Do you need a data warehouse that can handle large amounts of data? Or are you looking for something more user-friendly? In this post, we'll we'll do Snowflake vs Redshift, two of the most popular data warehouses on the market. We'll cover each product's key features. If you're unsure which one is right for your company's need, don't worry - we'll help you to decide.

Table of Contents

Choosing the right data warehouse
What is Snowflake?
    ➤  Snowflake Pros
    ➤  Snowflake Cons
    ➤  When to use Snowflake
What is Amazon Redshift?
    ➤  Redshift Pros
    ➤  Redshift Cons
    ➤  When to use Redshift
Snowflake vs. Redshift: Comparison

Choosing the right data warehouse

Snowflake and Amazon Web Services (AWS) Redshift use a database to analyze and report data. It stores historical data, which can then be used to generate insights and trends. If digital transformation teams plan on using a data warehouse within a cloud environment, they should consider:

  • Volume of data
  • Scalability
  • Maintenance and support by a dedicated staff
  • Security
  • Geolocation of the data
  • Pricing models

Ultimately, the right tools for your business will depend on your specific needs and requirements.

What is Snowflake?

Cloud-based Snowflake has a unique combination of features that make it great for handling various data warehousing tasks. Snowflake is natively built for the cloud, which means it's designed to take advantage of the cloud's high scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.

It also offers several other features that make it an attractive option for data warehousing, including its ability to support semi-structured data, its columnar storage format, and its efficient data compression. Overall, Snowflake is a powerful and scalable option for businesses of all sizes.

Snowflake Pros

  • Snowflake is the perfect fit for any enterprise that operates primarily on cloud services.
  • This solution is easy to use and compatible with most other technologies.
  • The intuitive built-in SQL interface with autocomplete features will help you finish the job quickly.
  • Snowflake provides a cloud-based data warehouse that integrates easily with your existing system.
  • The company has an extensive ecosystem of third-party partners and technologies.
  • True SaaS implementation integrates seamlessly with cloud services, data storage, and query processing.
  • Data storage and computing charges are based on different tiers, with cloud providers charging separately.
  • The enhanced security features of Snowflake make it the perfect choice for any business or organization looking to protect its data.
  • Snowflake enables account-to-account data sharing.
  • It works with Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure seamlessly and efficiently.

Snowflake Cons

  • Snowflake may not be the right fit if you're running an on-premises business that doesn't easily integrate with cloud-based services.
  • You'll use a minute's worth of Snowflake credits whenever you start a virtual warehouse and then charge every second.

When to use Snowflake

Snowflake is the best option for organizations with lighter query loads, which need frequent scaling. It's also built on automation without operational overhead.

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What is AWS Redshift?

Redshift is a data warehouse that is offered as a service by Amazon. It presents many of the same advantages as Snowflake, including handling large amounts of data, scalability, and flexibility.
With this tool, you can query and combine petabytes of data with optimized price-performance without worrying about managing servers or storage.

Redshift Pros

  • The interface of Amazon Redshift is both intuitive and user-friendly.
  • Management of this service is very easy. You must create a cluster, select an instance type and then scale up or down as needed.
  • The system's seamless integration with other AWS services makes it the world's largest cloud ecosystem of capabilities.
  • Amazon Redshift Spectrum is a feature of AWS Redshift that lets a data analyst perform SQL queries on data stored in Amazon S3 buckets. It's a big plus that it can analyze objects in the AWS cloud quickly and in a complex way. But you must make sure that processing and storage can scale independently.
  • This tool is perfect for aggregating and denormalizing data in a reporting environment.
  • It gives you lightning-fast querying, so your data can be analyzed instantly and allow concurrent analysis.
  • The data can be output in multiple formats, including JSON.
  • Developers with an SQL background can leverage PostgreSQL syntax and work with the data seamlessly.
  • On-demand reserved instance pricing that covers both compute power and data storage, per hour and per node.
  • The Amazon compliance program is an extensive and integrated service, and it also enhances the security of customer data.
  • It keeps your data safe with a reliable backup system.

Redshift Cons

  • It's unsuitable for transactional systems due to the need to use two different database services (e.g., RDS/Aurora + Redshift).
  • When waiting for the latest patch from Amazon Web Services, sometimes it's necessary to roll back your Redshift version.
  • The Amazon Redshift Spectrum service charges extra based on the number of scanned bytes.
  • Redshift does not support many common PostgreSQL data types.
  • There can be problems with hanging queries in external tables.
  • You will also need to rely on other means to ensure your data isn't compromised.
  • The system does not enforce uniqueness, so you'll need to use another process for data deduplication.

When to use Redshift

AWS Redshift is best suited when your organization is already using services from this company, and there are heavy query loads on applications that need analytics and structured information in real time.

Snowflake vs Redshift: Comparison

In this passage, we learn some important differences between Redshift and Snowflake's performance, both pros & cons, so the decision between the two tools will depend on your business's specific needs. For example:

  • Bundle: With Redshift, you get everything in one package and can scale up anytime if needed. However, some businesses may prefer Snowflake's two separate compute and storage services (and even more tier options) because they retain all of their features and can scale anytime.
  • JSON: Snowflake provides more robust JSON storage than Redshift, which means that JSON storage and query functions are natively built into Snowflake. Redshift, on the other hand, automatically splits JSON into strings, making it much more difficult to query and use.
  • Security: Redshift's numerous security solutions enable businesses to tailor an encryption solution — but there are many options! Snowflake's security and compliance features are built into its tiered options, making it an easy choice for your business's data strategy.
  • Data tasks: Amazon Redshift requires consistent maintenance. It can't automate certain tasks, such as data vacuuming or compression. It can involve a lot of hands-on maintenance. Snowflake, on the other hand, automates many of these tasks, which can save you a significant amount of time if you ever need to diagnose or resolve an issue.

When deciding which data warehouse to use, it is important that you consider each option's features, performance, and how they give solutions and match up with your organization's needs.
When compared with your data strategy, these features are primary indications of whether the feature offered by Redshift or Snowflake is a benefit or disadvantage for your organization.


So, which data warehouse is right for you? Ultimately, the decision will come down to your specific needs and requirements. If you need a data warehouse that can handle large amounts of data, you may want to consider Snowflake. On the other hand, Redshift is recommended if you are already using other amazon web services. Whatever you decide, we hope we have helped you make an informed decision about which data warehouse is right for your business.

Here at Imaginary Cloud, we have skilled data scientists who can help identify your datasets' full potential and create solutions for your business. Want to use data to get ahead of your competitors? Get in touch!

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