Cloud Data Warehouse

Eight Reasons Why Actian Data Platform is 8X Faster Than Snowflake

Emma McGrattan

October 28, 2020

Actian Avalanche is 8x faster than Snowflake

This month, GigaOm published a comprehensive evaluation of leading cloud data warehouse services based on performance and cost. Offerings analyzed included Snowflake, Amazon Redshift, Microsoft Azure Synapse, Google BigQuery, and our very own Actian Data Platform.

There are many intriguing results included in the report, but an indisputable conclusion was reached by GigaOm: “In a representative set of corporate-complex queries from TPC-H standard, Actian Data Platform consistently outperformed the competition.”

To put “outperformed” in more concrete terms, Actian Data Platform was 8.5X faster than Snowflake in a test of 5 concurrent users. In terms of price performance, the advantage over Snowflake was 6.4X.

gigaom chart price performance

Actian Data Platform Was Built for Performance Out-of-the-Box

So what’s the secret behind Actian Data Platform’s superior performance? There is a simple, fundamental explanation. Actian Data Platform was built from the ground up to deliver unrivaled performance on commodity infrastructure. Its original design goal was to makes the most of every CPU clock cycle, every byte of memory, and every I/O operation. And ensuring high performance continues to be a priority for us. Our efficient design is the reason why, even with the limitless resources of the cloud, you won’t see your costs ballooning as you increase concurrent users or data volume.

How specifically does Actian Data Platform deliver best-in-class analytics performance without the need for tuning? It is a combination of the following eight factors. Vendors such as Snowflake may offer a few of the capabilities listed such as Vector processing, but the unique combination creates a powerful compounding effect:

  1. Optimizing the Use of Microprocessor Cores to run multiple data operations in parallel during a single CPU cycle. This is known as Vector processing. Traditional scalar architectures typically consume myriad more CPU cycles to compute the same calculations, which impacts overall throughput.
  2. Taking Full Advantage of Multi-Core CPUs – Actian Data Platform can perform Vector processing across all available cores, which maximizes concurrency, parallelism, and system resource utilization.
  3. Processing Data Using the CPU’s On-Chip Cache is faster and closer to where operations are performed and therefore optimizes performance. Our competitors tend to use DRAM for query execution cache, which is far slower.
  4. Using Advanced Compression – Typically With a 5:1 Compression Ratio – Actian Data Platform’s compression algorithms are designed for maximum efficiency, particularly in decompression, yet still deliver about a 5:1 compression ratio. Compression is handled automatically, so no tuning is required.
  5. Optimizing I/O – Actian Data Platform is a pure columnar implementation. The data lives its life in columnar format, which results in I/O efficiency.
  6. Using Patented Technology to Maintain Indexes Automatically so that an indexing strategy is not necessary.
  7. MPP Architecture parallelizes query execution within and across nodes to power through business workloads regardless of size and complexity.
  8. Real-Time Updates that enable operational insights with zero performance penalty enabled by Actian Data Platform’s patented positional delta trees.

All this adds up to blazing-fast analytics performance that results in faster iterations on data models, quicker root cause analysis, and ultimately enabling a data-driven organization.

When Cost is More Important Than Performance

If you’re satisfied with the current performance of your data warehouse, Actian Data Platform can deliver that same level of performance while enabling you to dial back your spend on compute resources—which can immediately translate into considerable cost savings. Conversely, if you can benefit from increased performance, Actian Data Platform can give you much more at a much lower cost. In other words, you have two levers to play with – price and performance – and Actian Data Platform enables you to achieve the lowest cost of ownership for the level of performance your business demands.

Cut Your Snowflake Bill in Half – Guaranteed

Actian is currently running a guaranteed offer to cut your Snowflake bill in half. The offer is not based on an artificial discount but rather on our confidence that our technology will deliver superior price-performance over Snowflake, as proven by GigaOm’s authoritative report.

Emma McGrattan headshot

About Emma McGrattan

Emma McGrattan is SVP of Engineering and Product at Actian leading global research and development. She is a recognized authority in data management and analytics technologies and holds multiple patents. Emma has over two decades of experience leading a global software development organization focused on innovation in high-performance analytics, data management, integration, and application development technologies. Prior to joining Actian, Emma was Vice President for Ingres at Computer Associates. Educated in Ireland, Emma holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from Dublin City University.