The first snowflake summit finally happened from June 3rd to 6th and lived up to the expectation of many people who were interested in the summit. The four days summit had more than two thousand attendees, one hundred and twenty presentations across seven tracks, seven keynote presentations, more than thirty hands-on labs, more than thirty-five theatre sessions, and more than thirty countries represented by the attendees.

A quick recap of the summit…

Day 1

The first day of the summit majorly involved attendees of the summit undertaking an essential snowflake training which ended with the trainees taking an exam. This was a smooth and exciting experience as people were placed in rooms where they had their background scripts and environments with snowflake representatives ready to help anyone out. The exam was made of two parts, the first part was made of multiple choices relating to the training done, and the second part was done upon passing the first part, which was practical. The practical involved creating a user, a database, and a table that loaded from a Google spreadsheet, and executing various transformations that would load in the final table.

Day 2

The significant aspects of the day involved making important announcements about new snowflake features. The features included snowflake being available on Google cloud, external tables, snowflake organizations, data replication, data exchange, and data pipeline. The significant announcements are explained below:

  •      Snowflake announced that it would be available on the Google platform for 2020. This would ensure that organizations using snowflake get seamless and secure data integration across various platforms, thus enabling them to choose the right vendor for their business. It will also be easy for customers to utilize Google’s ecosystem of applications. Customers also can use the Google cloud platform and manage applications across multiple clouds.
  •      Snowflake also introduced new data pipeline features that allow customers to query data directly from their data lake on Azure Blob Storage or AWS S3 which enables them to maintain the data lake as the single source of truth.
  •      Snowflake’s data exchange is currently available for viewing privately with public viewing being set for later in the year. The data exchange is free to join marketplace for enabling users to connect with data providers for seamlessly discovering assessing and generating insights from the user’s data.

Day 3

The keynotes on the third day started with Alison Levine, who is the author of “on edge,” giving an informative talk on leadership. The founders of snowflake Benoît Dageville, who is the current president of products, and Thierry Cruanes, who is the current CTO, also gave a talk on the reason for starting snowflake. They did this by referencing their vision of; “Simply load and query data”. The day ended with Kevin O’Brien of and Julie Dodd of Parkinson’s UK showing how data could be used to make the world a better place.

Day 4

The last day of the summit saw Matthew Glickman, the Snowflake VP of Customer and Product Strategy, giving a closing keynote on some of its customer’s journey to be data-driven. Some of the customer representatives invited on stage included Brian Dumman, Chief Data and Analytics Officer, McKesson, Yaniv Bar-Dayan, Cofounder and CEO, Vulcan Cyber, and Michal Klos, Senior Director of Engineering, Indigo/Localytics. By the end of the summit, it was clear that the future of data had arrived with snowflake having the capability of providing trusted data solutions to its customers.

The 2020 summit will be better

The 2020 summit will be held on June 1st to 4th at the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas, which is a bigger venue. Considering the success of the snowflake 2019 summit, the 2020 summit will be more significant and will have more activities. I honestly can’t wait for it.

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Not On The High Street: Improving customer experience with Snowflake

Not On The High Street: Improving customer experience with Snowflake

Companies like are taking their customers’ experience to the next level, with an online marketplace delivering unique products and services in a singularly convenient way. Without speedy data delivery though, as attested to by their Director of Data in this video, this marketplace just wouldn’t keep their customers coming back for more. Their countless partners benefit from this as well, but Continue reading

Strava: Data Sharing with Snowflake

Strava: Data Sharing with Snowflake

Data companies like Strava are really vertical pioneers, as they’ve created a veritable social network for athletes to upload, track, and compete with other athletes worldwide. As attested to by their data engineer in this video, without data, Strava wouldn’t exist, and the more people find they have access to it, the more they hunger for it. Yet as they grew, this imposed significant delays in the time it took for users to query their data, so beyond the data sharing features Snowflake uniquely provides, there were multiple benefits Strava encountered by using Snowflake. Continue reading

SpringServe: Data Sharing with Snowflake

SpringServe: Data Sharing with Snowflake

If ever there was an industry to discover huge benefits from Snowflake’s Data Sharing technology, it’s Advertising!

SpringServe delivers ads, in video format, with a reputation for providing immediate reporting on ad performance. They serve hundreds of thousands of ad requests per second, and as their collaborations and partnerships grew, so did the number of Continue reading

Localytics: Data Sharing with Snowflake

Localytics: Data Sharing with Snowflake

Localytics provides market engagement analysis services to makers of apps far and wide. Being a data company, and given the prevalence of mobile apps today, plus with how many clients were making use of their SDK, the scale of their data requirements climbed into the Petabytes. The costs for this level of data, using their legacy data warehousing system, shot into territory that just no longer made sense for them as a business (to say nothing for an ever growing latency issue as well). Continue reading

Playfab: Data Sharing with Snowflake

Playfab: Data Sharing with Snowflake

Here’s a great example of how Playfab, an online back-end service for game developers, leverages Snowflake’s Data Sharing functionality. Video games are increasingly delivered as part of an online service, and so game developers, now more than ever, are in need of one, secure space from which to host all their assets, tools, and data (both outbound, and from their players)! Continue reading

The Power of Instantaneous Data Sharing

The Power of Instantaneous Data Sharing – Updated

How awesome would it be to be able to share data more quickly instead of exporting it to some format like Excel and then emailing it out? I’m always looking for new ways to make sharing data faster and more easy. When I think back the past 20-30 years in tech I think of all sorts of data sharing tools and evolution of data. Do you remember VSAM files? Lotus Notes? SharePoint? Dropbox?

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Frank Bell
July 27, 2018

(Continued… from

Over the past 20-30 years there have been tons and tons of investments made in BOTH people and technology in order to share data more effectively and quickly. We currently have millions of data analysts, data scientists, data engineers, data this and data that all over the world. Data is growing and growing and a huge part of our economy and our growth as a society. At the same time though the tools to share it never really were maturing that much until recently with Snowflake’s Data Sharing Functionality.

Before I explain how transformative this new “data sharing” or “logical data access” functionality is let’s take a step back and explain how “data sharing” worked before this.

Brief Tech History of Data Sharing. Here are some of the old and semi-new tools:

Good old fashioned physical media. (floppy disks, 3.5 inch disks, hard drives, USB drives, etc.)

Email. Probably still the best for smaller amounts of data and files. I’ve done it too. I need some super fast way to move a excel file with data from 1 computer to another fast. Email to the rescue.

SFTP/FTP. Secure File Transfer Protocol. File Transfer Protocol.

EDI (yuck) – Electronic Data Interchange – The business side of me has hives just thinking about expensive and crappy of a business solution this is. Companies spent millions creating EDI exchanges. The is a cumbersome and expensive process but at the time it was the accepted way to exchange data.

SCP. Secure Copy Protocol. Great command line tool for technical users.

APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). While APIs have been amazing and come a long way there still is technical friction with sharing data through them.

Dropbox, etc. Dropbox revolutionized the ease of sharing files mainly. It’s still not really great for true data sharing.

Airdrop type functionality.

Let’s face it though, most of these are primitive and have a lot of friction especially for non-technical users. Even when they are slick like Airdrop they typically don’t work across platforms and are often limited in data sizes and to discrete files. All of these solutions above have a lot of limitations when you think of the friction to get quality “data” and “information” for analysis and use from one place to another its still relatively painful.

Enter Snowflake’s data sharing. With Snowflake they have created a concept of “data sharing” through a “data share” which makes larger structured and unstructured data sharing a lot easier and one of the biggest improvements is there is only ONE SOURCE OF DATA. Let me say it again, yes, that’s ONE SOURCE OF DATA. This isn’t your typical copying of data which creates all sorts of problems with data integrity and data governance. It’s the same consistent data shared throughout your departments, organizations, or with customers.

The main point here is that there is true power in effective and fast data sharing. If you can make decisions faster than your competitors or you can help out your constituents with faster service than it makes your organization much better overall.

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Also, it’s just easy to do. With a very simple command you can share data to any other snowflake account. The only real catch is you do need a Snowflake account but this account you are only charged for what you use. For example, if you have a personal account that you don’t use very often then you are not charged anything per month except $40/TB of storage but if you don’t store anything you are not charged for that either and then the only charge would be compute (queries of someone else’s data share) which would be pretty inexpensive. For organizations with Big Data this cost is very reasonable compared to all the legacy solutions that were required in the past that are slower, more cumbersome, and more expensive.

What challenges does this solve today?

Cross Enterprise Sharing. (Let’s say you need to compare how different brands across websites are performing? Or you need to compare financials. You can easily share this data now with integrity across the enterprise and rollup and integrate different business units data as necessary.

Partner/Extranet Type Data Sharing. You can share data with much more speed and integrity with your partners with much less complexity than APIs require.

Data Provider Sharing. Data Providers that need to share data can reduce costs and friction by more easily sharing their data at the row level to different customers.

As things get more and more complex. (I mean is there really any corporation saving less data this year than last?) then we need to challenge ourselves to make things more simple. That is what Snowflake has done. I encourage you to take a look for yourself and try it out for free. We will be sending out some Data Sharing examples as well in the next few weeks so stay tuned.

Also, if you don’t believe me then look at all the reference case studies coming out in the last few months. Data Sharing has the power to transform companies, partners, and industries. Make sure you at least investigate it to make sure you are not left behind.

Here is a Data Sharing for Dummies Video for more information on the technology.

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Reference Case Studies: