Best Snowflake Interview Questions and Answers

1. What is Snowflake Cloud Data Warehouse?

Ans. Snowflake is a cloud-based data platform that is provided as Software-as-a-Service(SaaS).  It was built for data storing and retrieving data. It was built with a new SQL engine and a unique architecture that enables data processing, storage, and analytic solutions that are flexible than the traditional offerings. Snowflake allows its users to operate ‘n’ number of workloads against the same data without any risks.

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2. What is Snowflake architecture?

Ans. Snowflake Architecture is a mix of the traditional shared-disk and the shared-nothing architectures and offers the best of both. Like the simplicity of shared-disk architecture with the benefits of the shared-nothing architecture. Snowflake architecture consists of three layers:

  1. Data Storage: Here data is stored in compressed and columnar format
  2. Query Processing: The queries are processed using Virtual warehouses
  3. Cloud Services: Collection of activities such as security, authentication, access control, query optimization coordinated across Snowflake take place in this layer.

3. What are the features of Snowflake Cloud Data Warehouse?

Ans. The features of Snowflake Cloud Data Warehouse are mentioned below:

  • Data protection and security
  • Data sharing
  • Database and object closing
  • Support for XML
  • Security and data protection
  • Search Optimization service
  • Meta store integration
  • External tables
  • Supports geospatial data
  • Result caching
  • Zero copy cloning
  • Autoscaling
  • Robust data protection features
  • Time travel
  • Dedicated virtual warehouse

4. What is Snowflake ETL?

Ans. ETL means Extract, Transform, and Load. It is a process of extracting data from multiple sources such as third-party apps, databases, etc; transforming them into a compatible format and loading them into a particular data warehouse. The term “Snowflake ETL” refers to using the ETL method to load data into the Snowflake data warehouse. This includes extracting relevant data from data sources, transforming the data to make it analysis-ready, and then loading it into Snowflake.

5. What are the different types of Snowflake editions? Explain them briefly.

Ans. Snowflake has four different editions, each developed to help customers based on their requirements:

  1. Standard Edition: Also called the Introductory level offering, the standard edition is best for beginners and provides unlimited access to Snowflake’s standard features
  2. Enterprise Edition: This edition provides all the features pf standard edition along with the additional features that were designed for large scale enterprises
  3. Businesscritical Edition: Formerly known as the Enterprise for Sensitive Data (ESD), this edition offers high-level data protection in order to protect the sensitive data
  4. Virtual Private Snowflake(VPS): VPS is the highest level of security for organizations with strict requirements such as financial institutions

6. Name a few Snowflake ETL Tools

Ans. below mentioned are a few of the snowflake ETL tools:

Blendo: The first and foremost feature of blendo is that it requires No Coding! Whatever your data and data warehouse is, blendo shall always deliver consistent and analytics-ready data. This tool is fast and latest; allows simple yet effective monitoring of your data pipelines and has easy-to-use data source integration.

Matillion: Matillion offers two services – Matillion Data Loader and Matillion ETL. It offers complete data integration as well as a transformation solution that is designed specifically for cloud and cloud data warehouses. These data transformations are accomplished by custom SQL.

Hevo Data: The fastest and easiest way to get data into a warehouse is done using Hevo Data. This software also doesn’t require Coding and is easy to set up. It provides reliable data replication, zero data loss, pipeline visibility, schema management, etc.

StreamSets: Just like Matillion, StreamSets is also available in two versions – Data Collector and Data Transformer. This software has an unmatched pipeline resiliency, is easy to start and extend, and provides hybrid, multi-cloud portability. Custom data processors can be written and also allows customers to add new data sources.

Etleap: This software was built for modern data teams. It provides effortless integration for applications, databases, event streams, etc. This will be managed, controlled, and monitored by you and only you. It also provides robust pipelines irrespective of the number of databases you are integrating.

Apache Airflow: Apache Airflow is scalable, dynamic, extensible, and elegant. It is open-source software and is free for download, unlike the above-mentioned software. You can manage, monitor, and schedule your workflows through this robust and modern platform.

7. What is zero-copy cloning?

Ans. Zero copy cloning refers to the capacity to reproduce an object without making a physical copy or incurring additional storage fees. Because expenses are kept low but the potential is not limited, this provides for far more environmental freedom.

8. How to access Snowflake Data Warehouse?

Ans. Snowflake Data Warehouse can be accessed through:

  1. Python libraries
  2. Web user interface
  3. OBDC Drivers
  4. JDBC Drivers
  5. SnowSQL Command-line Client

9. What are the advantages of Snowflake Data Warehouse?

Ans. The following are the advantages of Snowflake Data Warehouse:

  1. Easy Implementation: Snowflake is largely regarded as one of the most accessible data warehouses for cloud migration. And it is flexible as well as efficient
  2. No administration: Snowflake is a completely cloud-based software which means it does not require IT infrastructure or administration. It has data protection, built-in speed optimization, safe data sharing, etc.
  3. Security and Access: Snowflake includes built-in security that complies with SOC 1 and 2 Type II, as well as PCI DSS regulations, with extra encryption and network security options available.
  4. Performance: With concurrent workloads separated on dedicated resources, Snowflake provides near-infinite scalability. This means that every user, team, application, or automated job can function independently of the rest of the system without affecting its overall performance.
  5. Sharing: Without duplicating or moving data out of the data warehouse, your team may collaborate in real-time throughout your enterprise and with external business partners or other organizations thanks to Snowflake’s unique data-sharing features

10. What are the different types of catches in Snowflake?

Ans. There are three types of catches in Snowflake:

  • Query Results
  • Metadata
  • Virtual Warehouse Local Disk Caching

11. What is SFSQL?

Ans. SFSQL enables you with a command-line interface to connect to Snowflake via JDBC to execute SQL queries and also helps you in performing DDL and DML operations, including uploading and downloading data from database tables.

12. What type of driver is provided with Snowflake?

Ans. A JDBC type 4 driver is provided with Snowflake which supports the functionality of the core JDBC. This driver can be installed on a 64-bit platform and needs a java software version of 1.8 or higher.

13. What is the purpose of a JDBC driver in a snowflake?

Ans. In snowflake, a JDBC driver is used to connect with most of the applications/tools that support JDBC.

14. What is Time Travel in Snowflake?

Ans. The time travel feature in snowflake helps you to access historical data when required within a defined timeframe. It is a unique feature that performs the tasks like restoring data-related objects, analyzing data usage, and backing up the data from the key points in the past.

15. What is Secure data sharing in snowflake?

Ans. In Snowflake, secure data sharing helps you to share objects (Like Tables, External tables, Secure views, Secure materialized views, Secure UDF’s) selectively in your account with other accounts present in the snowflake environment.

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