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Wednesday, 18 November 2020 05:46

Snowflake extends data cloud capabilities

Snowflake senior vice president of product Christian Kleinerman Snowflake senior vice president of product Christian Kleinerman

Data cloud company Snowflake has announced several new features said to give customers the ability to work with more types of data, a more powerful developer experience, more control over data, and access data services as easily as they access data.

"Data is central to how we run our lives, businesses, and institutions," said Snowflake co-founder and president of products Benoit Dageville.

"Many of today's organisations still struggle to mobilise all of their data in service of their enterprise. The Data Cloud contains a massive amount of data from Snowflake customers and commercial data providers, creating a powerful global data network effect for mobilising data to drive innovation and create new revenue streams."

The new features include:

Snowpark, which allows developers and others to write code in their languages of choice, and then execute workloads such as ETL/ELT, data preparation, and feature engineering on Snowflake, thus bringing more data pipelines into the platform. Snowpark is initially available in testing environments only.

Data Services on Snowflake Data Marketplace provides access to data services such as risk assessments, behavioural scoring, and predictive and prescriptive data analysis, while keeping control of exactly what data the providers can access.

Unstructured data such as audio, video, pdfs, imaging data and more is being added to Snowflake (currently in private preview), allowing more work to be done wholly within Snowflake.

Row access policies will give Snowflake customers policy-based control over returned result sets. For example, a policy might allow sales reps to see the rows of customer data they need, while blocking the rows that relate to other reps' customers. Such policies can also be used to mitigate risk, improve governance, and help compliance with regional or industry-specific data privacy regulations. The feature should be in private preview later this year.

"With Snowflake, we now have data that's understandable, accessible, and widely available to non-specialists within business units that supports self-service for 80% of use-cases," said Deputy's head of data insights and analytics Thomas Ward.

"What the design has enabled us to do is grow the team, increase specialisation, and still maintain productivity."

Snowflake senior vice president of product Christian Kleinerman said "Snowflake's platform enables organisations to leverage the power of the Data Cloud regardless of which supported public cloud they use, or where an organisation's data or users are located.

"The new features announced today are another example of Snowflake's commitment to delivering the technology customers need to fully mobilise their data and achieve meaningful business value."

In related news, Snowflake announced its first global Startup Challenge.

Early-stage organisations building applications in the Snowflake Data Cloud can enter the challenge, which offers a prize of up to US$250,000 in the form of an investment from Snowflake, as well as access to a global network of resources including venture capitalists and data experts.

"This competition will showcase the power of data network effects while also expanding their reach. We look forward to rewarding a top startup who both embodies and employs the Snowflake vision: To mobilise the world's data," said Dageville.

The judges will be Dageville, Snowflake chief marketing officer Denise Persson, Sutter Hill Ventures' Mike Speiser, and Sequoia Capital's Carl Eschenbach. The criteria will include business potential, level of innovation, and the use of Snowflake's unique capabilities.

Three finalists will pitch to a live audience at Snowflake Summit in the northern summer of 2021.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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