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Today, increasingly more firms are moving their data to the cloud because of the numerous benefits of doing so. These benefits include ease of access to data, reduced data storage costs, and access to analytics tools, among others. However, many firms face the tough decision on which modern cloud data platform is most suited for their needs. Snowflake and Azure Synapse are two of the very popular cloud data solutions that are available to businesses and individuals today.

The two (Synapse and Snowflake Analytics) are similar in that they offer parallel processing to distribute the data analysis across multiple nodes in the cloud. However, they also have many differences and understanding these can help you make the right decision on which cloud data platform is best for your needs.

However, to begin with, let's look at what the key features of Azure Synapse and Snowflake are.

Azure Synapse Analytics

This is an unlimited data analytics offering that brings the best of big data analysis and data storage together. If you are looking for a single workload during data processing for immediate business intelligence and data prediction needs, Azure Synapse Analytics is the way to go. Synapse is easily integrated with Power BI and Azure Machine Learning and can also provide machine learning capability through the ONNX format.

Some benefits of Azure Synapse Analytics are -

  1. It allows users to augment data lakes with event hubs and IoT so that streaming is possible in one centralized platform.
  2. It provides full CSV support for any type of file selection
  3. It is reportedly 14 times faster and costs 94% less than other cloud providers.


Snowflake differs from Synapse in that it is a data warehouse-as-a-service platform specifically created for the cloud. For the internal storage, it uses the elastic and scalable Azure Blobs Storage. It also uses Azure Data Lake to store the structured, on-premise, and unstructured data.

Some key benefits of using Snowflake are -

  • It allows for the scaling up of the virtual warehouse to leverage extra compute resources when you need to, for instance, load data faster or run a high number of queries.
  • You can combine structured and semi-structured data to load them into a database for analysis without resorting to transforming or converting the data into a fixed relational schema.
  • It has an architecture making use of multiple clusters so that things like delays and failures are taken care of.
  • Its architecture allows users to seamlessly share datasets with any consumer.

Now that we have an idea of these two cloud solutions, lets look at their differences.

  1. PaaS vs SaaS

    Azure Synapse and Snowflake are sold and marketed differently. Azure Synapse is provided as a PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) that comes with the robust and free Synapse Workspace environment that is a good capability on top of the other resources.

    Snowflake, on the other hand, is sold as a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). It runs on top of AWS, Google Cloud, or Azure. An abstraction layer is used to separate the compute credits and storage so that you only pay for them rather than the underlying storage and compute cloud.

  2. Compute Resources

    These two platforms have a different approach to compute resources. However, both allow users to build SQL databases for things like data warehousing. With Azure Synapse, you require a dedicated SQL pool to create SQL databases for data warehousing.

    SQL databases created in Snowflake, however, are fully separated from the compute resources required to query or load the SQL databases.

  3. Cost

    One key difference between the two platforms is their pricing model. Azure Synapse charges for the compute resources on an hourly basis while Snowflake provides a pay-as-you-go model. Snowflake's model is calculated on a per-second basis.

  4. Scalability

    Snowflake's shared and multi-cluster data architecture makes it shine in terms of scalability. Azure Synapse, on the other hand, offers both Serverless SQL and dedicated SQL pools.

Outsource Cloud Data Requirements to Flatworld Solutions

Flatworld Solutions is a leading provider of solutions to companies looking to leverage the many benefits of moving to the cloud. We have been providing software design and development services to a global clientele for over 20 years. Over the years, we have also gained significant knowhow and expertise in deploying data warehouse Azure, Azure Synapse, and Snowflake.

If you are looking for expert help to leverage all that the cloud has to offer, get in touch with us now.

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