A Comprehensive Review of Oracle and Snowflake – Benefits and Migration

Before going into the benefits and the migration process of database Oracle to Snowflake and the advantages of a cloud-based data warehousing solution, a quick review of the two will be in order.

Oracle Database

Oracle is a relational database management system and a product of the Oracle Corporation. Enterprises can choose from a wide range of platforms like the Enterprise Edition, Personal Edition, Express Edition, and the Standard Edition as per their specific needs. The database is mainly designed for grid computing and data warehousing and offers maximized and affordable solutions for applications and data management.

There are several cutting-edge features offered by Oracle.

  • High-performing data availability with users getting uninterrupted access to data continually even during unplanned downtime, outages, and other system failures.
  • A Real Application Clustering and Portability feature that allows organizations to scale up and down in data storage volumes as per needs.
  • Optimized data recovery capability for any type of system failure. While the affected part of the data is being recovered, users can work on the unaffected data.
  • Top data security as the database is ACID-compliant that ensures data integrity and increased data safety.
  • Oracle operates on a wide range of hardware and software configurations making for speedy data storage and retrieval. Hence, most applications can be easily integrated into the database.

The point now is with so many technology advanced capabilities, why would businesses want to migrate databases from Oracle to Snowflake? Understanding Snowflake and its features will easily answer this question.

Snowflake Data

Snowflake Data Warehousing Solution

The following are some of the critical features of Snowflake, a cloud-based data warehousing solution.

  • Users can work with both structured and unstructured data, thereby providing excellent data management solutions. This feature is not available in the Oracle database.
  • Snowflake is a SaaS product. With unlimited storage facilities, businesses can start a new project or meet a spike in demand for storage resources without investing in additional hardware or software. Users can scale up and down in computing and storage volumes and pay only for the quantum of resources used.
  • High computing capabilities with no drop in performance even when multiple users are simultaneously executing multiple intricate queries.
  • Quick data recovery in case of an outage: The Failover Fallback feature takes over when there is a failure in the primary database and automatically triggers a secondary database. There is no downtime or stoppage in work and once the outage is resolved, the process works in the reverse direction and the primary database is updated.
  • A very important reason for loading databases from Oracle to Snowflake is the superior safety features. All data is encrypted end-to-end with federated and multi-factor authentication.

All these capabilities make Snowflake, a cloud-based data warehousing solution, a leader in database management.

Advantages of being a Cloud-based platform

Snowflake data warehousing solution incorporates all the advantages of a cloud-based platform. It optimizes a data lake approach regardless of the location of the data. This is reflected in the recently-introduced Snowflake Database Replication feature that enables users to replicate databases and sync them with various accounts existing in different regions and cloud providers. Hence, business continuity is ensured in the instance of an outage as another region automatically takes up the slack till the outage is resolved.

Further, easy data portability is maintained as Snowflake operates in the cloud. Users can move databases to another cloud or region and even in-premises like Oracle to Snowflake in a fully-secured environment.

How to Migrate Database Oracle to Snowflake

There are four definite steps for migrating database Oracle to Snowflake.

  • Mining data from the Oracle database: First, data has to be extracted from the Oracle database and placed in a CSV file. Oracle Database Server has a built-in SQL Plus query tool which, along with the “Spool” command, are used for this process. The data will be extracted continually until the command is switched off.
  • Formatting the extracted data: The Snowflake architecture supports specific data types. The extracted data has to be now processed and formatted so that it matches one that is supported by Snowflake. Currently, these data types are EUC-KR, UTF-8, ISO-8859-1 to 9, Big5, and UTF-16. If the mined data does not match one of these types, the “File Format Option” has to be used to create a customized format with the date and time marked on the file.
  • Keeping data in a staging area: Even after the data is formatted, it cannot be directly migrated from the database Oracle to Snowflake but has to be kept in a temporary cloud staging area. There are two categories here and any one may be used. The first is an internal staging area where tables have to be created by the users and a name and the date are auto-applied. For the external staging area, Snowflake presently supports Amazon S3 and Microsoft Azure.
  • Migrating database to Snowflake: The final stage is copying the data file from the temporary staging area to Snowflake. The Data Loading Overview tool helps to copy small databases while the COPY INTO command does so for large databases. The migration process of the database Oracle to Snowflake is now complete.

While large sections of the procedure are automated it is necessary to use the right tools that do not require any human intervention from the database administrators. The selected tool should be able to handle large volumes of data and must execute data transfers, mergers, and data reconciliation through an easy point-and-click interface. Finally, and most critically, the tool should use the Oracle CDC to copy incremental data only into Snowflake instead of going for full refreshes every time a change is made at the source database.


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