In March, Snowflake continued enhancing its platform with performance improvements, expanded ecosystem support, easier management, and more. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the key announcements from March 2021.
Speed Up “Needle-in-the-Haystack” Searches
Point lookup queries are prevalent across many Snowflake workloads—from data exploration use cases where data scientists typically run several ad hoc queries to help them make sense of a given data set, to application workloads where an analyst needs fast access to a dashboard to find nuggets of useful information buried in massive amounts of data. Snowflake’s new Search Optimization Service, now generally available, enables these users to analyze billions of rows at the drop of a hat, giving them faster insights with up-to-date data. For more information, read the blog here.
Use SQL to Identify Rows That Fit Specific Patterns in Data
Now generally available, Snowflake’s new MATCH_RECOGNIZE clause helps you quickly identify complex patterns in your data, using SQL. You can use MATCH_RECOGNIZE in a SELECT statement to identify row(s) that match a specific pattern, removing the need to add multiple joins. This feature provides an easier and faster way to analyze web traffic to understand what leads to customers signing up or placing an item in their cart, for example, or to identify security threats or stocks that have specific behaviors. Learn more here.
Added Support in Several Snowflake Ecosystem Technologies
Snowflake works with a wide array of industry-leading tools and technologies, enabling customers to access the platform via an extensive ecosystem of connectors, drivers, programming languages, and tools. In March, Snowflake announced improved support for its ODBC, Node.js, .NET, and Go drivers, including multi-factor authentication (MFA) token caching for ODBC driver 2.23.0, which enables an application to use Snowflake’s MFA feature while minimizing the number of prompts that must be acknowledged while connecting and authenticating to Snowflake; a new put_tempdir configuration parameter for Snowflake ODBC Driver 2.23.1 that lets users specify the temporary directory for PUT commands; support for key pair authentication, OAuth, and browser-based SSO for Snowflake Node.js driver 1.6.0; support for key pair authentication and authentication via External OAuth in Snowflake .NET driver 1.2.0; and support for asynchronous execution of SQL statements in the Go Snowflake driver. Find the complete list of updates here.
Speed Up Large Batch Inserts with Snowflake Connector for Python 2.4.0
Version 2.4.0 of the Snowflake Connector for Python, now generally available, comes with new functionality that can speed up large batch insert operations by automatically streaming data to a temporary stage for ingestion when the number of values to be inserted exceeds a threshold. To take advantage of this feature, make sure to use a role that has the CREATE STAGE privilege on the schema. In addition, version 2.4.0 adds support for Python 3.9 and PyArrow 3.0.x. Learn more about Snowflake Connector for Python here.
Easily Manage Resource Monitors with a New User Interface
Resource monitors are first-class objects in Snowflake that help organizations control costs and avoid unexpected credit usage caused by running warehouses. You can use resource monitors to impose limits on the number of credits that are consumed by user-managed virtual warehouses as well as by virtual warehouses used by cloud services. Announced in March, Snowflake has added a new page in the new user interface (currently in public preview) called Monitors on which you can manage resource monitors to create, modify, and drop resource monitors; view details; and control access to your Snowflake resources. Learn more.
Automated Continuous Data Loading Across Clouds
Snowflake’s data ingestion service, Snowpipe, automates the continuous loading of data hosted on a public cloud storage service into Snowflake accounts. In March, Snowflake announced the general availability of support for automated Snowpipe data loads into Snowflake accounts hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) from data files in either Google Cloud Storage (GCS) or Microsoft Azure. Customers can now leverage this feature to automate cross-cloud data ingestion continuously as a service, ingesting data near real-time without the need to manually load data. Learn more.
Bring Extensibility into Data Pipelines
Modern analytical workloads often require complex transformations or augmentations that require using custom code or third-party services. However, using external services and libraries can often complicate data pipelines. To simplify using remote services, Snowflake created an External Functions feature that enables users to invoke external APIs and custom code from within Snowflake and blend the results into their query results. In February, Snowflake announced general availability support of external functions for AWS API Gateway and Azure API Management. In March, Snowflake announced the same support for Google API Gateway, now in public preview. Learn more.
SNOWFLAKE DATA MARKETPLACE
Snowflake Data Marketplace gives data scientists, business intelligence and analytics professionals, and everyone else who desires data-driven decision-making access to live, ready-to-query data sets. Snowflake Data Marketplace offers a wide range of open and commercial data sets across 16 categories including public health, weather, location, demographics, and software-as-a-service providers. In March, Snowflake made it easier for data set providers to create new listings on Snowflake Data Marketplace and added several new providers, among them Accutrend, Datavant, First American Data & Analytics, V12, and Windfall.
For Data Providers: Easily Create New Listings on Snowflake Data Marketplace
Snowflake introduced a new user interface in March to help data providers more easily create new listings in Snowflake Data Marketplace. With the new data listing creation flow, available now, providers can see a live preview of their listing as they edit, complete any section of the listing in any order, and validate sample SQL queries before submitting their listing for approval. Learn more.
For Data Consumers: New Data Providers Broaden Industry Sets
Accutrend Data Corporation (ADC) is a B2B marketing information and intelligence company. For more than 30 years it has delivered comprehensive and up-to-date business intelligence, empowering its clients to make business-building decisions and connections based on data. As of April 1, 2021, Accutrend offered 11 data sets on Snowflake Data Marketplace. Learn more.
Datavant’s mission is to connect the world’s health data. Leading healthcare organizations use its solutions to protect, share, and match data. Datavant technology enables organizations to link de-identified data at the patient level, enabling deeper insights and understanding while protecting patient privacy. Learn more.
First American Data & Analytics
First American Data & Analytics provides one of the industry’s largest database of United States property, home ownership, and mortgage data, offering Snowflake customers direct and real-time access to data packages that enable rapid, advanced insights and analytics that help them capture new business, better understand existing customers, and develop new analytical models. The company backs up its data with award-winning service and data experts who are ready to work with its data consumers. Learn more.
As a leading marketing provider of customer acquisition solutions, V12 combines rich data assets with robust technology to provide brands with end-to-end customer acquisition and retention solutions. The V12 data and technology platform links customer records with V12’s proprietary blend of online, offline, and digital marketing data for highly personalized, one-to-one consumer marketing, regardless of device or channel. Learn more.
With the goal of determining the net worth of everyone on the planet, Windfall helps organizations identify, understand, and engage current and prospective customers by providing precise net worth and other unique personal and household attributes, calculated weekly to ensure up-to-date data. Organizations can use the data set to analyze and understand demographic data or improve marketing efforts by targeting individuals by state, for example.
UNTIL NEXT MONTH
These are just a few of the new features and updates available in Snowflake. For the full list, see the Release Notes. And as always, watch for additional updates as Snowflake continuously adds new features and functions that help customers in every industry go further and faster with their data.