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Escape from Snowflake's Costs: Unlock Savings and Speed with ClickHouse Cloud for Real-Time Analytics

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The ClickHouse Team
Sep 6, 2023

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ClickHouse Cloud outperforms Snowflake across both critical dimensions for real-time analytics: query latency and cost. We summarize the benefits of real-time analytics use cases and review key values and differences between ClickHouse Cloud and Snowflake.

Our benchmark analysis shows that ClickHouse Cloud outperforms Snowflake in both performance and cost for real-time analytics.

ClickHouse Cloud is built from the ground up to ensure blazing speed, out-of-the-box. In contrast, Snowflake gates critical query speed features behind higher pricing tiers. As our benchmark tests reveal, the result is that Snowflake's query response times, in their Standard tier, can be over tens of seconds for real-time analytics workloads - a nonstarter for many critical business use cases.

For mission-critical use cases that do require low latency, Snowflake users are thus left with skyrocketing costs. In our benchmark analysis, we found that the fastest queries required a staggering 15x increase in cost in Snowflake compared to ClickHouse Cloud.

On cost alone, for our benchmarks, we observed:

  • Querying in Snowflake is at a minimum 7x more expensive than ClickHouse Cloud, with standard Snowflake real-time queries running in tens of seconds, and ClickHouse Cloud queries returning in seconds or less.
  • To bring Snowflake to comparable query performance, Snowflake is 15x more expensive for querying than ClickHouse Cloud.
  • For data loading, Snowflake is at least 5x more expensive than ClickHouse Cloud.
  • To run production workloads of our benchmark analysis, Snowflake is at a minimum 3x more expensive than ClickHouse Cloud.
  • To bring Snowflake to comparable performance to ClickHouse Cloud in these production scenarios, Snowflake is 5x more expensive than ClickHouse Cloud.

On performance, our analysis demonstrates that:

  • ClickHouse Cloud querying speeds are over 2x faster compared to Snowflake.
  • ClickHouse Cloud results in 38% better data compression than Snowflake.

Real-time analytics is becoming the most powerful data tool for businesses today.

Real-time analytics unlocks tremendous value in data, offering the powerful capacity to deeply understand insights in the moment, as events are taking place. Applications of this technology are wide-ranging and span across industries and verticals - examples include instant intelligent automation, transaction monitoring, financial market assessments, e-commerce optimization, and many more. A real-time approach empowers businesses to respond swiftly to changing conditions, identify emerging trends, and optimize user-facing experiences.

At its core, a database that supports real-time analytics requires low-latency data ingestion, processing, and querying capabilities. These databases are typically designed for high concurrency, allowing multiple users or applications to interact with the data simultaneously, without compromising performance.

ClickHouse was purpose-built to solve these challenges, and to make real-time analytics accessible at scale.

Leverage the best tool for the job.

Snowflake is a cloud data warehouse that is well-optimized for executing long-running reports and ad-hoc data exploration.

ClickHouse is designed for real-time data analytics and exploration at scale, with features that are specifically crafted to eliminate the kinds of operational complexities that are typically found with traditional real-time systems.

  • ClickHouse manages ingestion pipelines and data transformations for you, so you don’t have to worry about running jobs and pipelines yourself.
  • Automatic scaling in ClickHouse ensures speed with efficient resource utilization, no matter how unpredictable your workloads are.
  • SQL queries become simpler through an extensive range of domain-specific functions.
  • Federated queries enable ad-hoc querying against data that lives outside of ClickHouse.
  • And, query performance is built in, not hidden behind advanced pricing tiers.

As the data and warehouse landscapes continue to evolve, we anticipate a growing overlap between workloads that could be run in either system - Snowflake or ClickHouse Cloud. Contact us today to learn more about real-time analytics with ClickHouse Cloud. Or, get started with ClickHouse Cloud and receive $300 in credits.

For further reading about our ClickHouse Cloud and Snowflake evaluation, see our series of blog posts, Comparing and Migrating, and Benchmarks and Cost Analysis. These extensively cover the architectural differences between ClickHouse Cloud and Snowflake, the data types supported by each, how to migrate data between them, as well as all the details behind our benchmark analysis.

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