by Adam Armstrong

Snowflake Now Available On Azure

Today Snowflake Computing announced that its data warehouse-as-a-service is immediately available on Microsoft Azure for preview. Up until today, Snowflake’s WaaS only ran on AWS. This expansion allows an entirely new set of customers to take advantage of the benefits of Snowflake’s cloud-built data warehouse. 

Founded in 2012 by Benoit Dageville, Thierry Cruanes, and Marcin Zukowski, Snowflake Computing has had quite a surprising and tremendous rise. The company has a cloud-based data storage and analytics service that does not relay on Hadoop. The company points out that it is the only data warehouse built for the cloud, side stepping some of the trappings of other data warehouse technologies that are struggling to keep up with big data. Snowflake was also able to bypass most of the problems associated with data warehouses; these issues include the cost, complexity, and the inflexibility, which is especially problematic in a world with new technology constantly emerging. The company built its own, new SQL data warehouse (that is calls a complete relational database) that avoids limitations of the past, is designed from the ground up for the cloud (initially built to leverage the technology of Amazon Web Services with the data being stored on S3), and support modern data and modern applications. 

From 2012 to 2014 the company operated in stealth mode while raising over $400 million in venture funding. In 2014 Snowflake hired Bob Muglia (of Microsoft fame) as their new CEO and came out of stealth shortly thereafter. In 2015 the company became generally available and today has over 1,000 customers. Early this year they were put at $1.5 billion by unicorn valuation.

So how does one go from being a start up founded by three guys to four years later having over a 1,000 customers and being worth over a billion dollars? By simply seeing a need and finding a better way to address it for a much lower cost. Snowflake’s architecture is compatible with Oracle, Teradata, Netezza, SQL Server, and Vertica. The company states that its service is completely self managing, provides essentially unlimited data sizes and concurrency, and supports both structured and machine generated, semi-structured data. And it can do all this for as little as $2/hour, yep, just two bucks an hour. 

Benefits include:

  • All of your data – Create a single source of truth to easily store, integrate and extract critical insight from petabytes of structured and semi-structured data (JSON, XML, AVRO).
  • All of your users – Provide access to an architecturally unlimited number of concurrent users and applications without eroding performance.
  • Zero management – Snowflake reduces complexity with built-in performance, so there’s no infrastructure to tweak, no knobs to turn and no tuning required.
  • Complete SQL database – Snowflake supports the tools millions of business users already know how to use today.
  • Pay-per-second pricing – Snowflake’s built-for-the-cloud architecture scales storage separate from compute, up and down, transparently and automatically so you only pay for what you use.
  • Data sharing - Snowflake extends the data warehouse to the Data Sharehouse, with direct, governed and secure data sharing in real time, so enterprises can easily forge one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many data sharing relationships.


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