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Dremio and Snowflake are both leading ETL software products. For organizations creating data lakes or data warehouses, either Dremio or Snowflake will likely provide the necessary power, functionality, and support. But while the two products are similar, there are some marked differences in ease of use, setup and price.

What is Dremio?

Dremio is an open-source data management tool designed to make data warehousing obsolete. It connects directly to various data sources, including relational databases, big data clusters, and cloud storage services. This data forms a data lake, which the organization may then explore, query and analyze.

What is Snowflake?

Snowflake is a cloud-based data warehouse that provides a simple, secure and scalable way to store and analyze data. Snowflake draws data from a variety of data sources, similar to Dremio, and then consolidates and stores that data for further exploration and analysis.

Dremio’s key features

Some of Dremio’s key features include:

  • Ease of use: Even those inexperienced in data engineering should be able to use Dremio with some light training.
  • Data source integration: With Dremio, your organization can connect to a wide range of data sources, including relational databases, big data clusters and cloud storage services.
  • Exploration and analysis: Dremio pulls data from multiple sources into a single, consolidated data lake, making it easier to glean critical insights from disparate data sources.
  • Scalability and security: Dremio provides advanced security features such as the ability to mask access to specific data sets.

Altogether, Dremio facilitates fast access to organizational data through consolidated data lakes, making it easier for an organization to fully utilize its data, even if it is coming from disparate sources.

Can Dremio connect to Snowflake?

Dremio and Snowflake are not mutually exclusive. Snowflake provides a data warehouse, whereas Dremio provides a data lake. Consequently, Dremio can pull data from Snowflake for further consolidation.

Does Dremio store data?

Dremio stores metadata about the data it interacts with and analyzes, but it doesn’t store the data itself. It is not a data warehousing tool but rather a meta-tool that operates as a layer above the organization’s data sources.

Snowflake’s key features

Some of Snowflake’s key features include:

  • Cloud accessibility: Snowflake is a cloud-based data warehouse, allowing organizations to access their data from anywhere.
  • Security: Snowflake is both secure and resilient, with security features such as best-in-class encryption standards, user authentication and security validation.
  • Easy to launch: Most organizations will get Snowflake up and running quickly; while it may not be as easy to use as Dremio, it is easy to deploy.

Snowflake provides complete, next-generation data warehousing, analytics and processing. It is an entirely unique system, not built on any other data storage or data processing platform.

Can you use Snowflake as a data lake?

Like Dremio, Snowflake can utilize a data lake. Snowflake is a complete, all-in-one central data repository. It can warehouse data in full, store modifications to data or access existing data from other data wells.

What technology does Snowflake use?

Snowflake uses SQL standards. However, it’s an entirely new SQL engine – it doesn’t use preexisting technologies such as MySQL, Microsoft SQL or Hadoop.

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Dremio vs. Snowflake: Head-to-head comparisons

Open source
Standard: Free
On Request Compute Based
Data lake
Data Vitualization
Data Warehousing
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Dremio vs. Snowflake: Key considerations

Big data

If you’re looking for ETL tools for big data, both Dremio and Snowflake perform exceptionally well. As cloud-based SaaS solutions, they can requisition additional resources as needed.

Dremio and Snowflake are equally robust, scalable and stable, even with extensive data sets.

Customer support

Both Dremio and Snowflake get high marks for customer support, but Snowflake’s support is frequently cited as being more accessible and responsive.

Dremio provides support contacts for those with a Dremio account, with ticket priorities ranging from urgent (1 hour) to low (2 business days). Comparatively, Snowflake provides a self-service help desk ticketing portal, with severity levels ranging from Severity-1 (inoperative) to Severity-4 (low-to-no impact).


Dremio is an open-source solution, so the platform itself costs nothing. Still, it’s difficult to say whether Dremio or Snowflake will be more affordable for a given business. While Dremio charges $0.39 per DCU, Snowflake’s pricing is based on the organization’s size.

Further, as the computational needs of each platform differ, the pricing of each will also differ, even if computational units are similar.

Which ETL software is best for your organization?

When choosing between popular product names, it’s important to choose the best ETL software for your organization.

Ask yourself the following questions about your organization and the role these ETL tools will play:

  • Does our organization need a data lake or a data warehouse?
  • Which system will improve the accessibility of our data the most?
  • Which platform can we reliably support, manage and maintain in-house?
  • How secure will the system be—how will it authenticate and protect our data?

Most organizations will find that both Dremio and Snowflake can suit their needs. Dremio will be easier to use, while Snowflake may provide some additional depth. Ultimately, it may come down to which system is easiest to use and maintain for your organization, which is something that can be learned by demoing the products.

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