Snowflake’s storage of data for analytics is complicated “under the hood” because it uses columnar storage, as illustrated by this close-up image of a snowflake perched vertically on a block of ice like a column.

Snowflake Concepts

How Does Snowflake Storage Work? (Databases & Schemas)

Databases and schemas ("namespaces") are used to organize data in Snowflake storage, which uses a columnar format internally for analytics.

Snowflake has some unique features vs. other data warehouses, from its cloud-based architecture to its automatic scaling based on analytical demands, as illustrated by this complex crystalline Snowflake formation shown in a black-and-white photograph.

Snowflake Concepts

What Is Unique About Snowflake vs Other Data Warehouses?

Snowflake is a cloud-based data warehouse for high-performance analytics with an easy-to-use web interface and a transparent pricing model.

Snowflake warehouses aren’t exactly multi-processor computing clusters with hundreds of nodes, but it can make sense of thinking of Snowflake credits as analogous to nodes, as illustrated by this image of dozens of snowflakes falling at sunset.

Snowflake Concepts

How Many Nodes Are in a Snowflake Virtual Warehouse?

Snowflake uses credits, which are analogous to CPU nodes, in order to pay for the virtual warehouses that power its analytical query engine.

Snowflake is considered a data warehouse because it’s cloud-based platform is central repository of data that separates storage of the data from the compute resources needed to process that data for analytical queries, as illustrated by this image of a single snowflake on lint-covered fabric.

Snowflake Concepts

Is Snowflake a Data Warehouse for Analytics and Insights?

Snowflake data platform is referred to as a data warehouse or data lake because it separates storage (data) from compute (processing power).

Databases are how you pay for storage while warehouses are how you pay for compute in Snowflake data platform, illustrated by a snow globe filled with realistic Snowflakes.

Snowflake Concepts

What Is the Difference Between a Database and a Warehouse in Snowflake?

Snowflake uses databases for data storage, while a “Snowflake warehouse” is a virtual computing cluster that processes analytical queries.

Snowflake accounts can hold an unlimited number of virtual warehouses, as illustrated by this picture of an office building where the division of the windows looks like hundreds of tiny warehouses.

Snowflake Concepts

How Many Virtual Warehouses Can Snowflake Hold?

Snowflake data platform allows many virtual warehouses in one account, but multi-cluster virtual warehouses are an Enterprise-only feature.

Multi-cluster virtual warehouses in Snowflake are analogous to the server farm pictured, since they allocate additional compute resources compared to a single warehouse or virtual machine.

Snowflake Concepts

What Is a Multi-Cluster Virtual Warehouse in Snowflake Data Platform?

Multi-cluster virtual warehouses auto-scale compute resources based on the demands on the data warehouse. Here’s how they work in Snowflake.

Snowflake's virtual warehouses are the compute engines that process analytics, and they're required to be running when you load data or run analytical queries, like those necessary to power an in-product dashboard like the one shown in this photograph.

Snowflake Concepts

What Are Warehouses in Snowflake Data Analytics Platform?

Snowflake’s virtual warehouses are computing clusters that process the data analytics commands you run on Snowflake data analytics platform.

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