With organizations generating huge volumes of both Structured and Unstructured data, the demand for data storage is on the rise. Organizations need data storage options that can be accessed from any location with the ability to scale when necessary. Cloud storage was developed to meet these demands. 

Cloud storages relieve organizations from the need to purchase and set up physical infrastructure for data storage. Instead, the Cloud service provider takes up this responsibility. The Cloud also scales up and down very well to meet the changing demands for data storage space. Cloud storage can be accessed from any location using any device. These are some of the reasons why organizations are moving their data from On-premise storage to the Cloud. 

Today, there are many Cloud storage providers. Firebolt and Snowflake are good examples of Cloud Data Warehouses. In this Firebolt vs Snowflake article, we will be discussing the key differences between these two Cloud storage providers to help you choose the right one for your business. 

Introduction to Firebolt

Firebolt Logo

Firebolt is a Cloud Data Warehousing solution that helps its users to streamline their Data Analytics and access to insights. It offers Fast Query Performance and combines Elasticity, Simplicity, Low cost of the Cloud, and Innovation in Analytics. It was developed for AWS with a powerful SQL query engine that separates computes and storage, enabling users to spin up many isolated resources on a similar database. 

Businesses that use Firebolt’s Data Warehouses, deliver Petabyte-scale High-Performance and Interactive Analytics in a matter of weeks, enabling employees and analysts to analyze huge volumes of data and improve the ROI for data collection. 

The Firebolt Data Warehouse comes with all that you need to give your users an unbelievable data experience. It is 4-6000x faster than other Cloud Data Warehouse providers like Snowflake, Athena, Amazon Redshift, and others. 

Note that there are no impossible data challenges with the Firebolt Database. It is suitable for aggregating data that lacks granularity. If you need to make changes to your Schema frequently, make your Semi-Structured data ready for analytics, or your queries are too slow even after optimizing them, choose the Firebolt Data Warehouse. It turns all impossible data problems into easy everyday tasks. 

Introduction to Snowflake

Snowflake Logo

Snowflake refers to a Data warehouse-as-a-Service (DaaS) platform developed for the Cloud. Its data architecture uses the scalable, elastic Azure Blobs Storage as the internal storage engine and Azure Data Lake to store the Unstructured, Structured, and On-premise data ingested via the Azure Data Factory. 

The Snowflake Data Warehouse provides security and protection of data using Amazon S3 policy controls, SSO, Azure SAS tokens, and Google Cloud Storage access permissions. You can also scale your storage depending on your storage needs. 

Snowflake Architecture
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In the next section, we will be discussing Snowflake vs Firebolt to know the key differences between the two cloud storages. 

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Understanding the Differences between Firebolt and Snowflake

The following are the key differences between Firebolt and Snowflake:

Firebolt vs Snowflake: Performance

Snowflake uses data ranges to prune partitions during queries. However, it doesn’t use Indexing which improves performance. Firebolt uses Optimized Aggregate, Sparse, and Join Indexes for improved query performance. Snowflake supports cost-based optimization and query vectorization. However, its first-time run for queries takes seconds to minutes. Firebolt gives sub-second performance even for first queries. It uses Vectorized Processing, Cost-based Optimization, JIT compilation, and more. 

Firebolt vs Snowflake: Integrations

The types of integrations/platforms supported are an important factor when comparing Cloud storage options. Snowflake can be integrated with more than 140 data sources, Data Analysis, and Business Intelligence platforms. Examples include Alooma, Sisense, Datom, Dbschema, and others. 

Firebolt vs Snowflake: Snowflake Integrations
Firebolt vs Snowflake: Snowflake Integrations

On the other hand, Firebolt only supports integration with three Business Intelligence platforms namely Looker, Tableau, and Sisense. Snowflake supports integration with all these tools. 

Firebolt vs Snowflake: Pricing

Snowflake’s pricing plan is based on the amount of Storage and Computes they sell you. They don’t offer any incentives to improve the efficiency or performance of each node. Firebolt charges users based on the amount of storage and computing used by query engines. Engines are billed per second and there are a large variety of engine types to fine-tune workloads.

Firebolt vs Snowflake: Handling Semi-Structured Data

The way semi-structured data is handled is an important factor when doing a Firebolt Snowflake comparison. Snowflake keeps Semi-Structured data in a VARIANT field. Snowflake creates metadata to help with processing, and all the JSON for a particular node should be loaded fully into RAM and the engine runs full scans. The process becomes slow when there is not enough RAM. 

Firebolt comes with Native Lambda Expressions and the best storage that can be used in SQL and they are efficient for storage, don’t require full scans or loads into RAM and offer a faster performance while utilizing fewer resources. 

Firebolt vs Snowflake: Optimized Storage

Snowflake comes with an Optimized Partition File system and supports sorting with Cluster Keys. However, for every write, a rewrite of the partition is needed. Snowflake doesn’t support continuous writes. 

On the other hand, the Firebolt File Format (F3) spans many tiers including RAM, SSD, and disk. Firebolt supports Multi-Master Continuous Ingestion, Automatic Rebalances, and Single-row inserts. 

Firebolt vs Snowflake: Continuous Updates

You can also compare Firebolt vs Snowflake in terms of Continuous Updates. Snowflake has a Partition-level Locking feature and a limit of 20 DML writes in the queue for each table. These two features restrict Snowflake’s ability to receive continuous updates from Kafka and other streaming technologies. 

Firebolt’s Multi-Master Writes feature helps it to support Continuous Updates at any scale. The Multi-Master writing can be done without partition or table locking across instances directly into F3. 

A Summarised Comparison of Firebolt and Snowflake

Firebolt vs Snowflake Summary
Firebolt vs Snowflake Summary


This blog talks about the differences between Firebolt and Snowflake in great detail touching upon 6 key factors to keep in mind before making a decision for your business.

Learn more about, Firebolt vs BigQuery.

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You can try Hevo for free by signing up for a 14-day free trial. You can also have a look at the unbeatable Hevo Pricing that will help you choose the right plan for your business needs!

Customer Experience Engineer, Hevo Data

Skand, with 2.5 years of experience, specializes in MySQL, Postgres, and REST APIs at Hevo. He efficiently troubleshoots customer issues, contributes to knowledge base and SOPs, and assists customers in achieving their use cases through Hevo's platform.

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