Supercharge Your Analysis with Direct Database Access

Chelsea Caltuna
February 24, 2020

Think fast – can you sort through billions of data points to find exactly the data you’re looking for? Can you connect multiple datasets and run complex queries…all within a few seconds? 

Well, you can now. Intrinio is excited to announce that we’re offering direct database access to our financial data through Snowflake’s platform.  

Intrinio + Snowflake

If you’re unfamiliar with Snowflake, here’s a quick primer. Snowflake is a data platform that leverages data warehousing technology and the cloud to help users handle large amounts of data efficiently. Users can write SQL queries to get exactly the data they need. Snowflake uses a massively parallel compute architecture that can process SQL queries on vast amounts of data, which can be difficult or impossible with traditional single-instance databases.  

We’re making Intrinio’s datasets available through Snowflake to give users who are currently retrieving data through our API another access option. Most of our customers use our API for one of two things: to directly power an application, or to transfer data into a database for further analysis. If you fall into the second category, Snowflake can open up a lot of possibilities. You can access Snowflake’s data warehouses directly, writing SQL queries to get the exact data you need.  

Why did we choose to integrate with Snowflake? Here’s a rundown of the benefits our customers get with direct database access.  

Simplicity

When you’re working with the Intrinio API, complex filtering isn’t always possible. You have to download the entire possible dataset, put it into your system, and then run a query against your database.  

Snowflake lets you skip a step and run that query without copying the data into your own system. You still have the ability to transfer the data into an internal database as needed, but you can also use Snowflake’s interface to save time and effort. Direct database access lets you query tons of additional datasets without an integration. Plus, since you can make queries in SQL, there’s not a huge learning curve.

Power

Direct database access allows you to scan terabytes of data to find exactly what you’re looking for, within seconds. This isn’t something you can easily do with API, CSV, or dataframes. You get the benefits of massive amounts of data, plus the control of advanced filtering. Whether you want ten results or 10,000, you can zero in on exactly the data you want. You can also export the data once your query is processed.  

While this advanced filtering comes at a cost of speed compared to our API, the queries still run fairly fast. Snowflake accomplishes this by having many copies of the data in distributed formats so that many kinds of queries can be run very quickly. All of that is kept in cold storage, whereas databases keep it in memory or in easily accessible storage on one machine. When you make a query, Snowflake retrieves the data required from the storage layer to satisfy the query. Once it’s retrieved, the data is cached in Snowflake for a time to improve the performance of future queries.  

Flexibility 

Every business’s system is different, so we offer multiple options for Snowflake integration.  

  1. If you’re already a Snowflake customer, we can share data with you instantly. With a few clicks, we can give you permission to access the desired dataset, and you can get started with it right away.  
  1. If you’re not already a Snowflake customer, we can set up private access to our Snowflake database for you. You’ll receive a Snowflake login and SQL connection string that grant you access to whichever Intrinio databases we set up for your account. You can either make queries directly in Snowflake’s platform or use your preferred database access tool. 

Snowflake bills itself as a data platform-as-a-service, eliminating the administration and management requirements of traditional data platforms. That means you can focus on the data without worrying about infrastructure, optimizations, availability, or security. We can also manage the size of the data warehouse you’re attached to, so if you’re making a lot of queries, you won’t lose speed and performance.  

Reliability 

Snowflake’s architecture is fully distributed across multiple availability zones. Its system is designed to tolerate hardware and other failures with minimal impact to users. We understand the importance of always having access to the data you need – and the business consequences of not having access to that data at a critical moment – so we worked hard to find a reliable platform. 

Integration 

The easiest data sources to use are the ones that integrate with your existing tools. You can integrate Snowflake with other database tools and business analysis or business intelligence tools like Tableau. Snowflake offers native and standards-based connections that enable developers to use a variety of languages and frameworks, including ODBC, JDBC, Python, Spark, R, Node.js, and more. Essentially anything that can integrate with a database can be used with Snowflake. Snowflake can even function as a traditional database – import your security master into it, join multiple datasets together, and run complicated queries.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Here are a few questions from the Q&A portion of our Snowflake webinar (which you can watch here): 

Does Snowflake replace the Intrinio API?

Snowflake can replace the Intrinio API or be used in addition to the API. If you have existing applications that integrate with the API, and you’re happy with their performance, you can leave them as they are. If you have a new use case or project, consider implementing direct database access via Snowflake. It may be easier to integrate and significantly more powerful. Our API, while capable of accessing a fair amount of data, has limited filtering mechanisms. Writing a SQL query against a table removes those limitations.  

How much does Snowflake cost? 

Snowflake’s pricing model is based on seconds used by a compute server. Whenever you run a query, one of the servers spins up, processes the query, and then spins down. The number of seconds each query takes to run is added up at the end of the month, then billed as credits. You can have multiple servers running if you want to query massive amounts of data. Alternatively, if you only want to run a few queries here and there, Snowflake can be extremely cost effective.

Have more questions? Can’t wait to get started? 

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