How Snowflake Pricing Works

Usage Based Pricing in the cloud in some ways is incredibly awesome.  For those of us who lived through the days of scaling Data Centers and waiting for hardware it still is pretty mind blowing.  When I first came across Snowflake at the beginning of 2018 I was amazed at how reasonable the cost was for any type of business, big or small.

The fact that we could even start an account off with 400 credits for 30 days for a Proof of Concept (POC) was just amazing to me.  Prior to this, when working with analytical databases that could scale like Exadata, Teradata, and Netezza our consulting company hesitated to introduce these more expensive solutions to our consulting clients which were small or medium size businesses because these solutions were out of their pricing comfort zone.

Snowflake Pricing Details – Basic

For those of you who are new to Snowflake, let’s start with Snowflake consumption pricing basics.  Snowflake overall is usage or consumption based pricing.  This means you ONLY pay for what you use.  Technically, you could actually setup a free Snowflake Trial Account and never pay anything because you never used any of the services that have a cost.  This is really awesome.

At the same time, as soon as your Snowflake Account is provisioned, you the administrator or person with their credit card associated with the account have extreme cost risk by default.  Our best practice is to ALWAYS enable Snowflake Cost Optimization with Snoptimizer immediately after provisioning a Snowflake Account.  If you decide against that then at the very least you should limit access or setup standard Snowflake Cost Minimization Guardrails and Snowflake Cost Optimization and Cost Minimization Best Practices.

Snowflake Compute Pricing – Basics

For most Snowflake Accounts, Snowflake Compute or the Snowflake Warehouses (which are virtual compute engines) is where 90% or more of your costs are.  The other four cost areas of Storage Costs, Cloud Computing Costs, Cloud Services Costs, and Data Transfer costs are typically easily 10% or less of the Snowflake SaaS costs per month.  Often the others can even be 1% or less unless you have certain use cases or end up mistakenly using Snowflake Cost Anti-patterns.

Snowflake Pricing Details – Advanced

For those of you who are more Snowflake savvy and already know the basics then let’s cover more advanced Snowflake pricing details.

Snowflake Compute Pricing – Advanced

*The prices stated above were standard prices taken from Snowflake’s pricing pages and pdf.  If you are a capacity customer with Snowflake I’m sure your Snowflake sales representative (also named Major Account Executive, Account Director, or Sales Director, etc.) will have worked with you to commit to some type of term of 1 to 3 years in their form of a Capacity Contract Customer.  The pricing typically varies dependent upon your spend and your commitment length pretty much like any SaaS vendor.

Over the last 3 years my teams and I have analyzed over 100 Snowflake accounts and about 95% of them were not fully optimized for both Cloud data costs and Cloud cost risk minimization.  This is why my team and I are so excited to have created Snoptimizer (the first AUTOMATED Snowflake Cost Optimization Service) – Easily optimize your Snowflake Data Cloud Account here in a few hours.

I think the reason why 90% of those accounts didn’t have resource monitors or regular optimizations in place was initially Snowflake is incredibly cost effective and typically had massive savings savings especially from on-prem migrations that we have done.  Companies though that do not optimize their Data Cloud Costs are missing out big time! This is why we designed Snoptimizer and I’m also SHARING my top 9 Snowflake Cost and Risk Optimizations below.

One of the first things that Snoptimizer does is automate daily Resource Monitors at a warehouse level based on all the Snowflake Metadata Database past history and Warehouses and Resource Monitor settings. This gets set almost immediately after you purchase Snoptimizer. BOOM. This has both huge cost risk reduction limits and guardrails for all of your warehouse compute.

See cost optimization best practices and automation code at Snowflake Solutions.


I hope the Snowflake Basic and Advanced Pricing information above is useful to you on your Snowflake Journey.  For me, finding out that Snowflake consumption based pricing was so reasonable was game changing for both myself and my consulting company.  Prior to Snowflake, we couldn’t really provide compute scale with enough speed to many of the largest big analytical challenges and solutions our clients needed.  I remember building predictive marketing tools and we often had to crunch large data sets and we would often run into scaling challenges and have to spend tons of time and engineering effort to engineer for scale.

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