Going into Snowflake Summit 2022, I was excited to spend time with our customers and partners, and excited to be able to share some of the innovations we’ve been working on. And I was not disappointed! It felt great to experience the energy that only an in-person event can deliver. I relished talking to customers about how our products can help them meet and even surpass their business goals. For me, the most valuable part of it was hearing customer and partner reactions to the product announcements at the conference.
Here are four things Summit attendees said were the most exciting of Snowflake’s latest offerings:
1. Saving time and resources with new data capabilities
One of the announcements celebrated the most was the launch of Snowpark for Python, now in public preview. I also heard lots of excitement about both streaming ingestion through the new Snowpipe Streaming and streaming pipelines with the introduction of Materialized Tables. These new capabilities showcase our product philosophy of delivering value with a great focus on simplicity for customers and partners. The declarative model is great—they can just tell us what the transformation is, and we can take care of all the details. They’re looking forward to lower data latency, more real-time capabilities, and faster decision-making.
Pretty much everyone I talked to was also very curious about Unistore, a new workload that enables users to work seamlessly with transactional and analytical data together in a single platform. Customers and partners had many questions about use cases. Would it save them the time and effort of moving data from operational systems? Would it help with low-latency machine learning (ML) inference scenarios? Would it help provide snappy user interfaces and experiences for applications and BI dashboards alike?
Would it enable teams to build transactional business applications directly on Snowflake and run real-time analytical queries on their transactional data? Do we truly provide a consistent approach to governance and security? I’m happy to report that the answer to all these questions is yes.
2. Building, monetizing, and using applications in the Data Cloud
The promise of the Snowflake Native Application Framework, currently in private preview, is one of the things that I’m most excited about. Now, anyone can use familiar Snowflake core functionalities to build applications, distribute and monetize them through Snowflake Marketplace, and deploy them directly inside a customer’s Snowflake account. Application providers will get immediate exposure to thousands of Snowflake customers worldwide across the three major clouds, while customers keep their data centralized and can significantly simplify application procurement and management. This is game-changing stuff for all parties involved.
One financial services executive told me that his company wants to build its entire application platform on our Native Application Framework. Another mentioned running machine learning and applications closer to their data. Partners also see the opportunity—Informatica has created a native app that is bidirectional and multi-source, enabling consumers to integrate data from various cloud and enterprise systems such as IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce, and SAP. We want to simplify the process of building so that our customers and partners can focus on what to build and less on how to build it. I don’t think we know or can anticipate the full scope of value creation and innovation that will come out of this. But based on the excitement at the conference, it’s safe to assume some incredibly innovative and cool applications will get created.
3. Increased choice and cloud-agnostic experiences
As a customer-centric company, we’re always striving for a balance between providing options to our users and at the same time simplifying things, reducing complexity. A core goal is to provide a consistent experience and ease of governance for data residing in any of the three major clouds (AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud). Snowflake is a platform that companies can leverage to build once and then run on a number of regions across the major cloud vendors. Snowflake’s cross-cloud capabilities mean you can move data—and now applications—easily between regions or clouds. You can failover and failback, all with transactional consistency. We are providing a path to simplify the creation of cross-region and cross-cloud experiences for customers and partners alike.
One CEO at Summit told me that the ability to build an app once and have it run on multiple clouds and multiple regions seamlessly is a game changer. We’ve also increased choice by extending the Data Cloud to be able to process data from S3-compatible storage systems, including on-premises storage providers (currently in development). Another agent of choice we’re supporting is interoperability and open file formats. To that end, we introduced Apache Iceberg Tables, currently in development, which will enable customers to choose Iceberg as the persistence table format with Parquet as the file format, on a table-by-table basis.
4. Rich data experiences without the data governance or security trade-off for readability
I frequently hear from customers that data governance and security are chief reasons they have data in Snowflake, and they’ve appreciated our continued focus on these areas as we roll out so many new innovations and improvements. For example, our new workload Cybersecurity allows cybersecurity teams to break down data silos and get better visibility into security incidents, risks, and threats. The bottom line is that customers want to build robust data products and share data freely without losing control of or re-siloing their data. By eliminating the trade-off, Snowflake accelerates the economic value cycle for everyone—for partners, for customers, and, frankly, for ourselves.
The elimination of this trade-off between governance and programmability is what underlies our work in Snowpark, our work on data sharing, collaboration with data clean rooms, and our Native Applications Framework. And there’s more coming!
We’re very excited about the potential of our new innovations. We’re expanding the realm of what’s possible, and we can’t wait to see how customers and partners are going to run with these capabilities. For me, the most exciting thing is that we’re all going to build amazing things; many will be experiences that no one has even imagined. A CIO at Summit told me that the innovations that will be created through our Native Application Framework have the potential to turn IT, which is a cost center, into a profit center.
At the same time, Snowflake isn’t just pursuing shinier, new things. We are deeply committed to our core product, and we are continuously improving and extending its capabilities. We’re always focused on making our product faster, latency lower, concurrency higher. We also know that better performance turns into better economics, and we love passing those savings onto our customers. More generally, the reliability and ease of use of Snowflake continue to be a priority for us every single day, across everything we do.
It was a highlight to connect in person with so many of our amazing customers and partners. I can still feel the excitement and the sense of opportunity that was present in pretty much every conversation I had. I’m thankful to all who were able to join us in person as well as those who tuned in remotely. We will keep innovating for all of you, to create value and opportunity for all of you.
To learn more about the product announcements from Summit, visit Summit 2022 where you can catch the keynotes on demand, read our press releases, and receive exclusive access to an early bird discount for Summit 2023.
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