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Delta Lake vs Snowflake: What are the differences?


In this article, we will explore the key differences between Delta Lake and Snowflake. Delta Lake is an open-source storage layer that brings reliability and performance optimizations to data lakes. On the other hand, Snowflake is a cloud-based data warehousing platform that provides scalable and secure analytics processing.

  1. Query Engine: Delta Lake uses Apache Spark as its query engine, allowing users to leverage the power of Spark's distributed computing capabilities. Snowflake, on the other hand, has its own query engine optimized for the cloud. This allows Snowflake to provide on-demand scalability and elasticity for query processing.

  2. Data Storage: Delta Lake stores data in Apache Parquet format, a columnar storage file format optimized for analytics workloads. It supports ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) transactions and provides features like schema evolution and automatic data compaction. Snowflake, on the other hand, uses its own proprietary storage format, which is designed to optimize query performance and storage efficiency in a distributed environment.

  3. Data Partitioning: Delta Lake supports traditional partitioning techniques, where data is physically organized based on specific column values. This provides faster query performance by minimizing the amount of data that needs to be scanned. Snowflake, on the other hand, uses a different approach called micro-partitioning. It automatically partitions data at a more granular level, optimizing both storage and query performance.

  4. Data Sharing and Collaboration: Delta Lake provides seamless interoperability and data sharing capabilities with other Delta Lake users. It allows users to share data across different clusters, departments, or even organizations. Snowflake, on the other hand, offers native data sharing capabilities that allow users to share data with different Snowflake accounts. It provides fine-grained access control and data protection measures to ensure secure collaboration.

  5. Data Processing Models: Delta Lake provides support for both batch and streaming processing models. It allows users to perform real-time streaming analytics by leveraging Spark's streaming capabilities. Snowflake, on the other hand, primarily focuses on batch processing but also integrates with other streaming frameworks like Apache Kafka for real-time data ingestion.

  6. Deployment Options: Delta Lake can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud, giving users the flexibility to choose the deployment option that best suits their needs. It seamlessly integrates with various cloud service providers and can be easily scaled to handle large datasets. Snowflake, on the other hand, is a cloud-native platform that is fully managed by Snowflake itself. It eliminates the need for users to manage the infrastructure and provides automatic scaling and failover capabilities.

In summary, Delta Lake and Snowflake differ in their choice of query engine, data storage format, data partitioning techniques, data sharing and collaboration capabilities, data processing models, and deployment options. Each platform has its own strengths and suitability based on specific use cases and requirements.

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    What is Delta Lake?

    An open-source storage layer that brings ACID transactions to Apache Spark™ and big data workloads.

    What is Snowflake?

    Snowflake eliminates the administration and management demands of traditional data warehouses and big data platforms. Snowflake is a true data warehouse as a service running on Amazon Web Services (AWS)—no infrastructure to manage and no knobs to turn.

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    Jul 2 2019 at 9:34PM


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    What are some alternatives to Delta Lake and Snowflake?
    Apache Spark
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