Can snowflake handle OLTP workloads?

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Can snowflake handle OLTP workloads?

Alejandro Penzini Answered question May 15, 2023

Snowflake is primarily designed to handle OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) workloads rather than OLTP (Online Transaction Processing) workloads. OLTP workloads typically involve high volumes of small, fast, and frequent transactional operations, such as inserting, updating, and deleting individual records in a database. On the other hand, Snowflake excels in handling large-scale analytics and complex queries for data warehousing and business intelligence applications.

While Snowflake is not optimized for OLTP workloads, it can still support some OLTP-like operations with certain considerations:

Low-volume OLTP operations: Snowflake can handle low-volume transactional operations efficiently, especially when they are not the primary workload. For example, if you need to perform occasional record inserts, updates, or deletes alongside your primary analytical workload, Snowflake can handle those operations reasonably well.

Read-heavy workloads: Snowflake’s architecture is optimized for read-intensive workloads, and it can handle large-scale data retrieval efficiently. If your OLTP-like workload involves mostly read operations with a limited number of writes, Snowflake can handle it effectively.

Use separate database or schema: To isolate OLTP-like operations from your main analytics workload, consider using a separate database or schema specifically dedicated to OLTP-like activities. This can help prevent any potential interference or performance impact on your main analytical workload.

Considerations for concurrent operations: Snowflake is built for concurrent, parallel query processing, which is ideal for analytics workloads. However, if you have concurrent OLTP-like operations, you may need to consider potential contention and resource utilization. Ensure that the concurrency level and resource allocation are appropriately managed to avoid conflicts and optimize performance.

Real-time data ingestion: Snowflake provides options for real-time data ingestion through features like Snowpipe and external tables. These features can be leveraged for near-real-time data updates in Snowflake, enabling some OLTP-like functionality.

In summary, while Snowflake is not specifically designed for OLTP workloads, it can handle certain OLTP-like operations, particularly low-volume transactional operations and read-heavy workloads. However, for high-volume, highly transactional scenarios, a specialized OLTP database system would be a more suitable choice.

Alejandro Penzini Changed status to publish June 30, 2023