• Snowflake’s annual summit sees a slew of platform, data management, and partnership announcements.
• These enhancements bolster its competitive position, but the market remains crowded
At its annual summit in early June, Snowflake announced several enhancements to its data cloud platform, services, and partnership program. These announcements enhance its competitive position, making it more appealing to a wider range of user roles (such as developers) and industries.
Some announcements relate to better support for developers, with the inclusion of Java and Scala support in the Snowpark framework, which allows developers to build queries in their preferred programming languages and execute them on Snowflake’s cloud. Announcements also included support for user defined functions (UDF) in Java, greater ability to handle unstructured data, and support for SQL APIs.
Customers will also benefit from improved data governance with the introduction of anonymized data views and automatic identification, as well as better protection of personally identifiable data. This makes the platform more compliant with regulations like GDPR and allows the use of the personal data to create insights without exposing private information.
The company also announced some tweaks under the hood. For starters, it has improved storage utilization and enhanced support for real-time interactivity by significantly speeding up queries (with a claimed eight-fold increase in throughput). Another useful feature introduced at the event is a usage dashboard, that allows customers to explore how much they use the platform and the value they get from it.
The Snowflake Summit also saw the launch of the new Powered by Snowflake program, which helps companies build applications better and faster by getting support from Snowflake’s engineers and drawing on its expertise and skills. The launch also included testimonials from some clients who have benefited from the program, including Blackrock (financial services) and Instacart (retail).
Easy access to quality data underpins any analytics project, and Snowflake has tried to address that by growing its Data Marketplace in order to give its customers easy and cheap access to valuable third-party data sources. Snowflake used its summit as an opportunity to highlight the sharp increase in listings on the Marketplace (up 76%), as well as improvements to the market that allow customer to try data before they buy it and introduce a usage pricing scheme.
Snowflake’s cloud data management is very popular with a wide range of clients, however it cannot rest on its laurels. All vendors in this space are aware of the need to realize the (theoretical) potential of analytics, and that dovetails with many of the announcement discussed here, which make it easier for companies to get real business value from their own datasets, and gain easier access to external data. But it is worth noting that some of Snowflake’s key technology partners, namely Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, are also competitors, which means it needs to tread carefully, and handle their competitive responses with care. This is particularly important as Snowflake is trying to emphasize the openness and wide support embedded in their platform.