What is the Snowflake Data Cloud?

What is the Snowflake Data Cloud is sort of a loaded question for long-time Snowflake Professionals like a large chunk of our Snowflake Solutions Community.  From a Snowflake Veteran user standpoint, [let’s assume that is anyone deeply working on Snowflake since the Fall of 2019 or before] this is a massive re-branding.   Many of us view the Snowflake Data Cloud as a way to strategically evolve Snowflake to take on more database processing workloads.  Before this, most Snowflake customers mainly of Snowflake as an Analytical RDBMS that was for a Data Warehousing use case.

My take is that Frank and many other strategic thinkers needed to evolve Snowflake to a larger strategic analytical data solution before Snowflake was ready for its IPO in the fall of 2020.  Therefore, while many of the pieces were already there, the terminology of the Snowflake Data Cloud was born on June 2, 2020, at the virtual summit and this announcement.  https://www.snowflake.com/news/snowflake-unveils-the-data-cloud-so-organizations-can-connect-collaborate-and-deliver-value-with-data/

Let’s step forward to 2021.

What the Snowflake Data Cloud is now in 2021.

The Snowflake Data Cloud overall is a vision of Snowflake taking on the following six major data workloads and use cases:

This is the statement they make back in the press release:
“unveiled the Data Cloud – an ecosystem where thousands of Snowflake customers, partners, data providers, and data service providers can break down data silos, derive insights, and deliver value from rapidly growing data sets in secure, governed, compliant, and seamless ways. Snowflake also announced new product features for the Snowflake Cloud Data platform – the technology that unites this data ecosystem and powers the Data Cloud.”

At a high level, this is pretty awesome “theoretically” and aligns with a lot of the thought leadership work I’m doing around moving from a paradigm of on-premise closed data systems and silos to an ever-evolving worldwide concept of integrated data.

Let’s keep this article focused on the tangible aspects of the Snowflake Cloud Data platform or whether is it the Snowflake Data Cloud Platform.  I am using them interchangeably.  Let’s cover these six major data use cases that the Snowflake Data Cloud Platform is positioning itself to handle.

The Snowflake Data Cloud Six Major Workloads:

Data Workload 1 – Data Warehousing

I think initially Benoit/Thierry mainly focused on this workload or use case first and foremost.  I still think this is Snowflake’s best use case and it’s still the best cloud data warehouse in my opinion in 2021.  [and believe it or not, I’m trying to be non-biased]. As someone, who hands-on built many data warehouses on many platforms, Snowflake does this well.

Data Workload 2 – Data Engineering

Data Engineering is a good workload for Snowflake.

Data Workload 3 – Data Lake

I’m going to hold off on our analysis of Snowflake as a Data Lake.  I have been supporting what I dubbed as SnowLake for a long time – probably back to the end of 2018 or so.  That being said we are in a midst of doing a head-to-head study of possible data lake solutions out there.

Data Workload 4 – Data Science

Data Science is a new workload area for Snowflake.  They have released SnowPark as their Go To Market solution for Data Science Workloads but it’s still pretty brand new and hasn’t fully ported over Python language into it yet so it’s still pretty early.

Data Workload 5 – Data Applications

This is an interesting workload for Snowflake.  They have been doing parts of this workload for a long time.  Data Applications though to me is such a wide field that I still think a lot of the subsets of this would need to be done on an OLTP-type database.

Data Workload 6 – Data Exchange

If you couldn’t tell before, this is probably my favorite upcoming workload and use case.  This is another workload where I think Snowflake shines and currently is in a significant lead against all competitors.

At Snowflake Solutions, we have been involved in collaborating with Snowflake on Data Sharing, Data Exchange, and Data Marketplace solutions since the beginning of 2018.   We have been tracking the growth of the Snowflake Marketplace itself since July 2020, the month after it launched.

Besides an overall Snowflake Data Cloud Platform, I think Snowflake customers often equate the Data Cloud concept with the overall Data Sharing, Data Exchanges, and Data Marketplace put together.


The Snowflake Data Cloud is gaining traction in the marketplace.  We have first-hand seen the rapid growth of the Data Marketplace and Data Sharing aspects of the cloud.  It still has a long way to go to own and dominate these six major data workloads.  Overall, the data cloud itself is an interesting strategy and has some compelling value if you are part of the Snowflake camp and partnerships.  Probably the most significant market confirmation of this vision is the announcement of the Aladdin Data Cloud.  [fyi.  I’m the small guy that spend $ and lots of effort and time with meetings, education, etc…… helping on this from 2018-2021 but saw no upside from our original snowflake education and evangelism.  Oh well, you win some and you get your partner hosed on some.  That is life.

We hope you enjoyed the article and it helped you understand our perspective on the Snowflake Data Cloud and what it is.

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