How does data Architecture works in Snowflake ?

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How does data Architecture works in Snowflake ?

Alejandro Penzini Answered question May 17, 2023

Data architecture in Snowflake revolves around the separation of storage and compute, enabling scalable, flexible, and efficient data processing.

Here's an overview of how data architecture works in Snowflake:

Data Storage:

- Snowflake leverages cloud-based object storage, such as Amazon S3 or Azure Blob Storage, as the underlying storage layer.
- Data is stored in micro-partitions, which are small, immutable, and compressed units of data. Each micro-partition contains a columnar representation of the data.
- Micro-partitions are optimized for query performance and allow for efficient data pruning during query execution.
- Snowflake organizes data into tables and databases, providing a structured storage model for data.


- Snowflake's compute layer consists of virtual warehouses, which are clusters of compute resources dedicated to executing queries and processing data.
- Virtual warehouses can be provisioned or scaled up/down independently from the storage layer.
- Queries submitted to Snowflake are automatically routed to the appropriate virtual warehouse for processing.
- Virtual warehouses enable parallel query execution, high concurrency, and scalability based on workload demands.

Query Processing:

- When a query is submitted to Snowflake, the query processing service parses the SQL query, optimizes the query plan, and generates an execution plan.
- Snowflake's query optimizer employs various techniques, such as cost-based optimization and query rewriting, to optimize query execution.
- The query plan is then dispatched to the compute resources in the virtual warehouse for parallel execution.
- Snowflake's query processing service ensures efficient resource utilization, dynamic workload management, and automatic query optimization.

Metadata Management:

- Snowflake's metadata service manages the metadata associated with data objects, such as tables, columns, schemas, and access controls.
- Metadata is stored separately from the data, allowing for independent management and scalability.
- Snowflake's metadata service enables seamless data discovery, metadata-based access controls, and schema management.

Data Sharing and Collaboration:

- Snowflake provides robust features for data sharing and collaboration between different organizations or within an organization.
- Users can securely share data sets, queries, and even entire virtual warehouses with external partners or internal teams.
- Snowflake's data-sharing capabilities facilitate data monetization, collaborative analytics, and data exchange between different entities.

Security and Compliance:

- Snowflake prioritizes security and compliance with features such as encryption, authentication, and fine-grained access controls.
- Snowflake supports role-based access control (RBAC) and allows granular control over data access at the user and object levels.
- Snowflake adheres to various industry standards and regulations, enabling organizations to meet their compliance requirements.

The data architecture in Snowflake offers elastic scalability, efficient query processing, separation of storage and computing, and robust security features. It enables organizations to handle large-scale data workloads, achieve high concurrency, and simplify data management and collaboration.

Alejandro Penzini Changed status to publish June 30, 2023

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