With the turn of the century, the total volume of data and the speed at which it has been rising, show a consistent upward trend. In such a case, it becomes imperatively essential for organizations to efficiently tackle big data and its associated issues. One thing that comes as a rescue in these scenarios is the efficient adoption of a cloud based model for enhanced performance, scalability and overall flexibility. In recent times, Snowflake Data Warehouse has been gaining immense popularity, owing to its extended features and efficient results in data management.

In our blog today, we will have a brief look at this warehouse architecture, features, pricing and more.

What is Snowflake Data Warehouse?

Snowflake is a SaaS-based data warehouse platform. It runs over MS Azure or an AWS cloud infrastructure. What’s different in this warehouse solution is that it uses an ANSI-compliant SQL engine that is so designed as to work entirely on the cloud. It supports many workloads being a single platform, such as data engineering, data applications, data sharing, data science and more.

Also, the Snowflake stands apart from other warehouses in its architecture and data sharing capabilities, which we will see in the sections below.

Snowflake Architecture: The USP

The architecture of Snowflake is a hybrid of shared-disk and shared-nothing type. It consists of a central repository that has data and compute nodes that access the base disk storage.

Under the Snowflake architecture, organizations get increased flexibility with big data. It has decoupled the compute and storage functions. So, what does this mean for the firms? Well, it eliminates the need for organizations to pay both for high storage needs with lesser CPU cycles or vice versa. So, organizations can benefit from paying only for those resources that they need to use. They get billed as per the total terabytes stored in a month and the computation is billed according to a per-second basis.

The architecture of Snowflake is basically made of three layers : storage, compute and services. Each of these layers is independently scalable.

Database Storage Layer

This layer is responsible for holding all the data loaded onto Snowflake, be it structured or semistructured. Snowflake takes care of all the aspects of data storage including its organization, sizing, structure, statistics, metadata and more.

Compute Layer

This layer consists of multiple virtual warehouses that undertake data processing tasks for queries. Each of the warehouses have access to all the data in the storage layer and hence, do not compete with each other for compute resources. This ensures there is undisturbed automatic scaling.

Cloud Services Layer

This layer  uses ANSI SQL and is responsible for coordinating the entire system. This layers totally eliminates any need for manual data warehouse management. Main components in this layer include authentication, infrastructure and metadata management, access control and query parsing.

Snowflake Data Warehouse benefits for businesses

Snowflakes has revolutionized the way hardware-based data warehouses used to work and eliminates their disadvantages like limited scalability and delays etc. It benefits your business in the following ways.

  1. Performance and Speed: Being an elastic platform, it allows you to load data faster and run a high volume of queries efficiently, thanks to the extra compute resources. What’s even better is, once you are done with the period of high data need, you can scale down and only pay for the time you used the platform.
  2. Data sharing made seamless:  The architecture facilitates data sharing among other users. It also makes way for firms to share data with any data consumer, irrespective of whether they are a Snowflake customer or it.
  3. Storage and support for all kinds of data: Using Snowflake, you can mix both structured and semistructured data for analysis and put them on cloud database, without having to convert or transform any data.
  4. Highly secure warehouse: Snowflake is SOC 2 Type II certified and comes with extra security levels like encryption across all network communications. This ensures all your critical and confidential data is safe from any breaches whatsoever.


The pricing for Snowflake data warehouse basically depends on the volume of data that you store on the cloud and the computing time you use. Hence, you do not need to pay for both, all the time! It gives you the option to turn compute resources on and off so that you only have to pay for your use time. There are four packages available, namely, standard, enterprise, business critical and Virtual private snowflake (VPS), which are curated to suit different needs of differently-sized enterprises. You can check out the entire pricing here. (https://www.snowflake.com/pricing/)

If there are any queries regarding Snowflake data warehouse or other warehouses and you would like to speak to our consultants, you can get in touch with us today!