Snowflake vs Apache Pinot
Compare and contrast Snowflake and Apache Pinot by architecture, ingestion, queries, performance, and scalability.
Snowflake Architecture vs Apache Pinot
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.
Pinot is a real-time distributed OLAP datastore that ingests both batch and streaming data. It has a distributed systems architecture that scales both horizontally and vertically, but unlike alternative OLAP databases, it does not decouple storage and compute. It supports both self-managed and PaaS options.
Snowflake Ingestion vs Apache Pinot
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.
Pinot supports high-performance ingest from streaming data sources. Each table is either offline or real time. Real-time tables have a smaller retention period and scale based on ingestion rate while offline tables have a larger retention period and scale based on the amount of data. In order to persistently store the generated segments that make up a table, you will need to change controller and server configs to add deep storage.
Snowflake Queries vs Apache Pinot
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.
In Pinot, SQL-like queries are received by brokers and scatter the request between real-time and offline servers. The two tables then process requests, send results back to the broker, and responds with the result. Joins are limited, as is support for UDFs and subqueries, making Pinot more or less useful depending on the use case.
Snowflake Performance vs Apache Pinot
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.
Like its competitors, Pinot can achieve sub-second query latency at high concurrency. However, this level of performance requires tuning, management, and deep expertise. Compared with the open-source version, the PaaS versions of Pinot address some of these issues, but similarly require expertise while making tradeoffs affecting query performance.
Snowflake Scalability vs Apache Pinot
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.
Pinot allows for vertical scaling by increasing CPU and memory for each node as well as horizontal scaling by adding additional nodes. Capacity planning is a time-consuming, iterative, and manual task. It involves load testing and tuning across multiple vectors including read QPS, write QPS, number of streaming partitions, daily data size, retention period, types of workloads, number and type of segments, and much more.