Snowflake was founded in 2012 to be a new type of data-warehousing company, and in recent years it has become much more than that. While markedly smaller than every other company on the Cloud Wars Top 10—Snowflake will likely finish calendar 2021 with revenue of just over $1 billion, while the other 9 will have average cloud revenue for the year of $27 billion—Snowflake has triggered massive disruptions across the entire cloud industry. It has done so by creating a new paradigm—the data cloud—and using modern architecture to overcome many of the constraints that business users have faced in trying to unleash the full potential of their data.
And the Snowflake wake of disruption has not been merely technological or theoretical: for its fiscal Q4 ending Jan. 31, Snowflake’s product revenue soared 117% to $178 million. On top of that, Snowflake’s RPO (remaining performance obligation) jumped an astonishing 213% in that same period, providing powerful evidence that there’s plenty of steep growth still to come.
Among Snowflake’s various high-impact innovations are these three:
– taking a data-centric view to create a new type of cloud-native architecture;
– recognizing that the sharing of external data needs to be made as simple, safe and secure as the sharing of internal data; and
– adding a concerted and company-wide focus on vertical-industry specialization so it can help drive not only IT modernizations but also large-scale business transformations.
Snowflake’s cloud services
Being an entirely new type of cloud provider—the data cloud—Snowflake doesn’t follow the traditional IaaS-PaaS-SaaS categorization of most cloud vendors. Instead, Snowflake focuses intensely on make any type of cloud data accessible and manageable so that business users can reason over that data to drive new business insights. Snowflake’s promise is to help users “get the performance, flexibility, and near-infinite scalability to easily load, integrate, analyze, and securely share your data.”
The company’s unique promise is that it can natively integrate storage, computing and services so that business users and their workloads can access a single, consistent copy of your data so that the organization has a single version of truth. And Snowflake further promises to achieve those results without reducing performance.
Snowflake also says its data-management solutions allow it to be a single source for any type of service a customer might need: data warehousing, data lakes, data engineering, data science, data application development, and for securely sharing and consuming shared data.
Why Snowflake has earned a spot in the Cloud Wars Top 10
One of the key criteria for being on the Cloud Wars Top 10 is ambition: dreaming big dreams, seeing what others don’t see and turning those visions into reality.
What Snowflake (at least for now) might lack in relative revenue volume, it more than makes up for in bold and customer-centric ambition.
The company’s disruptive impact, surging growth rates and strategic leapfrogging of far larger and more deeply entrenched competitors give Snowflake full credibility for inclusion among the world’s most-influential cloud providers.
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