Snowflake Machine Learning Simplified 101

on Data Integration, Data Science, Data Warehouses, ETL Tutorials, Machine Learning, Snowflake, Snowflake • February 3rd, 2022 • Write for Hevo

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Machine Learning opens up a plethora of new ways to work with data and Snowflake Machine Learning provides greater flexibility and faster processing. You’ll always work with data in transformative ways, whether you’re creating the next revolutionary virtual assistant or social media network. The complex environment of ML technology, on the other hand, necessitates a solid infrastructure, multiple software packages, and specialized engineers to build and maintain it.

Snowflake is rapidly becoming a well-known data warehouse upon which various industries’ data analytics stacks are built. It enables seamless integration with BI and data analytics tools, as well as other types of cloud services.

The Snowflake platform is fully elastic, allowing Machine Learning data pipelines to handle changing data requirements in real-time. Snowflake collaborates with a variety of data science and Machine Learning/AI partners to deliver faster performance, a faster rate of innovation, easy access to the most recent data, and zero duplication.

In this article, you’ll learn more about Snowflake Machine Learning.

Table of Contents

What is Machine Learning?

Machines can now be trained using a data-driven approach. On a broader scale, if you consider Artificial Intelligence to be the main umbrella, Machine Learning is a subset of AI. Machine Learning, a collection of Algorithms, enables Machines or Computers to learn from data on their own without the need for human intervention.

Machine Learning is based on the idea of teaching and training machines by feeding them data and defining features. When fed new and relevant data, computers learn, grow, adapt, and develop on their own, without the need for explicit programming. Machines can learn very little in the absence of data. The Machine observes the dataset, identifies patterns in it, learns from past behavior, and makes predictions.

What is Snowflake?

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Snowflake is a popular Cloud Data Warehouse that offers a plethora of features while remaining simple. It scales up and down automatically to provide the best Performance-to-Cost ratio. The separation of Compute and Storage distinguishes Snowflake. This is significant because almost every other Data Warehouse, including Amazon Redshift, combines the two, implying that you must consider the size for your most demanding workload and then incur the associated costs.

Snowflake does not require the selection, installation, configuration, or management of hardware or software, making it ideal for organizations that do not want to invest in the setup, maintenance, and support of in-house servers. It allows you to centralize all of your data and independently size your Compute.

For example, if you require real-time data loads for complex transformations but only have a few complex queries in your reporting, you can script a massive Snowflake Warehouse for the data load and then scale it back down once it’s finished – all in real-time. This will save you a significant amount of money while not jeopardizing your solution objectives.

Key Features of Snowflake

Some of Snowflake’s key characteristics are as follows:

  • Scalability: The Multi-Cluster Shared Data Architecture of Snowflakes separates compute and storage resources. This strategy enables users to scale up resources when large amounts of data need to be loaded quickly and scale back down when the process is complete without interfering with any other operations.
  • There is no extracurricular activity: It enables businesses to set up and manage a solution without the involvement of Database Administrators or IT teams. It does not necessitate the installation or activation of software or hardware.
  • Security: Snowflake has several security features, ranging from how users access Snowflake to how data is stored. To restrict access to your account, you can manage Network Policies by whitelisting IP addresses. Snowflake supports a variety of authentication methods, such as Two-Factor Authentication and SSO via Federated Authentication.
  • Support for Semi-Structured Data: Snowflake’s architecture allows for the storage of Structured and Semi-Structured data in the same location by utilizing the VARIANT schema on the Read data type. VARIANT can store both structured and semi-structured data. Once loaded, Snowflake automatically parses the data, extracts the attributes, and stores it in Columnar Format.

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  • Scalable Infrastructure: Hevo has in-built integrations for 100+ sources, that can help you scale your data infrastructure as required.
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Is Snowflake Machine Learning Good?

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You may be wondering if the Snowflake Data Cloud can assist your company with its Machine Learning (ML) initiatives. The short answer to this question is an emphatic “yes!” To fully answer this question, it’s important to understand that most ML applications follow a similar lifecycle. Snowflake is ideal for ML because it supports the entire ML lifecycle.

Snowflake Machine Learning Life-Cycle

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The Snowflake Machine Learning lifecycle is divided into four stages:

The Snowflake UI, SnowSQL, and the Snowflake Connector all provide excellent support for the first two phases. Snowpark and UDFs provide significant support for the final two phases. In the following sections, we’ll go over how these tools can help at each stage of the ML lifecycle.

1) Snowflake Machine Learning: Discovering Data

The first step in developing any ML model is the discovery of data. During this phase, Data Scientists must gather or collect all available data relevant to the ML application at hand. When all of your data is already in Snowflake, gathering data becomes a piece of cake.

Following data collection, Data Scientists will conduct exploratory Data Analysis and Data profiling to gain a better understanding of the data’s quality and value. With the Snowflake UI or SnowSQL, ad hoc analysis and feature engineering are a breeze. The Snowflake Connector for Python excels at extracting data and delivering it to an environment that includes the most popular Python data science tools.

2) Snowflake Machine Learning Training the Data

When it comes to model training, Snowflake’s most important feature is access to data – and a lot of it! If your company has a large amount of data, Snowflakes can store a large amount of data. In addition to using your data, Snowflake can provide you with access to external data through its Data Marketplace.

Reliable training and maintenance of ML models require a reproducible training process, and lost data is a common reproducibility issue. Snowflake’s time travel capabilities could come in handy here. Time travel will not support all use cases due to its limited retention period, but it can save a lot of headaches for early prototyping and proof of concept projects.

3) Snowflake Machine Learning: Deploying Model

With the release of Snowpark and Java user-defined functions, Snowflake support for ML model deployment has greatly improved (UDFs). UDFs are Java (or Scala) functions that take Snowflake data as input and generate a value based on custom logic. Because Java and Scala support arbitrary logic and program flow, they enable a wide range of functionality. Snowpark is still in public beta, so some features are still in the works, but the potential is enormous.

UDFs in Machine Learning provide a mechanism for encapsulating models for deployment using Java or Scala libraries. Another powerful option is to deploy models trained in other languages using common formats such as PMML. And, if pre-or post-processing is required to support ML deployments, both UDFs and Snowpark are excellent data transformation tools.

4) Snowflake Machine Learning: Monitoring Data

Writing ML predictions back to Snowflake makes it simple to follow up and close the ML lifecycle loop. Snowflake Scheduled Tasks can be a useful orchestration tool for tracking ML predictions. You can even monitor for complex issues like data drift by scheduling tasks that use UDFs or building processes with Snowpark.

When problems are discovered, any analyst or data scientist can use the Snowflake UI to delve deeper and figure out what’s going on. Dashboards based on Machine Learning predictions can also be created using the Snowflake connector or integrations with popular BI tools such as Tableau.

Snowflake Machine Learning Features

Here are some key features of Snowflake Machine Learning

1) Snowflake Advertising

Customers are more likely to buy items or services when they receive personalized offers. Snowflake Machine Learning uses behavioral, spending, and demographic data to predict those who are likely to opt-out of emails, optimize prices with dynamic pricing, identify opportunities for upsell/cross-sell, and acquire new customers with enticing offers tailored to specific desires, and much more.

2) Forecasting Demand

Predicting demand for a product, service, venue, travel destination, and other items can assist businesses in preparing by keeping items in stock, having enough staff to assist customers, adding more showtimes for popular movies, advising customers on where to travel at specific times of the year, and so on. Snowflake Machine Learning predicts demand and makes accurate recommendations based on factors such as item popularity, inclement weather that would prevent attendance, sale history, and so on.

3) Customer Service

It is critical for enticing customers to stay long-term with excellent customer service in order to keep them from defecting to the competition. Customers who feel ignored or whose experience has become stale will begin to shop elsewhere.

4) Optimization of Pricing

Knowing the exact price for a product or service is challenge companies face in the competition to win customers. With Snowflake Machine Learning, you can optimize prices based on a deep understanding of customer reactions to price changes.

5) Contract and Spend Management

Snowflake Machine Learning can also predict contract expirations and the best times to renegotiate with suppliers. Furthermore, invoice errors can be identified and corrected prior to paying the supplier, reducing the possibility of an unintentional overpayment.

Conclusion

Snowflake, as you can see, is excellent for machine learning. Snowflake is especially powerful now that Snowpark and Java UDFs have been released because it completes the entire ML lifecycle.

Machine Learning will be widely used in the near future to analyze massive amounts of data. As a result, Data Scientists must be well-versed in Machine Learning in order to increase their productivity.

To meet the growing storage and computing needs of data, you would need to invest some of your Engineering Bandwidth in integrating data from all sources, cleaning and transforming it, and finally loading it to a Cloud Data Warehouse like Snowflake for further Business Analytics. All of these issues can be efficiently addressed by a Cloud-Based ETL tool like Hevo Data, A No-code Data Pipeline, that has awesome 100+ pre-built Integrations that you can choose from.

Visit our Website to Explore Hevo

Hevo can help you integrate your data from numerous sources and load them into destinations like Snowflake to analyze real-time data with BI tools of your choice. It will make your life easier and Data Migration hassle-free. It is user-friendly, reliable, and secure.

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Share your experience of learning about Snowflake Machine Learning in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you!

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