cloud-based databases, and it is designed specifically for the cloud. This creates a flexible solution with secure data sharing while also making it easy to scale up and down as needs evolve. The product is leased as a service, and it is priced based on the utilised storage volume and processor power.


Elasticity refers to the ability to quickly increase or decrease capacity in response to changes in workload. This performance optimisation is entirely automatic and requires no manual activity for indexing or partitioning (in Snowflake terminology this is referred to as ’zero admin’).

The database is column-based and the speed at which complex issues are answered is fast, so queries can be handled in parallel using a large number of nodes.

There are several ready-made links such as ODBC, JDBC and program languages such as Java, Python and R which can be used to process data. Many BI suppliers (such as Power BI, Tableau, Qlik and IBM Cognos) and ETL suppliers (such as Informatica and Matillion) provide ready-made links.

The architecture is based on a relational database that supports both structured data such as conventional tables, as well as semi-structured data. Snowflake can import data from regular CSV/text files as well as from JSON, Apache Avro and Parquet.

The product is sold as a service and you pay for the data that you store and the quantity of processor power you use, which can be configured as needed. It is also easy to set cost limits.

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