Snowflake Computing Pushes SQL Data Warehouse into the Cloud

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Fresh off of raising another $45 million in capital, Snowflake Computing has announced that its cloud service for building data warehouse applications is now generally available.

Based on a relational database specifically designed to host data warehousing applications in the cloud, Snowflake Computing CTO Benoit Dageville says the SQL-compatible Snowflake Elastic Data Warehouse is designed to support both structured and semi-structured data.

The Snowflake Elastic Data Warehouse, available on the Amazon Web Services cloud, makes use of a proprietary storage system that leverages Javascript Object Notation (JSON) to enable data interchange across the data warehouse.

Rather than struggling with implementations of Hadoop in the cloud to support Big Data applications, Dageville says Snowflake Computing is making a case for using the cloud to reinvent the data warehouse in a way that better preserves existing investments in SQL applications.

At this juncture, it’s pretty clear that most IT organizations are reevaluating their data warehousing options to deal with massive amounts of data. While Hadoop has clearly dominated that technology discussion, many IT organizations are also looking for alternatives that either replace Hadoop altogether or provide a method to extend Hadoop in a way that doesn’t require them to build new applications.

The degree to which those organizations are willing to look for that alternative in the cloud remains to be seen. But at a time when expertise in Hadoop is in short supply, there is a certain appeal to moving to a modern data warehouse that doesn’t require IT to throw out the baby along with the bath water.