Elasticsearch vs Snowflake
Compare and contrast Elasticsearch and Snowflake by architecture, ingestion, queries, performance, and scalability.
Elasticsearch Architecture vs Snowflake
Elasticsearch is an open-source distributed search engine built on Apache Lucene, a full text search library. Elasticsearch is a distributed system, which means that it is designed to operate across multiple nodes, each responsible for a part of the data.
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.
Elasticsearch Ingestion vs Snowflake
Elasticsearch has a number of integrations as well as a REST API. It is a NoSQL database and natively supports semi-structured data. Transformations typically occur upstream so that data can be modeled for optimal performance before it is indexed in Elasticsearch.
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.
Elasticsearch Queries vs Snowflake
Elasticsearch has its own domain specific language (DSL) based on JSON. Joins are not a first class citizen in Elasticsearch requiring a number of complex and expensive workarounds. Elasticsearch is known for its developer tooling and supports a number of client libraries. Kibana is the visualization layer for Elasticsearch and is frequently used for log analytics and monitoring.
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.
Elasticsearch Performance vs Snowflake
Elasticsearch is a search engine that utilizes an inverted index. Although this approach leads to storage amplification, it also enables low-latency queries that demand less computation. Elasticsearch is tailored to accommodate large scale, append-only data such as logs, events, and metrics. To manage frequently updated data, users often utilize the Bulk API to minimize computational costs and ensure consistent query performance.
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.
Elasticsearch Scalability vs Snowflake
Elasticsearch is horizontally scalable and can scale by adding more nodes to the cluster. Its tightly coupled architecture means that compute and storage scale together for performance. This often results in resource contention and overprovisioning. Scaling Elasticsearch often requires deep expertise as there are many levels of the system that need to be managed- the server, operating system, network and software.
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.