As 2021 winds down, let’s take a quick look back at some of the most popular and important posts of the year here on our fast-growing blog, Inside the Data Cloud.

More power and flexibility for Snowflake users

Snowflake gives gifts all year ’round, continually adding new features to help our users gain new insights. Many of our best-read blog posts focused on Snowflake technology. Here are the four most popular:

Welcome to Snowpark: New Data Programmability for the Data Cloud

June 2021 introduced the world to Snowpark (currently in public preview), bringing deeply integrated, DataFrame-style programming to the languages developers like to use, starting with Scala. Snowpark makes building complex data pipelines a breeze and lets developers interact with Snowflake directly, without moving data.

Snowflake Launches Unstructured Data Support in Public Preview

Video? Medical images? Call center recordings? A ton of potential insight has been locked away in unstructured data—until now. In September we unveiled powerful analytics capabilities for all these data types and more.

Snowflake and Anaconda Bring Enterprise-Grade Open-Source Python Innovation to the Data Cloud

Snowflake and Anaconda are partnering to provide the growing Python community of data scientists, data engineers, and developers with effortless access to open-source Python packages to build secure and scalable data pipelines and machine learning workflows. 

Bringing the World’s Data Together: Announcements from Snowflake Summit

But wait—there’s so much more! This popular post offers a high-speed roundup of dozens of innovations and enhancements in five categories: data programmability, global data governance, platform optimizations, connected industries, and Powered by Snowflake. More data, more value, more business insight.

How to build and grow your company

Speaking of more value, that’s the end goal: using data to support business goals. Readers loved these posts that focus on how companies (including Snowflake!) grow.

Choosing Open Wisely

In building our own products and company, we make decisions based on what’s best for our customers, and you probably do the same. Sometimes that means leaning into open source and open standards—but not always. In this post, one of 2021’s top three most-read, Snowflake’s co-founders and technical leadership give insights into how they evaluate the trade-offs, case by case.

Scaling a Company to IPO and Beyond

Snowflake became a publicly traded company in September 2020. In this post, our CFO, Mike Scarpelli, who previously worked on ServiceNow’s IPO, looks at what it takes to scale successfully. Related popular posts this year looked at the five pillars of marketing to reach $100M and beyond, by Snowflake CMO Denise Persson, and product engineering as the rocket behind Snowflake’s rocketship, from SVP of Engineering Greg Czajkowski.

Why CFOs Should Champion the Consumption Business Model

Only pay for what you use. That’s consumption-based pricing, and what could make more sense than that? Mike Scarpelli says, speaking as a CFO, “I hate shelfware.” Our Chief Revenue Officer, Chris Degnan, also chimed in with his perspective on how this model works to ensure every customer’s value and success.

Solving industry-specific challenges

“How is data being used in my industry?” is often the first question our team hears from current and potential customers. Here are the five most popular blog posts diving into partner and customer work in specific verticals.

Enabling the Future of Cross-Cloud Data Collaboration with Snowflake Data Clean Rooms and NBCUniversal

NBCUniversal’s NBCU Audience Insights Hub, built on a cross-cloud data clean room environment powered by Snowflake, lets NBCUniversal and its advertising ecosystem partners share audience data without moving, copying, or exposing any underlying personally identifiable information (PII).

BlackRock and Snowflake Partner to Unlock the Value of Data for the Investment Management Industry

In the investment management industry, data is often siloed in multiple systems and hard to analyze at scale. BlackRock’s new Aladdin Data Cloud, powered by Snowflake, allows companies to combine Aladdin portfolio data with non-Aladdin data, analyze it faster, and create custom applications and dashboards using Aladdin Studio. Organizations will have a single control plane to make data-driven decisions around portfolio management, trade execution, investment operations, analysis, and risk management.

Chipotle Leverages Snowflake to Inform Decision-Making During the Pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, Chipotle wanted to take a preventive rather than reactive approach to restaurant safety procedures, using machine learning to protect guests and employees. The challenge was not building the model, but rather having reliable data with near real-time case counts that could be merged with Chipotle’s internal data sets.

How Capital One Leverages the Power of Data in the Cloud

Like other industries, the financial services sector is undergoing a massive digital transformation, with the goal to better serve and retain customers by offering them a broader range of more-personalized services. That work relies on the intelligent use of customer data.

Connected Healthcare: Devices and Data Along a Patient’s Journey

Telemedicine, home care, and virtual clinical trials have all advanced significantly even in the past two to three years, supported by a convergence between clinical interconnected devices and consumer-facing products. All these devices—the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)—can give healthcare providers a much more holistic view of patient health and symptoms, and bigger data sets for comparison, yielding more-accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Data for good, and for fun

While data is fuel for business, it’s also key to understanding the world around us.

Conserving Bears, Bats, and Bees

We celebrated Earth Day with a look at how new sensors and data are helping identify and fight against habitat and species loss, conserving creatures from great to small.

Olympic Performance by the Numbers: Faster, Stronger, Better

At their best, the Olympic Games are a showcase of international solidarity. They’re also a great lens for looking at human performance over time. Are the best athletes becoming faster and stronger—and what factors contribute? This infographic offers a selection of Olympic data and the stories behind it.

The Great BBQ Breakdown

In the U.S., barbecue is a traditional part of the July 4th weekend, from simple hot dog cookouts to full-blown, low-and-slow pit BBQ. To help celebrate the holiday—and possibly feed a family debate or two about “the right way” to barbecue—here’s a breakdown of some popular options, along with a few servings of data about the fine art of outdoor cooking.