UPDATED 08:00 EDT / JUNE 23 2015

snowflake NEWS

Snowflake launches its cloud-based data warehouse into general availability

Half a year after exiting stealth with $26 million in funding to bring the kind of scalability that Hadoop provides for unstructured data to traditional records, Snowflake Computing Inc. is moving forward with the plan and making its cloud-based data warehouse generally available. The launch opens a new competitive front against the legacy systems where organizations store their most important business information.

The traditional data warehouse started its life with a vision to deliver many of the same benefits that has made Hadoop such a dominant force in the analytics world, but reality soon caught up to expectations. Popular options from the likes of Teradata Corp. and Oracle Corp. are notoriously difficult to implement and expensive, two weaknesses that Snowflake uses to its full advantage.

Its newly launched platform does away with the massive amounts of manual work needed to set up a data warehouse on an organization’s private infrastructure and provides a ready-made environment that is not only preconfigured but can also scale by itself. Moreover, Snowflake promises to do so cost-effectively thanks an architecture that decouples computational and storage capacity.

That means an organization with a large amount of data in its warehouse but a limited number of users to support doesn’t need to pay for a proportional amount of processing power, which is also true vice versa. That has the potential to significantly reduce costs compared to the traditional on-premise alternatives that Snowflake is looking to disrupt.

That’s hardly the only competition facing the startup, however. Its service runs on Amazon Inc.s dominant infrastructure-as-a-service platform, which has a native data warehousing option that’s much more competitively priced. But that’s a detail Snowflake is betting CIOs will be willing to overlook to take advantage of its autoscaling functionality, which has proven to the case with Adobe Systems Inc., Condé Nast and the other high-profile customers that have bought into the pitch so far.

Photo via Alexey Kljatov

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