AWS Redshift vs Snowflake: Which Data Warehouse to Choose

In this AWS Redshift Vs Snowflake comparison post, we will discuss what AWS and Snowflake are, the difference between AWS and Snowflake, and which one is better. Additionally, we will also talk about the below things to help you choose the better one for your organization. 

  • What is AWS Redshift and Snowflake?
  • Snowflake vs. Redshift: An Overview
  • AWS vs. Snowflake: The Differences
  • Snowflake vs. Redshift: Which Is the Best?

Just a few years ago, big data was considered to be a fancy word that was part of the advancement of cloud technology. Today, big data and analytics are a significant force driving practically every virtual organization. 

The amount of data collected by the organizations has grown to a point that it needs data warehouse technology to store, organize, and manage the incoming data. This data needs to be managed by enterprise-level cloud technology. And that’s where data warehouses come in.

Data warehouses leverage all the incoming data to gain business and customer insights. There are many organizations offering data warehousing services, including Snowflake, AWS Redshift, Azure, Bigquery, Oracle, and more

What is AWS & How It Works
What is AWS & How It Works

Since this is an AWS vs. Snowflake comparison, we won’t really be diving into Snowflake vs. AWS vs. Azure, Snowflake vs. Redshift vs. Bigquery, or Snowflake vs. Redshift vs. Oracle. So without further ado, let’s learn about AWS Redshift and Snowflake. 

What Is AWS Redshift and Snowflake?

AWS Redshift and Snowflake are two major data warehousing systems. The two competitors are highly powerful and come loaded with advanced features for efficient data management.

In the Snowflake data warehousing system, the computing and storage are done separately. The cost of storage in Snowflake is the same as the cost of data storage on AWS S3. But AWS’s Redshift Spectrum lets you query data that directly exists on S3, which is not as seamless as Snowflake. 

But that’s not the only deciding factor. There are many differences between the two data management warehouses and only after learning about them can you make the right decision for your business. 

So let’s compare both the services in terms of their costs, features, security, maintenance, and integration. 

AWS Redshift Vs Snowflake: An Overview

1. Snowflake Data Warehouse

Snowflake is a highly powerful cloud warehousing database management service. This service is designed on the model of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). This analytic warehousing service is designed for both structured and semi-structured data

To put it simply, the service is not designed to an already existing database or service. In fact, AWS Snowflake is built on a structured query language (SQL) database engine with an infrastructure that is specially built for the cloud. 

A huge difference between Snowflake and Snowflake’s competitors is that this data warehouse is extremely fast, user-friendly, and flexible. 

2. AWS Redshift Data Warehouse

AWS Redshift, on the other hand, is a fully managed cloud data warehouse that operates on a petabyte scale. Redshift comes as a part of a bigger cloud-computing service offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and lets you leverage data to get business and customer insights. 

You can integrate the AWS Redshift data warehouse with your business intelligence tools (BI) in order to just extract, transform, and load (ETL) the data into the warehouse system so you can begin. 

You can start using the service with some hundred gigabytes of data and scale up or down as you need. To start using Redshift, you will have to work with the Redshift cluster, which is a set of nodes. 

After allocating the cluster, you can start uploading the data sets in order to run the data analysis queries and gain insights to begin making informed business decisions. 

AWS Redshift Vs Snowflake: 7 Key Differences

Although AWS Snowflake and Redshift are quite similar, there are some differences that set them significantly apart. To truly understand the difference, you will have to compare their integrations, pricing, features, security, and other factors. 

Here’s what you should know before making an informed decision for your organization:

1. AWS Redshift Vs Snowflake: Integration and Ecosystem

If your business is already working with AWS, it will be easy for you to integrate your business with the Redshift data warehouse. You can integrate Redshift with a number of AWS services, including Schema Conversion Tools (SCT), Kinesis Data Firehouse, Cloudwatch, SageMaker, EMR, Database Migration Service (DMS), Athena, and others. 

Snowflake also offers on-demand services within the Amazon platform. But Snowflake does not have the same integration functions, which makes Snowflake difficult to integrate with the above-mentioned services such as Athens, Kinesis, Glue, and others. 

However, Snowflake does have some unique integration features such as Apache Spark, IBM Cognos, Informatica, Tableau, Power BI, Qlik, and others. 

Both the warehousing systems have pretty extensive integration features and ecosystem partners. However, in terms of integration and ecosystem, Redshift seems to be more established and seamless for data transition if you are already working with other AWS services.

2. AWS Redshift Vs Snowflake: Security and Maintenance

Although there are many services out there to secure all the data collected, there is still a huge gap between the amount of data that is collected vs. the amount that is made secure.

Therefore, warehousing security is of significant importance because as all the raw data is collected, you will come across various security vulnerabilities for sensitive data. Both Snowflake and Redshift are very diligent about their security. 

In addition to the compliance certificates and the traditional security measures, Redshift offers some extra security features, including sign-in credentials, cluster security groups, SSL connections, access management via identity, cluster encryption, load data encryption, and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). 

Snowflake, on the other hand, offers a set of high-level security features such as IP-controlled site access, controlled object security, user and account authentication with multi-factor authentication (MFA), automatically encrypted data security, and security validations that comply with several laws.

Regarding data maintenance, Redshift does not let you start new data warehouses before you copy the previous data warehouses. So you will be required to keep assessing the same cluster while finding the available resources.

On the other hand, Snowflake’s computation and storage are done differently. This makes it easy to generate new data warehouses of different sizes. So Snowflake wins over Redshift in this regard.

3. AWS Redshift Vs Snowflake: Pricing

Pricing is one of the most significant differences between Snowflake and Redshift. Redshift is very affordable as compared to Snowflake in terms of on-demand pricing.

It also comes with one-year and three-year Reserved Instance (RI) pricing that lets you avail of a subscription and save money. 

Moreover, Redshift also charges on a per hour and per-node basis. Whereas Snowflake charges on the usage pattern and per warehouse basis. 

You may find their pricing model a little confusing as their storage is separate from their computation. So you will have to pay separate charges for data storage and data warehousing.

Additionally, Snowflake also offers “clusters”, which are the seven levels of their computational warehousing. These clusters are operated on a dynamic pricing model that allows flexibility so you can save money by resizing. 

But if you compare the two warehousing services, Redshift is 1.3 times more affordable than Snowflake. You can, however, avail of 30% to 70% discounts for both of these services’ prepaid subscriptions. 

(Redshift Cost Calculations) Per Month = [Pricing Hourly basis] x [Size of Cluster] x [Hours in Month]

4. AWS Redshift Vs Snowflake: Database Features

Both the databases provide wonderful features, so let’s have a look at the features which the databases offer:

RedshiftSnowflake
Fully-Managed DataWarehouse SevicePowerful RDBMS
Less ExpensiveMore Expensive
Server-Side and Client-Side EncryptionAuto Encryption of data
Good With all AWS ServicesFantastic with JSON storage

5. AWS Redshift Vs Snowflake: Performance

It is a known fact that the customers using AWS services will definitely go with Redshift because it will integrate very well with other AWS services which is a plus point in resource management and security as well.

However, it will be challenging to integrate Snowflake with other AWS services even though it works well with Cognos and Tableau, and many more services.

Let’s have a look at the performance of each service at its own place:

FeaturesRedshiftSnowflake
JSON SupportHas Datatype SUPERWorks very well with JSON
ArchitectureSupports Machine learningScales beautifully on the web
MaintenanceManualAutomated
PriceGood for long-term contractsCompute and Storage charges are separate

In terms of performance, both the DataWarehouse services were equally good. Though,

6. AWS Redshift Vs Snowflake: Data support

Let’s look at how these two Data Warehousing services support different data:

RedshiftSnowflake
Data type Super Supports JSON and semi structured dataWorks seamlessly with JSON and semi-structured data
Doesn’t work that well with Parquet, AvroSnowflake works well well with these data types
Supports advanced analytics with PartiQL query languageNo such support from snowflake

7. AWS Redshift Vs Snowflake: Management

Redshift being a service in AWS is a fully managed service that provides a petabyte-scale datawarehouse. It integrates very well with all the AWS services and the management is pretty much easy. IAM is used to control application and user access management.

Snowflake is also a cloud-based service that provides data warehousing solutions like redshift. It is fast, easy, and flexible. Managing the users and access is through roles.

AWS Redshift Vs Snowflake: Pros & Cons

AWS Redshift Pros AWS Redshift Cons
Super Quick due to MPPBad for OLTP
Good support for data visualization toolsNo restriction for duplicate data
Petabyte scale databaseNo UI based querying
No downtimeNot 100% managed, still have to manage the query and queues
Fully managedPoor Logging
Integrates well with all other AWS ServicesCan be expensive depending on data volume
Fantastic table compression techniquesIngesting and updating data takes time
Scalable and fast and ready in minutes
Snowflake Pros Snowflake Cons
Handles large data set efficiently.Not good For Advanced Analytics
Good support for JSON, XML, Parquet, and AvroHigh Prices
Good connectivity from tools like Tableau and JDBC and moreHard to understand the security and roles
Complex queries run fasterNew features release is very delayed
A good interface for writing queriesMore and better integrations
Scales automatically

AWS Redshift Vs Snowflake: Which Is the Best?

If you have to make a choice between AWS Redshift and Snowflake, it will depend on your specific demands for your business, resources, and budget.

But if you are already using other AWS services, AWS Redshift would be more suitable for your business as it offers easier integration.

However, if you need to move your in-house data warehouse into the cloud, you will need speed, and Snowflake will be a great option for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Is Snowflake Better Than Amazon?

For most businesses, Snowflake seems to be better on all fronts as compared to Amazon Redshift and Snowflake competitors.

But in terms of Snowflake vs. Redshift performance, Redshift takes longer for optimizing queries, but it gets faster since these queries are run daily and repeatedly. Snowflake, on the other hand, offers better performance.

Q2: Is Snowflake Cheaper Than AWS?

Snowflake has a more flexible pricing model than AWS Redshift. However, Redshift is 1.3 times more affordable than Snowflake.

Q3: Is Snowflake An AWS Competitor?

Snowflake is considered to be one of the biggest competitors of AWS. AWS offers highly competitive data warehousing solutions to notable customers and companies.

Q4: Why Does Snowflake Use AWS?

Snowflake uses AWS by delivering the Data Cloud on AWS, which is a huge network with thousands of users.

Inside this Data Cloud, many organizations connect their isolated data, discover, safely share the data, and execute various analytic workloads. 

Q5: Who Are Snowflake Competitors?

The most popular Snowflake competitors include Google BigQuery, Azure Synapse Analytics, Amazon Redshift, Druid, IBM Db2, Dremio, Databricks Lakehouse Platform, and Cloudera. 

Also, read below AWS article.

Conclusion

In this article, we learned what AWS Redshift and Snowflake are. We also discussed:

  • What is AWS Redshift and Snowflake?
  • Snowflake vs. Redshift: An Overview
  • AWS Redshift Vs Snowflake: The Differences
  • Snowflake vs. Redshift: Which is the Best?

We hope you can decide which data warehousing service works best for your organization after reading this article.

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