What makes Snowflake so unique?

NOW Consulting’s CTO Martin Norgrove on why the company’s new partnership with Snowflake is a game changer for the NZ cloud market...

What makes Snowflake so unique?

New Zealanders are a pragmatic bunch. They don’t do something just because it's cool - it has to be about that value.

You can certainly see this in the changing attitudes towards the cloud. Simply put, the Kiwi appetite for cloud tech - particularly in regards to modern data warehouse platforms - has matured. We’re practical people who have to do things efficiently, and that’s exactly what cloud is - efficiency through scale and automation.

It’s one of the reasons we’ve decided to formalise our relationship with Snowflake - currently the only data warehouse built in-and-for the cloud - in the New Zealand market. It’s time for us to start taking Snowflake to our customers. It’s a new and innovative product and we think it has huge potential for Kiwi businesses.

Snowflake offers a massive simplification and automation of processes, de-risking and lowering costs, allowing customers to build solutions on it, rather than focusing on maintaining the platform itself. That means you can put more money into building out your data warehouse - getting more data in there - and focusing on giving your business better access to the platform. That’s a huge benefit.

Simply put, Snowflake eliminates much of the administration and management demands of traditional data warehouses and big data platforms, easing the learning curve and letting the business focus on what insights can actually be garnered - rather than the mechanics (and sometimes technical challenges) of the process.

Furthermore, Snowflake is fully supported by data warehouse automation software WhereScape RED, so our clients can manage their entire analytics data environment, on-premise and in the cloud, from a single toolset. WhereScape RED just does a lot of the work for you, giving you ‘guardrails’, and taking you through a framework of how you should be approaching things. If you're using Snowflake, you want to be using WhereScape RED because it's going to be faster, it's going to be simpler and you're far more likely to have a successful project. We can automate huge parts of the database warehouse build, meaning developer talent, effort and concentration can be focused where is matters most - on innovation.

But as many a database administrator will tell you, the key is always this: to get database solutions performing at the right level for the right cost. That’s a balance which, in the past, has always posed a challenge. Traditionally speaking, for on-premise you’d have to buy powerful servers and you would have to equip those for what you think the query performance might need to be in two to three years - because you don't want to be setting up a new server every six months as your data volumes increase.

Furthermore, you might have relatively small data volume requirements, but relatively high needs for performance and compute. In this scenario, you would then be required to take a lot more storage than you actually need - and to pay for it. (Alternatively, you might have massive quantities of data but little need for huge computing performance because you’re not accessing that data most of the time. Either way the result is the same - increased costs).

An additional reality is that traditional MMP scale-out cloud databases are not designed for high concurrency. They allow you to crunch lots of data quickly but not to query it in parallel across lots and lots of people. That’s one of the key benefits of Snowflake – those two elements can be scaled independently.

With Snowflake you can optimise the right amount of storage with the performance that you need, and you can grow that over time, painlessly and only paying for what you use. That’s the key differentiator of Snowflake and RED – you just don’t have to worry about all that IT stuff. Snowflake simplifies your architecture, simplifies the solution you need and reduces the number of databases you need. Plus you can scale as you need it and as your budget allows.

And because Snowflake was written for the cloud – ­­­not refactored for the cloud – there are huge security capabilities embedded natively into the platform. It's built for the cloud, it's enterprise grade and it uses all the advantages of cloud architecture to make a solution that requires none of the compromises. 

I've seen a real desire in the market around cloud - the efficiencies, the speed of deployment, and the cost savings in terms of maintenance. That’s a message that’s beginning to resonate with the New Zealand market.  People are becoming aware of how simple cloud solutions can make things. You don't need lots of database administrators fine tuning these things - Snowflake can be looked after relatively simply, you can bring all that data together seamlessly, and you can scale effortlessly.

That’s the goal for many Kiwis and that’s why we’re taking Snowflake to the New Zealand market now. Let the technology manage itself, so you can focus on your business.

NOW Consulting and Snowflake are hosted a live demo via webinar on October 16th.  If you'd like to find out more about Snowflake and their cloud native data warehouse, you can watch the replay below.


Snowflake Demo - Webinar Replay

Find out more



Snowflake Benefit Overview


It’s still a SQL data warehouse

Snowflake is a SQL data warehousing platform so in many ways it not that different to anything you’ve done in the past, it’s just a no compromise cloud version.  The tools you use and the skills you’ve built up over the years need not go to waste. Updates, deletes, transactions, stored procedures, analytical functions, and complex joins give you what you need to leverage your data.

More than just traditional structured data

Traditional data sources are still the bread and butter of any data and analytics practice, but modern technologies need to offer more than that.  Snowflake natively loads and optimises semi-structured data as well as structured data.  This includes JSON, Avro, or XML and Snowflake makes it available via SQL without requiring cumbersome transformations, sacrificing flexibility or performance.

Usage based pricing

Pay for what you use, not what you don’t.  This may sound like a given but trust us, it’s not.  With Snowflake you only pay for what you use and with compute and storage de-coupled, you don’t need to over spec the storage to get what you need from the compute, or vice-versa. 

Snowflake is a service and that means zero management

With Snowflake you’re buying a service and that means all that work that used to go into managing your infrastructure is done for you.  You get to focus on making your data work for you, while Snowflake takes care of infrastructure, optimisation, data protection and availability in the background.

HA included

Snowflake replicates your data across multiple data centres and this means that, in the unlikely event of a problem at one site, there’s failover to another, providing the business continuity businesses need and expect.

Great Performance

Snowflake’s columnar database engine uses automatic clustering, removing the need to manually re-cluster data you load new data into a table.  Combined with Snowflake’s advanced optimisations and the ability to scale up and scale down on the go, you get all the performance you need, only when you need it.

Scale is no longer an issue, and we’re not just talking about data

Snowflake allows you to scale data, workloads and users.  Whilst many cloud platforms allow you to scale your data, with Snowflake you can also have as many users as you want without running into performance issues.  That peak time of day when everyone accessed that sales report at the same time?  No longer an issue.

Develop your way

With native connectors for ODBC, JDBC, Python, Spark, R, Javascipt and more, you get to choose what language and what tools you use.

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