What is a Virtual Warehouse?
A virtual warehouse, or virtual data warehouse, is another term for the compute clusters that power the modern data warehouse, acting as an on-demand resource. It is is an independent compute resource that can be leveraged at any time for SQL execution and DML (Data Manipulation Language) and then turned off when it isn’t needed. For decades, traditional on-premise data warehouses have tightly coupled data storage and compute, making it a challenge to scale either on-demand. However, today’s businesses need to store and analyze vast quantities of both structured and unstructured data from disparate services, necessitating a service that can respond to large data volumes and variable compute needs for applications such as visualization.
Snowflake and the Virtual Warehouse
Inside Snowflake, the virtual warehouse is a cluster of compute resources. It provides resources — including memory, temporary storage and CPU — to perform tasks such as DML operation and SQL execution.