Snowflake Readies Challenge To Cloud Rivals

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Snowflake arrives with its cloud data warehouse answer to established players like Amazon and Hadoop

The cloud has another player in town after a startup called Snowflake Computing announced its online arrival.

The company said its Snowflake Elastic Data Warehouse is the first data warehouse built from the ground up for the cloud.

Cloudy Warehouses

Snowflake joins a somewhat crowded cloud market, with a number of established players such as Amazon, Microsoft, Hadoop all offering rival services.

But the new boy touts the fact that its cloud service “delivers the power of data warehousing, the flexibility of big data platforms and the elasticity of the cloud – at a 90 percent lower cost than on-premises data warehouses.”

Snowflake has some heavyweight databases veterans behind it, who felt that traditional data warehousing never quite lived up to its billing, and needed reinventing. Certainly, critics of data warehousing over the years have often pointed out the complexity and expense associated with enterprise data warehousing.

Snowflake says it has a “patent-pending architecture” that decouples data storage from compute. This, it says, makes its offering better able to “take advantage of the elasticity, scalability and flexibility of the cloud.” It utilises a native relational database with full support for standard SQL.

msftmugliasquare“Data warehousing is a market ripe for innovation,” said industry veteran Bob Muglia, (pictured left) the company’s CEO and former  long-time Microsoft and Juniper Networks executive.

“Today’s solutions are based on architectures that date back almost 30 years,” said Muglia. “While data analytics can transform organisations, the infrastructure requirements are prohibitive. The cloud enables a different approach, but that requires the vision and the technical ability to start from scratch. From day one, Snowflake focused on creating a software service that brings together both transactional and machine-generated data for deeper insight and business understanding. Snowflake has reinvented the data warehouse for everyone.”

The Snowflake Elastic Data Warehouse offers data warehousing now as a beta service for qualified organisations. It supposedly removes the complexity surrounding the management and tuning of a large database, and can independently scale users, data and workloads.

Meanwhile the San Mateo, California-based company also revealed it has received $26m (£16.2m) in funding from venture capital firms including Redpoint Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures and Wing Ventures.

It will need the seed money as it fights established services such as the Redshift data warehousing service from Amazon, and cloud versions of Microsoft and Oracle’s databases. And lets not forget the Hadoop option, with companies such as Cloudera and Hortonworks selling Hadoop variants.

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