Snowflake Interview Questions – Know More

Snowflake is a cloud data platform. It basically serves as a device for giving easy access to data usage, securing the data, and managing it. It uses the concept of a warehouse and provides an integrated view of the data. Snowflake primarily functions as a cloud data warehouse. It is employed for use by over 80 companies for their data storage and processing necessities. Big companies like Logitech, Accenture use the snowflake software. Let us know ‘Snowflake Interview Questions’.

Snowflake Interview Questions

Snowflake Interview Questions

It is gaining huge momentum in  The US, and thus demand for candidates who are well-versed and aware of Snowflake is increasing. If you are a tech student who knows the ins and outs of Snowflake, you have an edge over the competition. 

The basic questions that are asked about Snowflake in an interview can be

  • What is Snowflake?
  • How does Snowflake work to store data?   
  • Mention the various editions of Snowflake    
  • What is special about Snowflake that makes it successful
  • What are the features of Snowflake?
  • What is Snowflake ETL?
  • Explain the concept of Fail-safe.
  • What type of database is Snowflake?

You can also find answers to these questions below

If we do a deeper dive, Snowflake is actually a SaaS tool, which simply means Software as a service. It is available over the internet as a subscription and doesn’t have to be manually loaded onto a computer. It needs no hardware, software, maintenance, or tuning.  Snowflake runs on Amazon web services, Microsoft Azure, and the Google cloud platform. It is an innovative tool that carries out data partitioning in micro-partitions. It plays a part in the storage, analysis, cleansing, and sharing of data. 

Snowflake supports computing languages like Java, Python, .Net, and Go language. If you choose to install Snowflake, no hardware needs to be installed and there is no additional software that has to be installed or updated. Every update and maintenance is taken care of by Snowflake. The smooth running of the software is not the user’s concern.

Snowflake’s origin story

 Fun fact, the founders of Snowflake were huge fans of winter sports. That’s why they chose the name “Snowflake” to symbolize their love for the games. In 2019, Snowflake was ranked first in the  Forbes Cloud 100 list.  The first time I heard this term my mind went back to the snowy mountains of the north, where a small child would try to catch a snowflake falling from the sky. I wasn’t far from the truth but it was regarding the origins of this company and not what the company was about. 

Three people are the center points of the Snowflake origin story. These are Marcin Żukowski, Benoit Dageville and Thierry Cruanes. Two of the latter were data architects and Marcin cofounded a Dutch start-up. Their first CEO was a venture capitalist.

In October 2014 the company went out of stealth mode with the raising of 26 million dollars. 80 organizations were using Snowflake at the time. They launched their first product in 2015 – a cloud data warehouse. In 2018, the company’s worth was about 3.5 billion dollars. In 2020, Snowflake became a public company with the largest software IPO. Currently, their main office is situated in Bozeman, Montana and they have decided to not have a headquarters.

Snowflake’s rich history and growth as a company are essential to its success.  Interviewers can ask several questions about Snowflake in a job interview.

What questions will be asked regarding Snowflake?

Specifically, here are some snowflake interview questions with a sample answer to help you prepare and crush that interview!

1) What is Snowflake?

Snowflake is a cloud-based data warehouse and analytical tool that is provided as a SaaS. It is built on a SQL database engine. It has a unique architecture built for data handling which makes it easier and more efficient to use. It was first recognized for the ability to load and sort massive volumes of data. It is the solution for all things data-related.

2) Explain Snowflake architecture.

Snowflake architecture is made of three layers: Data storage, Query processing, Cloud services It is based on Shared-disk architecture and shared-nothing architecture. Snowflake combines the best of both features in its architecture 

  • Data storage – the stored data is organized into its internal optimized, columnar, and compressed format. The data is charged per TB per month.
  • Query processing – Query is executed and processed in this layer. Snowflake makes use of a virtual warehouse to run queries in this layer. Snowflake provides MPP clusters consisting of multiple nodes and CPUs with Memory and storage that are provided as virtual warehouses. The number of warehouses varies based on the workload. These warehouses can also be stopped or started at any moment without disturbing the queries that are running at the time. 
  • Cloud services – services of this layer usually coordinate & manage activities throughout Snowflake. The services that fall under this include authentication, metadata management, infrastructure management, access control, and query analysis and optimization.

All three layers can operate independently and any one of them can be scaled according to use. 

3) What is ETL with reference to Snowflake?

Extraction, Transformation and Loading are abbreviated as ETL. The process involves

extracting data from one or more external sources and loading it into a particular data warehouse. Snowflake ETL is the process of using ETL to load data onto the Snowflake database. It also includes extracting data, transforming the data, and then loading the data.

4) Different editions of Snowflake.

  • Standard Edition: This is the introductory edition that provides unlimited access to standard features.
  • Enterprise Edition: It includes standard editing features as well as features that are specific to large industries.
  • Business-critical edition: It is also known as an Enterprise for Sensitive Data (ESD) The service offers high-level data protection to ensure the safety of your sensitive information.
  • Virtual Private Snowflake: This provides a high level of security for organizations that take care of financial activities.

5. Is Snowflake OLAP or OLTP?

This is a database system developed for OLAP(Online Analytical Processing). You can also use it to process online transactions (OLTP), depending on your needs.

 6. What is the schema in Snowflake?

Schema is a logical way of grouping data into tables, views, etc. It is used to organize data that is stored in Snowflake. The advantage of schema is that it uses less disk space and also gives a structured data outlook.

7. What are some features of Snowflake?

The unique features of Snowflake include:

  • Data Sharing
  • Cloud Services
  • Data Protection and Security
  • Database and Object Closing
  • Metastore Integration
  • Search Optimization service
  • Result Caching
  • Snowpipe
  • Result caching

8. What is Time Travel?

The time travel concept in snowflake refers to a feature that allows you to access data anytime from the past. This is possible during the specified period. For instance, a table of employees can be accessed that was accidentally deleted. By traveling five minutes in the past, you can access the table’s data.  Information can be retrieved easily through this method.

This is helpful when certain data is lost or gets deleted. You can use time travel to recover the data. It also helps to examine data usage and changes.

9. What type of database is Snowflake?

Snowflake, a relational database system, is powered by a SQL database that can be accessed in Excel, Tableau, and other utilities. This database includes a query tool that supports multi-statement transactions and role-based security. A SQL database should typically have these features.

10. How does Snowflake differ from AWS?

With Snowflake, you can manage storage and computation independently, and the cost of storage is comparable to the cost of data storage. AWS handles this by adding Redshift Spectrum, which offers reports instantly on S3, but not as continuously as Snowflake.

11. Is Snowflake data secure?

The encryption of customer accounts and data stored in the Snowflake application is protected by industry-leading security standards. Snowflake has implemented the highest standards of security  to safeguard customer data. End-to-end encryption protects all customer data in Snowflake.

The security features include :

  • With Snowflake-managed keys, the data is automatically encrypted.
  • Snowflake ensures that all data transfers and communications between the server and the clients are protected through secure TLS connections.·        
  • We can choose the location where our data is stored based on our cloud region.

 12. How does Snowflake compression benefit the user?

Since Snowflake compression reduces storage costs, it is less expensive than native cloud storage. For disk caches, there is no storage expense. There is virtually no cost for sharing or cloning data. 

13. What is the concept of fail-safe?

Failsafe is a feature where a certain period of time is specified, after which the data is not accessible or retrievable anymore. Fail-safe in Snowflake allows historical data to be recovered by Snowflake only for a period of 7 days. A time travel retention period usually begins once it has been completed or expired. Failure-safe does not provide a way for the historical data to be accessed after the retention period has ended.

14. Describe Snowpipe?

Data is loaded into the cloud warehouse using Snowpipe. A smaller batch size simplifies the process and accelerates loading. This saves time and money. It looks out for new data as it arrives into the storage system and loads it onto Snowflake.

15. What is Snowflake computing? 

This cloud data warehouse platform provides prompt, reliable, and governed access to the entire data network as well as a core architecture that supports multiple types of data workloads such as the development of modern data apps.  

16. What is meant by Snowflake caching?

Snowflake can cache the results of queries run. In addition to checking on previously executed queries when a new query is submitted, the system also checks on all recently executed queries. Any query that matches an existing query is cached if it finds a match. Rather than executing the query again, it uses the cached results. As a result, any number of users can benefit from Snowflake, that’s why it is called a global Snowflake catching platform.

 17. Which programming languages can you use in Snowflake?

Python, .NET, Go, Java, C, etc are supported in Snowflake

Conclusion :

Snowflake comes with numerous advantages over other cloud computing software. It is built entirely from scratch and not on an existing platform. This is why many companies are making the switch to Snowflake. Snowflake is the up and comer in the data processing game because of its high security and ease of use. Candidates looking for a job in the IT sector need to learn about Snowflake. In this article, we have covered most of the snowflake interview questions that can be asked and the possible answers for them. You can acquire Snowflake certification from online courses on sites such as Udemy. It will boost your resume and improve your chances of landing a  job. 

Frequently asked questions :

  1. What is special about Snowflake?

Snowflake is cloud-agnostic and works across AWS, Azure, and google. It has made data processing more simple than ever before. Users can perform data blending, analysis, and transformations with a single language against different data. The computing powers is scalable and users are charged based on their usage stats 

  1. What are the features of Snowflake?

Snowflake provides some innovative features like separation of storage, scalable compute, data sharing, cloning, and third-party support tools. They also provide data integration, business intelligence, advanced analytics, and security and governance

  1. What are the salary expectations for someone with snowflake knowledge?

Snowflake Data Architects in the United States earn around $179k per year on average. ·        

  1. What are the career opportunities available in connection to Snowflake?

Companies that employ the services of snowflake offer jobs like Application developers, data engineers, etc. You can also apply for jobs directly at Snowflake.      

  1. Why should a company go for snowflake software?

To efficiently organize your varying data ecosystem or a wide range of IoT solutions, you’ll need a scalable, and easy-to-use cloud-based data platform. Additionally, you need to use a cloud-optimized data integration solution so customers can run transformations on Snowflake data.

Snowflake Interview Questions – Know More

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