Snowflake shifts gears, from the data warehouse to the cloud application

Cloud-based data warehouse company Snowflake is circulating gears. Launched in 2014 with a focus on disrupting the traditional data warehouse market and big-data analytics, the company turned its attention to application development.

At the annual Snowflake Summit on Tuesday, the company announced its Native Application Framework, which offers the ability to build and run applications within its Data Cloud platform.

The application framework, which is currently in private preview, allows developers to build applications and monetize them in Snowflake’s Data Marketplace, said Chris Child, senior director of product development at Snowflake. Users of these applications can install and run them directly within their Snowflake instances, he added.

“We’re sort of evolving from a data warehouse to a data platform to a data cloud. And now we want to evolve that from the data cloud to the application cloud,” said Chris Child, senior director of product development at Snowflake .

About four years ago, with the growing demand for analytics and the evolution of analytics-related architecture — such as the separation of compute and storage — the company doubled its focus on facilitating data collaboration within company. That led to Snowflake to re-recast its data warehouse, which became its Data Cloud platform in 2019.

Ongoing attempts to facilitate data sharing and collaboration have resulted in the company’s Data Marketplace. The marketplace enables data sharing within organizations, and also allows them to give other companies access to that data, charging them for use.

In March this year, the company launched two industry-specific data clouds, for the healthcare and retail sectors, with the goal of facilitating the way companies in those areas can share and monetize data. data set.

Build, run and monetize apps within Snowflake

Now, the rationale behind launching the Native Application Framework reduces the time and effort needed to transfer data when creating and running applications, says Tony Baer, ​​principal analyst at dbInsights.

It also means developers can build and run apps under the standard Snowflake runtime, security, and management umbrella, Baer added.

In addition to offering Snowflake functionality such as stored procedures, user-defined functions (UDFs) and user-defined table functions (UDTFs) for developers, Snowflake will add integration with the Streamlit open source app framework. The integration is intended to help build interactive customer interfaces, as well as telemetry features such as event tracking and alerts for troubleshooting.

These features, according to Child, are still under development.

Python-based Streamlit — aimed at machine learning and data science engineering teams, to help visualize, mutate and share data — was acquired by Snowflake in March.

Native Application Framework already has users

Several companies, including Capital One, LiveRamp and Informatica, have already used the Native Application Framework to develop applications, Snowflake said.

While Capital One’s solution, called Slingshot, offers data management, LiveRamp and Informatica have developed applications for cloud cost management, identity resolution and data integration.

Snowflake Google Analytics and ServiceNow Connectors, both in private preview, were also built using the Native Application Framework, Child said, adding that the Service Now Connector helps speed up service desk ticket answering.

The revenue sharing agreement for applications distributed through the marketplace is at 10% of the transaction value.

“As the dollar numbers grow, we need to have some kind of quasi -grading scale. So, right now it’s starting at 10%, which we’ve also started with data sharing. And we’re going to build it based on use cases over weather, ”said Christian Kleinerman, senior vice president of product at Snowflake.

Unistore aims to combine analytical, transactional workloads

As organizations look to reduce the time required for application development, there is a need to solve the challenge of siled transactional and analytical data, which in turn creates complexities when data needs to be transferred between systems.

Targeting this particular issue, Snowflake also introduced on Tuesday a new product that combines analytical and transactional workloads.

Called Unistore, and currently in private preview, the system is designed to allow development teams to expand the Data Cloud to include transactional use cases such as application-state and data transmission, the company says.

To help Unistore build transactional applications, Snowflake is introducing a new capability called Hybrid Tables, which is also in private preview.

Hybrid Tables offers fast single-row operation and allows customers to build transactional business applications directly with Snowflake, the company said, adding that the new tool will allow also allows customers to perform analytics on transactional data for immediate context, and join Hybrid Tables to existing Snowflake Tables for a holistic view of all data.

Adobe was one of the first to adopt Unistore, Kleinerman said, adding that the company uses a private preview of Hybrid Tables for its Adobe Campaigns application.

Snowflake emphasized transaction processing

The strategy behind integrating more analytical workloads into the Snowflake Data Cloud, according to Baer, ​​is to solidify its position as the preferred destination platform for transaction processing use cases, embedding of operational analytics, and not to compete with MySQL, Oracle, or SQL Server for pure OLTP (online transaction processing) applications.

“From that perspective, this is the mirror image of MongoDB, which is slowly adding analytics to its operational database. The goal is the same, but the same players are coming here from different startups. point, ”Baer said.

The other difference, according to Baer, ​​is that Snowflake is more inclusive of the ability to embed operational analytics in transactions compared to MongoDB, where so far the process is still more primitive.

Launching the application framework with Unistore will drive Snowflake’s Data Marketplace strategy, Doug Henschen, chief analyst, Constellation Research, said.

“This is a bold announcement where Snowflake is bidding for customers to bring more transactional data into applications to run a wider range of Snowflake applications while taking advantage of the Snowflake Data Marketplace to monetize those applications, ”Henschen said.

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