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Snowflake Vs Microsoft Azure: 6 Major Differences


Introduction

As the user of the internet is increasing day by day, data and information are also increasing in a massive amount. And maintainig the data is becoming the main concern for the data administrators and admins. And choosing the right data handling platform that can manage and control the data at a good speed, in less time, and with efficiency is being challenged. So, for a few years, cloud computing techniques have been providing relief to the data management architecture. In this article, we are going to know all about this new and amazing technology, the reason behind its popularity and more. 

What are Snowflake and Azure technology?

Azure was released on October 27 in 2008. It is commonly known as Microsoft Azure. It is a cloud computing-based technology that provides various cloud computing services and tools like compute, analytics, storage, networking, etc. It is a kind of open source technology whose services are available for all users. The big companies and organizations used the different services of Microsoft Azure to develop and frame new applications or run the previous applications in the public cloud. Microsoft also charges for Azure. You have to pay bills each month if you are using Azure’s resources. The customer needs a subscription to Azure to access all the services including the Azure portal. These Azure’s services can be used to develop cloud-based resources for the organizations and companies like Virtual Machines (VM) and databases. The developers can interact with the services provided by Microsoft Azure with the help of Azure’s API that is built on REST, HTTP, and XML.

Microsoft Azure is based on four different forms of cloud computing:

  1. Infrastructure as a service(IaaS)
  2. Platform as a service(PaaS)
  3. Software as a  service(SaaS)
  4. Serverless

Microsoft Azure includes the following services:

  • Azure computing
  • Azure Networking
  • Azure Storage
  • Azure Analytics
  • Azure Backup
  • Azure Disaster Recovery

Benefits of Microsoft Azure Cloud:

Here are some top business benefits of azure cloud technology:

  • Scalability: Every business needs some change over a certain period. The Azure cloud platform offers organizations to enhance their storage space and computing power on demand. It enables the users to adjust their service agreements based on their requirements to prevent disruption while working.
  • No need for on-site hardware: The organization of the company requires a massive amount of hardware resources for implementing any advanced setup and this eats up the entire budget of the company. But this Azure cloud platform doesn’t need any on-site hardware requirement to store the data in the clouds with high security and at low hardware demand.
  • Cost-effective: Microsoft Azure’s services are based on the pricing structure and the user needs to take a subscription to better utilize its services for their IT organizations. But it is reliable as well for managing the IT budget and highly effective for the decreasing cost of infrastructure, high budget burden on the organization and taking the exact features of the cloud as they require. It is very cost-effective comparatively.
  • Availability: Microsoft Azure offers a service level agreement of 99.95% availability. And unlike other cloud service providers, it offers high availability and redundancy across 140 countries. Because of its high availability, the big companies prefer Azure technology to keep its data safe and use its unique features anytime from anywhere.
  • Cyber-security: The security of the data is the main concern of companies and any organizations. The Microsoft Azure cloud platform offers world-class cyber-security from online threats, attacks, thefts, DDoS attacks, network breaches, etc. it has a multi-layered security model and all the data stored in the cloud is protected with an advanced encryption process and with the two-tier authentication process.

Some disadvantages of Azure:

  • Need Management: Azure needs a high level of management to make it effective and work efficiently. Also, it does not offer you to manage the cloud-based datacenter so you need to do the management on the ground level which includes monitoring, patching, etc. Although you don’t need to spend the budget on its hardware requirement, you need someone to manage the Azure to make it work effectively.
  • Speed Issue: If your organization or company belongs to the US, India, Japan, or China then, you can get the better speed of Azure but if your company is established in somewhere South America, you have to face the speed problem of it. Azure offers its availability across 140 countries and 54 regions worldwide, which is why the users have to face the speed problem of Azure. 

What is Snowflake?

The Snowflake technology was released on 23 July 2012. Snowflake is built on Microsoft Azure infrastructure. It provides a platform for data warehousing and a secure sharing of data. The snowflakes enable the data storage, processing, and analyzing solution in a very flexible and efficient manner. The data can be moved efficiently into the Snowflake by using an ETL solution like Stitch, even though it does not require any hardware and software to install, configure or manage the data, updating, installation in any organization. Snowflake is powered by different cloud services by using ANSI SQL. It also offers security and encryption for the existing data. The user can analyze their data by sending requests to the snowflake.

The architecture of the Snowflake consist of three main key layers:

  1. Database Storage
  2. Query Processing
  3. Cloud Services

Some advantages of Snowflakes:

  • Easy Implementation Snowflake is based on SaaS architecture so the implementation of it is quite easy and quick. It does not need massive hardware and software resources which leads to the work done very efficiently without affecting the ongoing operations in the company and the organization. It simplifies the implementation process.
  • Low Cost: Since Snowflake does not require the hardware and software resources comparatively, the cost of implementation and maintenance is reduced to some extent and offers relief in the company or organization’s budget. The Snowflake allows the use of data storage unlimited at an affordable price. It offers multiple billing offers to the user with a minimum usage of 60 seconds. 
  • Data Sharing Capability: The Snowflakes offers advanced data sharing capability among the users like it supports data sharing using the reader account with the external parties. It can streamline data processing which is very beneficial for big organizations.
  • Access and Security: The Snowflake is specifically designed for the secure storage of data in the clouds. It offers advanced security of the data with high availability across all regions. The accessing of data from the clouds is also very simple without any complex process and time taking issues.

Some disadvantages of Snowflakes:

  • Bulk data load: It can be challenging for the companies to migrate the data to snowflake because it provides Snowpipe for continuous loading of data, although this is good but not in every case.
  • Unstructured Data Support: Currently Snowflakes is supporting structured and semi-structured data but now most of the large and famous companies are expecting unstructured data support which can enhance the features, capability, and flexibility of the company and the cloud computing platforms.
  • Limited working tools: The Snowflakes can work on only a few cloud tools AWS, Azure, and Google cloud which makes its work limited and reduces its flexibility as well as its availability at cloud platforms in the IT environment.

6 Major differences between Azure and Snowflake:

Since both Azure and Snowflake are based on cloud platforms so the question arises what is the difference between them? So here is your answer.

  1. The Azure and Microsoft Snowflake are different in architecture. The azure architecture is mostly based on MPP (Massively Parallel Processing) and Snowflake architecture is MPP hybrid. 
  2. The Azure technology supports the XML but the Snowflake technology does not support XML.
  3. The APIs of Azure architecture .net, JDBC, ODBC but the APIs of Snowflakes architecture are CLI, JDBC, and ODBC.
  4. Snowflake is based on the SaaS (Software as a service) platform which runs on top of Azure and Google cloud. Whereas the Azure technology is a Paas (Platform as a service) that comes with a free workspace environment.
  5. Both of them are also different by computer resources approach. Both platforms enable the user to create SQL databases for data warehousing but the Snowflake SQL database is completely decoupled from the computer resources which use SQL databases. Whereas the Azure technology requires a separate SQL pool to develop an SQL database for the warehousing.
  6. Azure and Snowflake differ in Scalability. The Snowflake allows the users to separate their workload and run them parallelly in the shared data layer. Whereas Azure provides two services that are SQL pool and serverless SQL options. 

There are good documentations and online trainings to learn Snowflake, checkout them.

Conclusion

Snowflake and Azure, are cloud computing-based technology with amazing features and advantages that’s why it is becoming a buzz in the IT industry. The use of Snowflakes and Azure are improving day by day and even most IT engineers are very curious to learn this technology and switch their career towards these technologies. Implementation of these advanced cloud computing platforms can maximize the working rate, business speed and reduce the risk of online attacks and threats on sensitive stored data.

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Korra Shailaja working as a content contributor at MindMajix. She is a tech enthusiast and have a great understanding of today's technology. She is an expert in writing content on demanding technologies such as Snowflake, Azure, Salesforce tutorial, Cybersecurity tutorial, Software Testing, QA, Data analytics, Project Management, ERP tools, etc.

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