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Snowflake analytics tools coming to Dell on-premises storage

A new partnership between Snowflake Inc. and Dell Technologies brings Snowflake Data Cloud's tools to on-premises object storage for the first time.

LAS VEGAS -- Snowflake Inc., a cloud data platform vendor, will expand its analytics platform to object data stored on premises for the first time through a new partnership with Dell Technologies.

The two companies unveiled the new partnership as part of the opening keynote during the first day at Dell Technologies World 2022, which is convening in person for the first time since 2019.

Snowflake Data Cloud connects with object data stored in the Dell EMC ECS Enterprise Object Storage platform, bringing the platform's analytics and data warehousing capabilities on premises. Data Cloud's capabilities include analytics, data lake generation, and governance or security policy creation.

Previously, the Snowflake Data Cloud interacted exclusively with object data stored on AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. Data Cloud's new capabilities can also move data from Dell ECS Enterprise Object Storage appliances into hyperscaler storage services as well as back on premises, enabling users to shift data for workload demands or cost savings as needed.

The new interconnectivity and capabilities between the Dell ECS platform and Snowflake Data Cloud will be available in the second half of 2022.

Customers want technology like Snowflake [Data Cloud], and they need the flexibility to deploy it wherever they want.
Scott SinclairSenior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group

Hyperscalers are ultimately data centers owned by other companies and outside the direct control of a user, said Scott Sinclair, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, a division of TechTarget. The loss of control might be a deal breaker for some industries that want the analytics and policy creation tools offered by Data Cloud, but can't or don't want to move data into hyperscaler storage.

"Customers want technology like Snowflake [Data Cloud], and they need the flexibility to deploy it wherever they want," Sinclair said. "[Customers have] said the cloud is the data center I don't own."

Into the user's warehouse

Bringing cloud technology and tools like Snowflake into the on-premises data center is part of an ongoing effort by Dell to reduce customer barriers for multi-cloud data, said Chuck Whitten, co-chief operating officer at Dell Technologies, during a media Q&A following the keynote.

More companies and clouds are attempting to lock users into their ecosystems and technologies, he said, when many customers are already attempting to use a mix of public and private clouds or on-premises storage silos.

Dell will continue to aim for interoperability across partner vendors and seek to maintain a multi-cloud future, even as the company develops turnkey, all-inclusive products such as the Apex as-a-service portfolio, Whitten said.

"The world doesn't need another walled garden," he said.

That worldview matches Snowflake's own, according to Clarke Patterson, senior director of market intelligence at Snowflake.

Snowflake Data Cloud connects to data using the ubiquitous Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) for connecting APIs with object storage. The Amazon S3 protocol gives Snowflake a good base to build additional capabilities and features in the future according to user demand, he said.

"This allows us to meet [our customers] where they are," Patterson said. "Walled gardens for us are silos, and we're trying to break down [any silos]."

Snowflake launched a new industry-specific version of its platform, the Retail Data Cloud, earlier this year, and has released versions for other industries including finance, media and healthcare. The company is also developing versions for education and public sector uses, which often must more stringently follow specific legal data storage laws.

Tim McCarthy is a journalist living on the North Shore of Massachusetts. He covers cloud and data storage news.

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