Snowflake is a modern, robust data platform for cloud data management that provides users with the opportunity for unique scalability, flexibility, and performance. However, keeping costs under control is crucial to maximize the benefits on offer with this platform.

The 5 key takeaways from the Snowflake Cost Breakdown article are:

  • Understand Snowflake’s pricing models for effective cost management

  • Optimize virtual warehouses and clusters to reduce compute costs

  • Implement data retention policies to manage and lower storage costs

  • Continuously monitor and adjust resource usage for cost efficiency

  • Use Snowflake’s auto-suspend and auto-resume features to minimize idle time costs

With its powerful data warehousing capabilities, Snowflake is a top solution for any organization looking to benefit from leveraging big data. The unique Snowflake architecture and capability of working with diverse workloads provides many advantages for businesses over traditional data storage solutions. However, its flexibility and scalability—while key drivers for Snowflake—often result in unanticipated Snowflake costs for users if not managed properly.

Table of Contents

An organization must understand how to optimize usage and control budgets associated with Snowflake cost to balance performance with financial feasibility. By effectively managing Snowflake costs, organizations can achieve the maximum value of Snowflake and have complete control over their data integration budgets.

In this article, we will explore Snowflake cost models, provide strategies for optimizing resource usage, discuss tactics for streamlining expenses, outline methods for maximizing return on investment, and offer actionable tips for ongoing Snowflake cost optimization.

Understanding Snowflake Cost Models

Snowflake offers flexibility in its pricing structure and can easily accommodate many different business requirements. At times, this flexibility can cause a headache when trying to manage and predict costs. Correctly understanding the different cost models and pricing tiers is crucial for achieving effective cost management.

Overview of Snowflake's Pricing Structure

Snowflake pricing is consumption-based, which means you pay for the resources used. The primary cost components in Snowflake include:

  1. Compute Costs: These are Snowflake charges for using the virtual warehouses to perform data processing tasks. They are measured in credits; therefore, the number of consumed credits will depend on the size and duration of running each virtual warehouse.

  2. Storage Costs: This is charged based on the amount of data stored and its duration. Snowflake's prices compete with those of other cloud storage companies. It also supports compressed and uncompressed data storage modes. It begins at about  $23 per TB / per month ($USD), depending on your platform (Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform) and region. Moreover, it offers a series of capacity storage discounts.

  3. Cloud Services Costs: These include charges for metadata management, security, and other cloud provider infrastructure services. This component is typically a smaller portion of the total cost compared to compute and storage costs.

Comparison of Pricing Tiers

Snowflake costs vary between several pricing tiers, all designed to meet the diverse needs of different organizations. Here's an updated overview of each plan:

Standard Edition

Price: $2.00 per credit (USD)

The Standard Edition is the introductory offering that provides access to core platform functionality. It is suitable for small to medium-sized businesses with basic data processing needs. Key features include:

  • Fully managed elastic compute

  • Security with automatic encryption of all data

  • Snowpark for developer collaboration

  • Data sharing capabilities

  • Optimized storage with compression and time travel

This plan offers a cost-effective solution for organizations looking to leverage Snowflake's essential functionalities without the need for advanced features.

Enterprise Edition

Price: $3.00 per credit (USD)

The Enterprise Edition is designed for companies with large-scale data initiatives that require more granular enterprise controls. It is ideal for larger organizations needing higher levels of security and support. Key features include:

  • All Standard Edition features

  • Multi-cluster compute capabilities

  • Granular governance and privacy controls

  • Extended Time Travel windows for data recovery

  • Enhanced support and disaster recovery options

This edition caters to organizations that require robust data management capabilities and advanced control over their data environment.

Related Reading: Mastering Data Management: Your Ultimate Guide to Insert Into Snowflake

Business Critical Edition

Price: $4.00 per credit (USD)

The Business Critical Edition offers specialized functionality for highly regulated industries, particularly those handling sensitive data. It is designed for organizations that need the highest level of security and compliance. Key features include:

  • All Enterprise Edition features

  • Tri-Secret Secure for enhanced encryption

  • Access to private connectivity for secure data transmission

  • Failover and failback capabilities for backup and disaster recovery

  • Advanced security features like HIPAA support and PCI compliance

This edition ensures that organizations with stringent regulatory requirements can maintain the highest standards of data security and availability.

Virtual Private Snowflake (VPS)

Price: Contact Sales for Pricing

Virtual Private Snowflake (VPS) provides all the features of the Business Critical Edition but in a completely isolated environment. It is suitable for organizations with stringent regulatory requirements needing a dedicated infrastructure. Key features include:

  • All Business Critical Edition features

  • Fully isolated Snowflake environment, completely separate from all other Snowflake accounts.

This plan offers the highest level of data isolation and security, making it ideal for organizations that need to meet the most stringent compliance standards.

On-Demand Pricing vs. Snowflake Credits

Snowflake provides two primary payment options: on-demand pricing and Snowflake credits (pre-purchased capacity).

  1. On-Demand Pricing: This model charges based on actual usage, measured in credits for compute and in storage units for data stored. It offers flexibility and is ideal for organizations with fluctuating or unpredictable workloads. However, it can lead to higher costs if credit usage is not carefully monitored and optimized.

  2. Snowflake Credits (Pre-Purchased Capacity): Organizations can purchase compute credits in advance at a discounted rate, providing cost savings and more predictable budgeting. This model is beneficial for organizations with stable, predictable workloads. By pre-purchasing credits, companies can achieve better cost efficiency, but it requires accurate forecasting of resource needs to avoid over- or under-purchasing.

Related Reading: Databricks vs. Snowflake: A Comparative Analysis

Optimizing Resource Usage

Resource optimization is essential for minimizing costs in Snowflake because it ensures that you are only paying for the resources you actually need and use. Without proper optimization, it's easy to over-provision resources, leading to unnecessary expenses. By fine-tuning the use of virtual warehouses, clusters, and storage, organizations can maximize efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Strategies for Optimizing Virtual Warehouses

  • Right-Sizing Virtual Warehouses: Start by assessing your workload requirements and right-sizing your virtual warehouses. Avoid over-provisioning by selecting an appropriate size that matches your workload demands. Regularly review and adjust data warehouse sizes based on current needs to prevent overspending.

  • Auto-Suspend and Auto-Resume: Configure virtual warehouses to auto-suspend after a period of inactivity and auto-resume when queries are run. This prevents warehouses from running idle, thus reducing compute costs. Setting shorter auto-suspend times can significantly lower costs without affecting performance.

  • Scaling Up vs. Scaling Out: For workloads with fluctuating demand, use multi-cluster warehouses that can scale out (add more clusters) rather than scaling up (increasing the size of a single cluster). This approach can improve performance during peak times and reduce costs during low-usage periods.

  • Query Optimization: Optimize your queries to reduce the amount of compute resources they require. This can be achieved by indexing data properly, avoiding complex joins, and using efficient SQL patterns. Efficient queries run faster and use fewer resources, cutting down on compute costs.

Related Reading: What is a Data Warehouse & Why Are They Important?

Strategies for Optimizing Clusters

  • Multi-Cluster Warehouses: Utilize Snowflake's multi-cluster warehouses for workloads with variable demands. Multi-cluster warehouses offer automatic clustering. They can automatically add or remove clusters based on query load, ensuring optimal performance without unnecessary over-provisioning.

  • Cluster Scaling Policies: Set up cluster scaling policies to manage how and when clusters scale. For example, set policies to add clusters only during high demand and remove them quickly when demand drops. This helps in maintaining performance while controlling costs.

  • Workload Management: Classify and prioritize workloads to allocate clusters more efficiently. Critical workloads can be given higher priority, ensuring they get the necessary resources while less critical tasks wait, thus optimizing cluster usage and reducing costs.

  • Cluster Monitoring: Continuously monitor cluster performance and usage. Utilize Snowflake's monitoring tools to track the performance and efficiency of each cluster. Regular reviews can help identify patterns and opportunities for cost-saving adjustments.

Strategies for Optimizing Storage Usage

  • Data Compression: Snowflake automatically compresses data to save on storage costs. Ensure that your data loading processes leverage Snowflake’s compression algorithms to minimize storage space and costs.

  • Time Travel and Data Retention: Utilize Snowflake’s Time Travel feature wisely. While Time Travel provides powerful data recovery options, retaining data for extended periods can increase costs. Set appropriate data retention periods based on business needs to balance between recovery capability and storage costs.

  • Archival Strategies: Move infrequently accessed data to cheaper storage options. Snowflake allows seamless access to archived data, so leveraging lower-cost storage tiers for old or less critical data can lead to substantial savings.

  • Data Lifecycle Management: Implement a data lifecycle management strategy to automate the process of moving, archiving, and deleting data based on predefined policies. This ensures efficient use of storage resources over time.

Best Practices for Scaling Resources

  1. Monitor and Adjust: Continuously monitor resource usage and performance metrics. Tools like Snowflake’s Resource Monitoring can help you track usage patterns and adjust resources dynamically to meet changing demands while avoiding over-provisioning.

  2. Scheduled Scaling: For predictable workloads, schedule resource scaling to align with peak usage times. This ensures that resources are available when needed and scaled down during off-peak periods, optimizing cost efficiency.

  3. Cost Visibility: Leverage Snowflake’s cost management tools to gain visibility into resource usage and costs. Regularly review cost reports and set budgets or alerts to stay within financial limits.

  4. User Training and Governance: Educate your team on best practices for using Snowflake efficiently. Establish governance policies to control resource provisioning and usage, preventing unnecessary costs due to mismanagement or lack of awareness.

Streamlining Snowflake Expenses

Streamlining Snowflake expenses becomes mandatory for a company looking to invest where it needs to while weeding out the unnecessary costs. Some tactics for identifying and eliminating unneeded costs involve:

Tactics for Identifying and Eliminating Unnecessary Expenses

  • Resource Monitoring: Monitor the usage of resources often to determine underutilized or even idle resources. Snowflake provides access to built-in monitoring tools necessary that offer detailed insights. These insights can be used to determine what is and isn’t being used effectively, allowing you to make an informed decision on scaling down or removing the unnecessary resources.

  • Usage Audits: Perform regular audits of your Snowflake account. You should consider usage patterns and analyze them in detail. This will help you to find the data and serverless compute resources that have become redundant or obsolete. It also gives you the opportunity to dig for any other cost drivers that can be optimized or removed.

  • Automated Reporting: Utilize automated reporting to track and analyze expenses regularly. Set up alerts for unusual spending patterns to catch cost spikes early and address them promptly.

Cost-Saving Measures

  • Data Retention Policies: Enforce strict data retention policies to manage the lifecycle of your data. Define how long data of a given type should be kept so that only necessary data resides in expensive storage. Your old or non-critical data can be archived or deleted. This will help to bring down the cost of storage significantly.

  • Data Sharing Optimization: Standardize the appropriate access controls and share only the data needed to facilitate data sharing. This will minimize the amount of data that needs to be processed and stored, consequently reducing the cost.

  • Data Compression: Take advantage of Snowflake’s data compression to reduce the storage footprint of your data. Compressed data saves storage space and storage costs with no compromise in performance.

Leveraging Snowflake Features

  • Automatic Suspension: Enable automatic suspension in your virtual warehouses, enabling your warehouse to manage itself by suspending warehouses after a period of inactivity to reduce the costs of idle compute. Applying a shorter suspension time will offer massive savings without any effects on performance.

  • Auto-Resume: Pair the automatic suspension with the auto-resume feature, and warehouses can be reactivated after new queries are executed. This ensures resources are available when needed without the costs of keeping idle warehouses running.

  • Snowflake Cost Governance: Implement governance policies regarding the amount of spending in the organization. Use Snowflake’s Resource Monitors to define organization spending limits and set up alerts to ensure everything stays within the set budget.

Maximizing ROI with Snowflake

To maximize return on investment (ROI) with Snowflake you should utilize the total capacity of the platform to efficiently deliver business value while having control of your costs. The following are some strategies and metrics for improving and measuring ROI with Snowflake.

Strategies for Maximizing ROI

  • Optimize Resource Utilization: Right-sizing virtual warehouses and using functions like auto-suspend and auto-resume ensure that you utilize the compute resources available to you to the best of your ability without being charged for idle time. At the same time, you should fine-tune resource allocation in line with workload requirements for balanced performance and costs.

  • Data Governance and Compliance: Execute a strong data governance and compliance framework within the organization. Use Snowflake's powerful security tools, including encryption and access control, to protect data and support meeting regulatory requirements, thus saving your organization from huge fines and reputational damage.

  • Data Sharing and Collaboration: Leverage Snowflake’s data-sharing features for effortless collaboration within and between organizations. By reducing duplicate data, it’s possible to lower storage costs while increasing the value realization from shared insights.

  • Automation and Scalability: Perform data loading, transformation, and integration processes with Snowflake’s automation features. You can scale Snowflake services up and down to handle peak loads effectively. This can help to achieve consistent performance without over-provisioning resources.

  • Comprehensive Training: Invest in team training that is based on the functionality and features of Snowflake. A well-trained team will enable best practices and allow the platform to be optimized to deliver better results and increase ROI.

Measuring and Tracking ROI Metrics

  • Snowflake Cost vs. Performance Analysis: Track the cost of compute and storage against performance metrics such as query response times and throughput. Evaluate if performance improvements justify the costs incurred.

  • Utilization Metrics: Monitor the virtual warehouse utilization rate and storage. A higher utilization rate indicates efficient usage of resources while low usage signals over-provisioning.

  • Data Sharing Efficiency: Quantify the reduction in storage costs and gain collaboration efficiency with the data sharing features that Snowflake offers. Evaluate how these types of savings and efficiencies accrue to overall ROI. 

  • User Productivity: Evaluate improvements in user productivity by tracking the time saved on data management tasks due to Snowflake's automation and ease of use. Increased productivity directly contributes to ROI.

  • Business Value Metrics: Correlate business outcomes, such as revenue growth, customer acquisition, and retention rate, to Snowflake usage. Quantify ways in which Snowflake's capability contributes toward achieving business objectives.

Actionable Tips for Snowflake Cost Optimization

Effective cost optimization in Snowflake involves practical strategies and continuous monitoring to ensure resource efficiency and cost savings. Here are actionable tips to help implement cost optimization:

Practical Tips for Cost Optimization

  1. Set Auto-Suspend and Auto-Resume: Configure virtual warehouses to auto-suspend after a short period of inactivity and auto-resume when needed. This prevents idle warehouses from incurring unnecessary costs.

  2. Optimize Query Performance: Regularly review and optimize queries to reduce compute time. Efficient queries not only run faster but also use fewer resources, cutting down costs.

  3. Right-Size Warehouses: Periodically assess and adjust the size of your virtual warehouses to match current workload demands. Avoid over-provisioning by choosing appropriate warehouse sizes.

  4. Implement Data Retention Policies: Define and enforce data retention policies to manage the lifecycle of your data. Archive or delete obsolete data to save on storage costs.

  5. Leverage Snowflake Credits: Purchase Snowflake credits in advance at discounted rates if your workload is predictable, ensuring cost savings over on-demand pricing.

Continuous Monitoring and Adjustment

  1. Regular Audits: Conduct regular audits of resource usage and costs. Use Snowflake’s built-in monitoring tools to track usage patterns and identify areas for cost reduction.

  2. Set Budget Alerts: Utilize Snowflake’s Resource Monitors to set budget alerts. This helps in staying within financial limits by providing early warnings of potential cost overruns.

  3. Analyze Cost Reports: Regularly analyze cost reports to understand spending trends and make informed adjustments. Identify inefficiencies and take corrective actions promptly.

  4. Stay Updated on Features: Keep abreast of new Snowflake features and updates that can offer additional cost-saving opportunities. Implement these features to enhance efficiency.

How to Save When Implementing Snowflake

We have explored some of the key strategies regarding managing and optimizing Snowflake costs in this blog post. By fully understanding the pricing models and how to optimize resources, minimize spending, and maximize ROI, it’s possible to significantly reduce your organization's data warehousing costs while achieving high performance. When you apply these cost optimization strategies, rest assured that you will achieve the full potential of Snowflake without incurring unnecessary costs.

We encourage you to put into practice these cost optimization strategies to improve the efficiency of your Snowflake environment. With regular monitoring, right-sizing of resources, and utilizing the advanced features of Snowflake, you can discover considerable cost savings and improvements in operational performance.

Keep Your Data Integration Costs Low With

To further streamline your data integration costs, consider exploring With the use of’s comprehensive data integration platform, you can optimize and simplify your data workflows and dashboards. Our platform allows you to efficiently manage your data engineering pipelines, guaranteeing your organization seamless data integration and transformation.

Take advantage of our 14-day free trial to experience the benefits of firsthand, or schedule an intro call with our team to discuss your unique use case. Start optimizing your data integration processes today and keep your costs low while maximizing the value of your data.


How can I reduce Snowflake costs?

Reducing Snowflake costs can be achieved by optimizing virtual warehouse usage with auto-suspend and auto-resume settings and right-sizing warehouses to match the workload demands. It’s also critical to implement data retention policies to manage storage costs as well as regularly monitoring and analyzing resource usage to identify any possible inefficiencies to eliminate.

What are the best practices for optimizing Snowflake resource usage (and, therefore, Snowflake costs)?

A few important things to consider are the right-sizing of virtual warehouses, the use of multi-cluster warehouses to take care of dynamic workloads, the optimization of queries for performance efficiency, leveraging auto-suspend and auto-resume, as well as the implementation of strict data governance and lifecycle management strategies to minimize resource consumption where not needed.

Which Snowflake pricing model is most cost-effective for my organization?

The most appropriate pricing model for you is dependent on your workload patterns. You should opt for the on-demand pricing when you have fluctuating workloads and the pre-purchased Snowflake credits when your workloads are more predictable and stable to achieve higher levels of cost saving. In short, you must assess your organization’s usage patterns and select the pricing model which best aligns with your needs.

What are the most common challenges of managing Snowflake cost?

Some common challenges are correct resource forecasting, avoidance of overprovisioning resources, management of fluctuating workloads, and ensuring that resources are well used. These call for continuous monitoring, regular audits, and effective governance policies to help maintain a cost-effective use of Snowflake.