Apache Druid vs Snowflake
Compare and contrast Apache Druid and Snowflake by architecture, ingestion, queries, performance, and scalability.
Apache Druid vs Snowflake Architecture
Druid’s architecture employs nodes called data servers that are used for both ingestion and queries. High ingestion or query load can cause CPU and memory contention compared with Druid alternatives. Breaking apart the pre-packaged ingestion and query server components involves planning ahead and additional complexity, and is not dynamic.
Snowflake is the data warehouse built for the cloud. Snowflake is well-known for separating storage and compute for better price performance. With Snowflake, multiple virtual warehouses can be spun up or down for batch data loading, transformations and queries all on the same shared data.
Apache Druid vs Snowflake Ingestion
Druid has built-in connectors that manage ingestion from common data sources. Unlike some Druid competitors, it doesn’t support nested data, so data must be flattened at ingest. Denormalization is also required at ingest, increasing operational burden for certain use cases.
Snowflake is an immutable data warehouse that is built for batch ingestion and relies heavily on the modern data stack ecosystem for data connectors and transformations. Snowflake has a number of integrations to ETL and ELT solutions including Fivetran, Hevo, Striim and dbt. While Snowflake does have support for semi-structured data in the form of a VARIANT type, it is best to structure the data for optimal query performance.
Apache Druid vs Snowflake Performance
Druid is designed to make streaming data queryable as quickly as possible. JOINs are either impossible or incur a large performance penalty. Updates are only possible via batch jobs. Druid leverages data denormalization and write-time aggregation at ingestion to reduce query latency.
Snowflake is designed for batch analytics with analysts and data scientists infrequently accessing large-scale data for trend analysis. Snowflake, like many data warehouses, is immutable and does not support frequently changing data efficiently. Snowflake uses a columnar store to return aggregations and metrics efficiently, often with query response times in the seconds to minutes on petabytes of data.
Apache Druid vs Snowflake Queries
Druid has a native JSON-based query language and provides Druid SQL as an alternative that translates into its native queries. JOINs are not recommended.
Snowflake supports SQL as its native query language and can perform SQL joins. Snowflake for developers introduced a number of developer tools including SQL APIs, UDFs and drivers to support application development. As Snowflake was originally built for business intelligence workloads, it integrates with a number of visualization tools for trend analysis.
Apache Druid vs Snowflake Scalability
Druid users are exposed to complex decisions about the number and size of servers as clusters are scaled.
Snowflake virtual warehouses can be scaled up for faster queries or scaled out using multi-cluster warehouses to support higher concurrency workloads. Snowflake has shared blob storage that scales automatically and independently.