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It might be difficult to ensure that your company’s Snowflake storage costs are adequately handled when Snowflake offers a wide choice of storage options and pricing structures. However, by using a few basic best practices, you may drastically lower your storage expenses while maintaining performance and data security. Snowflake’s cloud data platform includes powerful capabilities such as Continuous Data Protection (CDP) and Time Travel, which give unrivaled data protection and flexibility. While these capabilities are quite useful, they do have an effect on storage costs, especially when dealing with short-lived or high-churn tables. In this article, we’ll examine the best practices for controlling Snowflake table storage costs.

Estimating your storage needs precisely is the first step in controlling your Snowflake storage costs. This can be done by analyzing the data types stored, the total amount of data, and the data access rates. After deciding how much space you need, you can begin looking at Snowflake’s several storage options. There are benefits and drawbacks to using each of Snowflake’s storage options. Permanent tables, for example, are kept on long-lasting drives and provide the best speed and data safety. However, they can be costly, particularly for huge datasets. Transient tables are much cheaper than permanent tables because they are stored in memory. However, they are only accessible during the current session and are not CDP protected. Your particular needs will determine the best type of storage for you. Permanent tables are the best solution if you need to store vast volumes of data and need the finest performance and data safety. Transient tables may be a better alternative if you need to store smaller amounts of data and are ready to forgo some performance and data protection.

Short-Lived Tables

Snowflake’s short-lived tables are required for ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) and data modeling. They are so-called because they are created for a specific purpose and subsequently discarded. These tables are frequently created during the ‘Transform’ phase of an ETL operation. Data from various sources may need to be cleaned, reshaped, or otherwise transformed before being loaded into the storage system. These conversions may necessitate intermediate storage and multiple stages. Tables with a short lifespan are beneficial. For example, before integrating data from different tables, you may need to save intermediate findings. These findings can be saved in a temporary table. After the final aggregate, the temporary table can be removed. In addition, short-lived tables can be utilized for exploratory data analysis and modeling studies. They allow you to explore without having to change the data or models.

High-Churn Tables

High-churn tables, as opposed to short-lived tables, can have a considerable impact on storage costs due to their frequent updates or deletions. Such frequent changes result in more data passing through the CDP life-cycle, raising the storage costs associated with Time Travel and Fail-safe data. Although most dimension tables are modest and receive few updates, larger, high-churn dimension tables might incur significant costs. If your dimension tables are causing significant CDP costs, the best approach is to design them as transient tables with no Time Travel retention.

Cost Management of Short Lived Tables: Temporary and Transient Table

In Snowflake, managing costs for short-lived tables involves efficient use of temporary and transient tables. Temporary tables exist only within a user session and should be dropped when not needed to avoid storage costs. Transient tables persist beyond sessions but, like temporary tables, have a Time Travel retention period of 0 or 1 day, limiting CDP charges. It’s recommended to set `DATA_RETENTION_TIME_IN_DAYS` to 0 for these tables to further reduce costs, though it disables Time Travel. Therefore, careful planning, diligent session management, and appropriate setting of Time Travel retention can significantly lower storage costs.

Cost Management of High Churn Tables: Backups and Transient Tables

Consider designing large, high-churn tables as transient tables with no Time Travel retention to strike a balance between cost-effectiveness and data preservation. This design reduces storage expenses while still allowing you to perform critical activities. Regular backups should be done to ensure data safety by putting these transitory tables into a permanent table. This generates a complete backup that is CDP-protected. When a fresh backup is produced, the old one can be removed, ensuring data security while saving money. This method necessitates careful thought about backup frequency. A daily backup is a good idea for most high-volume tables.

Key Takeaways

To summarize, efficient management of Snowflake’s storage costs necessitates a systematic approach to the use of permanent, temporary, and transient tables, supported by a thorough understanding of their lifecycles and attributes. To minimize costly Continuous Data Protection (CDP) expenses, short-lived tables require careful preparation and session management. Optimizing data retention settings and cutting off connections as soon as possible can lower costs even more. Transient tables, together with a robust backup strategy, can strike a compromise between cost-effectiveness and data integrity for high-churn data. By implementing these techniques, you may optimize your resource use, improve the efficiency of your platform, and enjoy considerable cost savings in your Snowflake data environment.

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