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Databricks vs Snowflake: Which platform is best for you?

Brian Chung

Solutions Engineer, Intel Granulate

Comparing Databricks and Snowflake

Both Databricks and Snowflake hold esteemed positions in the cloud data platform realm, albeit for distinct roles and audiences. 

Databricks stands out for its capabilities in extensive data handling, analytics, and AI undertakings. It is commonly used by data engineers, data scientists, and machine learning engineers who require a powerful tool for data processing. Well-suited for users who want to work with unstructured or semi-structured data, run data transformations, and build complex data pipelines. Its primary focus is on data storage, management, and structured querying, making it ideal for organizations looking to store and analyze structured data efficiently.

 On the other hand, Snowflake shines as a premier solution for cloud-centric data warehousing. It is typically used by data analysts, data engineers, and data scientists who need a centralized and scalable repository for storing and analyzing large volumes of structured and semi-structured data.

Let’s delve into a side-by-side analysis:

User Experience and Support Overview

Databricks takes pride in offering a cohesive environment designed to enhance teamwork and collaboration. It provides support for a multitude of coding languages and interactive modules, all within the framework of Apache Spark. This comprehensive approach simplifies the creation, deployment, and management of complex data pipelines and AI-driven workflows. With Databricks, teams can seamlessly work together, leveraging its versatile ecosystem to tackle data-intensive tasks effectively.

In contrast, Snowflake is celebrated for its user-centric design philosophy. It presents a fully managed, scalable, and intuitively structured data warehousing platform. Snowflake’s SQL-centric interface makes it exceptionally accessible, appealing to a wide spectrum of users, from technically proficient data experts to business analysts. Its user-friendly approach ensures that individuals with varying levels of technical expertise can navigate the platform with ease, fostering a collaborative environment for data-driven decision-making.

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Data Protection Measures

Databricks equips its platform with top-tier security mechanisms such as comprehensive data encryption, user-specific access privileges (RBAC), and detailed activity records. Moreover, it aligns with multiple industry benchmarks including GDPR, HIPAA, and SOC 2.

In terms of safeguarding data, Snowflake integrates potent security tools, including comprehensive encryption, dual-step verification (MFA), and RBAC. It maintains conformity with standards like GDPR, HIPAA, SOC 1, SOC 2, and PCI DSS.

Databricks and Snowflake Interoperability Features


  1. Apache Spark Integration: Databricks seamlessly integrates with Apache Spark for distributed data processing and analytics.
  2. Data Source Connectors: It offers various connectors for easy integration with diverse data sources, including systems like HDFS, Amazon S3, Azure Data Lake Storage, Delta Lake, and more.
  3. Cloud Service Compatibility: Databricks can integrate with major cloud services like AWS, Azure, and GCP.
  4. Machine Learning Support: Users can build and deploy machine learning models within the platform. It’s also compatible with AI frameworks like TensorFlow, PyTorch, and scikit-learn.
  5. Data Visualization: Databricks is compatible with data visualization tools such as Tableau and Power BI.


  1. Data Sharing: Snowflake allows secure data sharing and collaboration with other users or organizations.
  2. Standard SQL: It supports standard SQL for compatibility with existing data workflows.
  3. Third-Party Integrations: Snowflake works with BI tools like Tableau, Looker, and Power BI for data visualization.
  4. Cloud Platform Native: Snowflake natively operates on leading cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, and GCP, enabling seamless integration with cloud services and resources. It efficiently sources data from cloud repositories including Amazon S3, Azure Blob Storage, and Google Cloud Storage.

Pricing Structures

Databricks adopts a usage-centric pricing strategy, charging users based on the digital resources they employ during operations. The fee structure hinges on aspects like the volume of virtual machines, operational duration, and data accommodation. Databricks extends diverse pricing levels to accommodate a spectrum of needs and financial plans.

Snowflake’s billing mechanism operates on a pay-for-what-you-use principle, with costs pegged to the volume of computational and storage assets leveraged. Notably, Snowflake delineates computational and storage expenses, granting users the autonomy to modulate and fine-tune costs separately. It presents both on-the-spot and advance-purchase pricing modalities.

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Databricks Optimization Opportunities

If you decide to go with Databricks, you might find that costs can rise significantly as the technology experiences widespread adoption across the organization. Fortunately, there are a variety of Databricks optimization best practices that can improve performance and mitigate costs at the same time.

In addition to those strategies, like using Photon acceleration and enabling spot instances, Intel-Granulate provides autonomous, continuous Databricks optimization which provides added value despite existing initiatives. With Intel-Granulate’s optimization solution, companies can minimize processing costs across Spark workloads in Databricks environments and allow data engineering teams to improve performance and reduce processing time.

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