The Fairway Technologies Blog

Oracle vs. Snowflake: A Comparison

In data warehouse, snowflake, oracle No Comments
June 12, 2019


For years, Oracle has provided a number of quality database solutions to enterprises. Oracle has various offerings but it was primarily designed to be an OLTP database and that is where it has flourished. Since its release in 1980, database technology has evolved tremendously. Many companies have re-used older versions of an open-source database or technology retrofitted from 10-20 years ago. But, businesses deserve technology that was built for today. If you are contemplating upgrading your enterprise’s data systems, allow us to introduce you to the benefits of Snowflake, the data warehouse solution that was built for the cloud.

Snowflake’s data warehouse enables the data-driven enterprise with instant elasticity, secure data sharing, and per-second pricing across multiple clouds. Snowflake combines the power of data warehousing, the flexibility of big data platforms, and the elasticity of the cloud. In 2018, the company made the Forbes’ Cloud 100 List as one of the fastest growing cloud solutions in any domain. In this blog, we will compare Snowflake with traditional Oracle on-premise systems. For our purposes, we will not be looking at Oracle Exadata or the new Oracle Cloud. First, let’s take a look at some of the challenges businesses have had with Oracle.

Challenges With Traditional Oracle

As we mentioned above, Oracle was originally designed to be an OLTP database. It can do OLAP but it technically wasn’t designed for that. As a result, it requires a lot of maintenance and partitioning to make OLAP
work with terabytes of data. Furthermore, the standard on-premise Oracle database cannot scale beyond its hardware. This creates concurrency problems.

Oracle also requires a lot of maintenance. Typical customers will have one to four database administrators or more supporting databases, and have to do a lot of work to index and partition data.

One of the largest issues with Oracle, though, is cost. Oracle is one of the more expensive solutions out there. Pair that with all the other challenges associated with on-prem systems—hardware limitations, flexibility, upgrades/patches, etc.—and looking for another solution begins to become much more attractive.


Enter: Snowflake

At Fairway, we are generally technology agnostic. We find the best solution that fits your business’s needs. As far as data warehouses go though, we have not found a better solution than Snowflake, which is why we have partnered with the company to bring you best-in-breed data warehouse solutions. Snowflake has a myriad of features that set it apart from other data warehouses. In contrast to Oracle, Snowflake can scale to unlimited user concurrency. We have seen this in action on past projects where we have seen the performance of many queries improve by 100 times. The reason for this dramatic increase is that Snowflake has separation of compute from compute and compute from storage.

Snowflake is also scalable in terms of cost. Instead of paying a fixed rate for the service, Snowflake’s compute resources are elastic. That means you only pay for what you use. Snowflake also features high availability—that means no downtime for your organization. The database leverages Amazon or Azure regions for true high availability across the cloud. As far as other features, Snowflake handles JSON support better than Oracle. And, Oracle does not include Snowflake’s Zero-copy Clone, a feature that makes it easy to test and QA your database without physically copying your data.

Last but not least, Snowflake has comprehensive security measures built into it. It is PCI, SOC 2, and HIPAA compliant. It also has multi-factor authentication and role-based granular access control.


If you are thinking about migrating from Oracle to Snowflake or are already in the process of doing so, make sure to download the Oracle to Snowflake Migration Checklist! Fairway is partnered with Snowflake and has years of experience supporting database migrations including Snowflake DB implementations. And, if there are any Netezza users out there, make sure to check out this article on migrating from Netezza to Snowflake.

For any questions about migrating between Oracle and other databases to Snowflake, contact us for a complimentary Data Assessment.