What Is the Difference Between Snowflake and Amazon Redshift?
The modern business world is data-centric. As more businesses turn to cloud computing, they must evaluate and choose the right data warehouse to support their digital modernization efforts and business outcomes. Data warehouses can increase the bottom line, improve analytics, enhance the customer experience, and optimize decision-making.
A data warehouse is a large repository of data businesses utilize for deep analytical insights and business intelligence. This data is collected from multiple data sources. A high-performing data warehouse can collect data from different operational databases and apply a uniform format for better analysis and quicker insights.
Two of the most popular data warehouse solutions are Snowflake and Amazon Web Services (AWS) Redshift. Let’s look at how these two data warehouses stack up against one another.
What is Snowflake?
Snowflake is a cloud-based data warehousing solution that uses third-party cloud-compute resources, such as Azure, Google Cloud Platform, or Amazon Web Services (AWS.) It is designed to provide users with a fully managed, cloud-native database solution that can scale up or down as needed for different workloads. Snowflake separates compute from storage: a non-traditional approach to data warehousing. With this method, data remains in a central repository while compute instances are managed, sized, and scaled independently.
Snowflake is a good choice for companies that are conscious about their operational overhead and need to quickly deploy applications into production without worrying about managing hardware or software. It is also the ideal platform to use when query loads are lighter, and the workload requires frequent scaling.
The benefits of Snowflake include:
- Easy integration with most components of data ecosystems
- Minimal operational overhead: companies are not responsible for installing, configuring, or managing the underlying warehouse platform
- Simple setup and use
- Abstracted configuration for storage and compute instances
- Robust and intuitive SQL interface
What is Amazon Redshift?
Amazon Redshift is an enterprise data warehouse built on Amazon Web Services (AWS). It provides organizations with a scalable, secure, and cost-effective way to store and analyze large amounts of data in the cloud. Its cloud-based compute nodes enable businesses to perform large-scale data analysis and storage.
Amazon Redshift is ideal for enterprises that require quick query outputs on large data sets. Additionally, Redshift has several options for efficiently managing its clusters using AWS CLI/Amazon Redshift Console, Amazon Redshift Query API, and AWS Software Development Kit. Redshift is a great solution for companies already using AWS services and running applications with a high query load.
The benefits of Amazon Redshift include:
- Seamless integration with the AWS ecosystem
- Multiple data output formatting support
- Easy console to extract analytics and run queries
- Customizable data and security models
Comparing Data Warehouse Solutions
Snowflake and Amazon Redshift both offer impressive performance capabilities, like scalability across multiple servers and high availability with minimal downtime. There are some differences between the two that will determine which one is the best fit for your business.
Both data warehouse solutions harness massively parallel processing (MPP) and columnar storage, which enables advanced analytics and efficiency on massive jobs. Snowflake boasts a unique architecture that supports structured and semi-structured data. Storage, computing, and cloud services are abstracted to optimize independent performance. Redshift recently unveiled concurrency scaling coupled with machine learning to compete with Snowflake’s concurrency scaling.
Snowflake is a pure SaaS platform that doesn’t require any maintenance. All software and hardware maintenance is handled by Snowflake. Amazon Redshift’s clusters require manual maintenance from the user.
Data and Security Customization
Snowflake supports fewer customization choices in data and security. Snowflake’s security utilizes always-on encryption enforcing strict security checks. Redshift supports data flexibility via partitioning and distribution. Additionally, Redshift allows you to tailor its end-to-end encryption and set up your own identity management system to manage user authentication and authorization.
Both platforms offer on-demand pricing but are packaged differently. Snowflake doesn’t bundle usage and storage in its pricing structure and treats them as separate entities. Redshift bundles the two in its pricing. Snowflake tiers its pricing based on what features you need. Your company can select a tier that best fits your feature needs. Redshift rewards businesses with discounts when they commit to longer-term contracts.
Which data warehouse is best for my business?
To determine the best fit for your business, ask yourself the following questions in these specific areas:
- Do I want to bundle my features? Snowflake splits compute and storage, and its tiered pricing provides more flexibility to your business to purchase only the features you require. Redshift bundles compute and storage to unlock the immediate potential to scale for enterprise data warehouses.
- Do I want a customizable security model? Snowflake grants security and compliance options geared toward each tier, so your company’s level of protection is relevant to your data strategy. Redshift provides fully customizable encryption solutions, so you can build a highly tailored security model.
- Do I need JSON storage? Snowflake’s JSON storage support wins over Redshift’s support. With Snowflake, you can store and query JSON with native functions. With Redshift, JSON is split into strings, making it difficult to query and work with.
- Do I need more automation? Snowflake automates issues like data vacuuming and compression. Redshift requires hands-on maintenance for these sorts of tasks.
A data warehouse is necessary to stay competitive in the modern business world. The two major data warehouse players – Snowflake and Amazon Redshift – are both best-in-class solutions. One product is not superior to the other, so choosing the right one for your business means identifying the one best for your data strategy.
2nd Watch is an AWS Certified Partner and an Elite Snowflake Consulting Partner. We can help you choose the right data warehouse solution for you and support your business regardless of which data warehouse your choose.
We have been recognized by AWS as a Premier Partner since 2012, as well as an audited and approved Managed Service Provider and Data and Analytics Competency partner for our outstanding customer experiences, depth and breadth of our products and services, and our ability to scale to meet customer demand. Our engineers and architects are 100% certified on AWS, holding more than 200 AWS certifications.
Our full team of certified SnowPros has proven expertise to help businesses implement modern data solutions using Snowflake. From creating a simple proof of concept to developing an enterprise data warehouse to customized Snowflake training programs, 2nd Watch will help you to utilize Snowflake’s powerful cloud-based data warehouse for all of your data needs.
Contact 2nd Watch today to help you choose the right data warehouse for your business!