Best Practices for Migrating into Snowflake’s Snowpark

AllCloud Blog:
Cloud Insights and Innovation

More companies are choosing Snowflake as their sole data platform due to its flexibility and leading-edge capabilities. One of its most powerful components is Snowpark, a development framework for fast, elastic, and secure data processing. Snowpark enables engineers and developers to write transformation code on Snowflake virtual warehouses without having to maintain extraneous infrastructure and to centralize their data operations onto a single platform. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of migrating to Snowpark, how to know if Snowpark is right for your company, and best practices for a seamless migration process. 

Benefits of Migrating to Snowpark

The advantages of migrating to Snowpark are a direct result of its exceptional capabilities. Here are a few of the most impactful benefits of using Snowpark.

Fully Managed Service: Snowflake is a fully managed service with robust enterprise governance, security, and performance, all inside a single platform.

Cost Savings: Customers report an average of 50% cost savings with 4x performance when using Snowpark versus Spark.

Infinitely Scalable: With Snowpark, you can instantly scale compute to make jobs run faster, all within the same platform, while freeing your skilled team members to work on other projects.  

Support for Popular Programming Languages and Frameworks: Snowpark lets you use Python, Java, or Scala with familiar DataFrame and custom function support to build powerful and efficient pipelines, machine learning workflows, and data applications. 

Is Snowpark Right for Your Use Case?

While just about every company can benefit from Snowpark’s capabilities, it’s an ideal fit for those with heavy data needs. To decide if Snowpark is right for your organization, ask yourself the following questions.

  • Does your team manage separate environments for your workloads and use Snowflake for analytics? 
  • Has your organization faced access control issues across teams or departments with workloads scattered across platforms? 
  • Are you currently dealing with unnecessary complexity in your data architecture, capacity management, or data pipelines? 
  • Do you move significant amounts of data for processing, and worry about the potential security risks that come with that movement? 
  • Does your data team have different language preferences, such as Python, SQL, and Java/Scala? 
  • Are you concerned about governance and usage across multiple data platforms?

If your answer to one or more of these questions is “yes,” your organization may see significant benefit from migrating to Snowpark.

Best Practices for Migrating to Snowpark

As a result of the many Snowpark migrations we’ve led for our customers, we’ve discovered several practices that streamline the process. To make your migration as efficient and effective as possible, we recommend the following. 

1. Start with a strategic plan 

Every migration will look different, depending on each organization’s existing data infrastructure, tech stack, and data needs. Start with an assessment that evaluates where you’re starting from and the best way to get from Point A to Point B. While timelines are always under pressure, and it’s tempting to dive into the migration work immediately, starting with a strategic plan will save you time and resources in the long run.

2. Consider performance-enhancement 

Snowpark coupled with a query acceleration service and Snowpark-optimized warehouses can reduce execution time on heavy workloads and significantly increase returns from data workloads. As you’re laying out your migration path, consider the following:

  • Leverage permanent registration to avoid pipeline impact.
  • Continue using custom Python libraries for efficiency.
  • Replace complex iterators with simple window operations to improve performance.
  • Go with minimal changes required to convert code.
  • Remember that Scala UDFs can be leveraged by non-Scala programmers. 
  • Remember that support for unstructured data allows for simplifying the code base with major performance improvements.
  • Strive for simplicity all around. Are you using redundant tools or approaches for the same outcome? Can you simplify your stack and achieve reduced operational overhead? Developers may find new optimizations by moving to Snowpark, even without major code changes.

AllCloud’s Phased Approach to Migration

AllCloud’s approach to migration evaluates where your organization is today and recognizes the systems and tools you have in place that are working well and incorporates them into your strategy and data journey. For example, using Snowpark in tandem with Databricks or SageMaker can lead to shorter SLAs, cheaper data science interfacing, and the replacement of redundant data engineering. We’ll help you evaluate whether consolidation or replacement is the best option to reach your goals, evaluate costs, and build a plan to move forward in the most efficient way possible. 

What to expect

When migrating to Snowpark with AllCloud, what can you expect? In the short term, customers see significantly faster performance and lower costs with Snowpark than with Spark.

Long-term, a myriad of benefits begin to layer upon one another, including:

  • Additional Cost Savings: Snowflake offers compounding cost savings over time when compared with Spark solutions thanks to its scalability and pricing model. 
  • Simplified Governance: Because Snowflake enables operation on a single platform and includes a variety of built-in governance features, compliance and access control are easier.
  • Improved Security: Snowflake leverages the most sophisticated cloud security technologies available and has achieved a wide spectrum of certifications and authorizations, including FedRAMP Moderate,  SOC 2 Type 2, PCI DSS, and HITRUST.

Snowpark Readiness Assessment and Workshop

With AllCloud’s free Snowpark Readiness Assessment and Analytics Evaluation Workshop, you’ll gain clarity on your current state and the opportunities available to you with Snowpark. The assessment and workshop illuminate important workload metrics that serve to guide migration recommendations. Deliverables include an assessment summary and readiness score so you can see the potential impact of cost savings, expected ROI, workload efficiencies, and more. 

Partnering with AllCloud

When you partner with AllCloud, you can have confidence in your migration strategy and data journey. We’ll help you evaluate whether consolidation or replacement is the best option to reach your goals, evaluate costs, and build a plan to move forward in the most efficient way possible. 

Learn more about partnering with AllCloud for your Snowpark migration.


Martin Esser

Sales Solutions Architect

Read more posts by Martin Esser