AWS Snowflake

AWS Snowflake Data Warehouse Pricing Guide

AWS Snowflake Data Warehouse - or just Snowflake - is a data cloud built for users to mobilize, centralize, and process large quantities of data. Regardless of how many sources are connected to Snowflake or the user’s preferred type of organized data used, data is easily stored and controllably shared with selectively-authorized access. Snowflake does offer extensive control over its pricing, though how it works isn’t always clear.

What is AWS Snowflake?

Snowflake’s data stores provide elaborate yet easy-to-adapt analysis tools at scale with low latency on the pay-as-you-go model the rest of AWS uses. Users pay by the second, with costs applied to three primary factors: storage rates, computational power, and data transfers. Pricing is divided into four plans, but costs are otherwise directly reflective of the three mentioned categories. These are measured in units called Snowflake credits. Each category will accrue credits at different rates from each other, as will the subscription plans.

For users who are newer to AWS, Snowflake does benefit from the AWS Free Tier category of offerings. At any point during the creation of an AWS account, a user can receive a month-long free trial with $400 of credits to spend on Snowflake operations. The trial ends after the allotted period ends and the user hasn’t fully upgraded to a paying account or when the user runs out of credits.

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Snowflake Pricing for Storage

Storage is primarily determined by the daily storage size in bytes, regardless of whether the data is compressed, uncompressed, or used as a backup. Snowflake pricing typically applies to a flat TB rate but will continue to fluctuate based on extra factors. Rates will vary more significantly depending on if the user is paying on-demand compared to having pre-purchased the databases. Snowflake doesn’t require upfront payment or contracts. However, pre-purchases will result in significant discounts. These work similarly to the reserved instance offerings provided by other AWS services.

Where users allocate their instances across AWS’ infrastructure can also impact the storage rates Amazon charges. Like most services, transfer rates will differ vastly across most regions globally. Finally, rates can differ depending on the platform Snowflake is allocated to. Though Snowflake works perfectly fine on AWS, it can function natively on Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure with small adjustments in the data transfer fees.

AWS Snowflake Pricing for Storage

Virtual Warehousing

Snowflake can employ virtual warehouses with one or multiple compute clusters to conduct tasks such as queries and data retrievals. Operating virtual warehouses will use Snowflake credits with rates depending on size, duration of use, and the number of units in operation. Currently, there are ten sizes available with specifics for the amount of computing power made available per cluster. Snowflake provides a cost-effective solution by allowing users to avert expenses through strategic management of warehouses. Costs can be minimized by ensuring that warehouses are only operational when necessary, as Snowflake does not charge for idle or suspended resources. To further optimize cost efficiency, Snowflake offers a convenient startup or stop function that enables users to swiftly initiate or suspend warehouses, thereby avoiding unnecessary charges.

Credit use is tied to the number of servers operating within a cluster. Snowflake bills credits per second, though, which requires a minimum of sixty seconds. Starting or terminating an instance will cost a minute’s worth each time, and upgrading or downgrading will cost a minute to finish. However, since Snowflake virtual warehouses work linearly, doubling a warehouse’s capacity will result in half the work time while maintaining the same operating cost.

Individual Service Pricing

Snowflake comes with a package of tools designed specifically for the storage, manipulation, and use of data for extensive computations. Whether it’s API functions, access controls, or infrastructure management, these services expend compute resources and Snowflake credits. However, resources expended need to reach 10% and over the daily compute resource usage before they show up on the monthly bill. If the second value is less than the first value, Snowflake will automatically default to billing the user the second value.  If the number of cloud service credits exceeds the adjusted resources used: 

Total used cloud service credits during that day - total used cloud service credits * 10%


Resource Use and Snowflake Billing

Snowflake bills users monthly relative to the resources they have used over that period. These charges are in the form of Snowflake credits, which cover different rates for the subscription plans offered. What could cost $0.00011 on the standard edition will cost $0.005 on the enterprise edition. It is very easy to lose track of what price factors are taking effect.

While managing Snowflake pricing more controllably presents benefits, it is essential to delve deeper into the advantages offered by this pricing model. Snowflake provides users with a range of flexible options, allowing them to tailor their payment plans and instance types to suit their specific needs. Notably, Snowflake closely aligns its charges with actual resource usage, enabling users to start or stop operations almost instantaneously to mitigate the risks of over or underprovisioning. The seamless scalability of resources ensures that computational, storage, and operational requirements can be effortlessly adjusted to meet the users’ evolving needs. Embracing a more detailed understanding of Snowflake pricing empowers users to optimize their resource utilization effectively.

Worth Consideration

Snowflake can be considered worth it for companies seeking to alleviate data cloud bottlenecks through its innovative three-layered architecture and flexible pay-as-you-go pricing model. The platform offers a streamlined approach to data management that enables organizations to optimize their resources efficiently and effectively. By leveraging Snowflake’s capabilities, businesses can enhance their data analytics processes and scale their operations without being burdened by upfront costs. Overall, the combination of its architecture and pricing structure positions Snowflake as a compelling solution for companies aiming to unlock the full potential of their data assets.

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Dolan Cleary

Dolan Cleary

I am a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin - Stout and am now working with AllCode as a web technician. Currently working within the marketing department.

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