A Deep Dive into Snowflake Hybrid Tables

Written by: Durga Maturu

Introduction To Snowflake Hybrid Tables

An innovative new product from Snowflake, Hybrid Tables blur the boundaries between Snowflake's traditional data warehouse tables and conventional Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) databases. As a key component of the Unistore initiative, Snowflake Hybrid Tables mark a groundbreaking evolution in data storage, seamlessly merging the strengths of data warehouses with the efficiency of OLTP databases. While currently in private preview, this comprehensive exploration delves into the capabilities, advantages, and potential of Snowflake Hybrid Tables, offering readers insight into the future possibilities of cloud data management.


Envision a scenario where your data warehouse seamlessly collaborates with your OLTP database, delivering unified analytics across all your data while ensuring instantaneous single-row access. The ground-breaking technology of Snowflake Hybrid Tables disrupts traditional data silos, turning this scenario into a tangible future for reimagined data management.

The Challenge: Historically, businesses relied on separate OLTP databases for real-time transaction processing and data warehouses for analyzing historical data. This fragmented approach hindered agility and insights, leading to issues such as data duplication, complex integrations, and sluggish analytical response times.

The Solution: Enter Snowflake Hybrid Tables, residing on Snowflake's Unistore platform, designed to bridge this gap.

Hybrid Tables:


  • Fast Single-Row Operations:
    • Easily integrate Hybrid Tables with your existing microservice architecture, providing a unified data platform for diverse workloads.
  • Seamless Analytical Processing:
    • Hybrid Tables, like standard OLTP databases, are excellent at quick single-row lookups and updates, in contrast to data warehouse tables made for bulk scanning. They are therefore perfect for applications that need to access certain data points often.
  • Simplified Data Management:
    • By combining transactional and historical data in one place, hybrid tables eliminate data silos and streamline data administration. This removes the need for intricate data linkages and enables comprehensive analysis.

What Functions as a Hybrid Table?

Fundamentally, hybrid tables use a dual-storage architecture to store data in columnar and row oriented formats. This enables them to flourish in two vital domains:

  1. Row-based storage: This side faces your transactional applications, providing fast retrieval and modification of individual rows. Think of it like a traditional database table.
  2. Columnar storage: This side faces your analytical queries, offering optimal performance for data aggregation and analytics. It's similar to Snowflake's classic columnar format.

Snowflake automatically switches between these faces based on the workload. Transactions access the row-based side, while analytics access the columnar side. This duality optimizes both use cases.

Unifying Data & Analytics

Hybrid Tables break down the conventional data silo between operational data in real time and historical data for analysis. They unite the two realms by providing:

  • Simplified Data Management:
    • Eliminates disparate system clutter.
    • Consolidates transactional and historical data for streamlined access control, lineage tracking, and data governance.
  • Holistic Insights:
    • Integrates historical patterns with operational data collected in real-time for deeper, insightful analysis.

Applications Ideal for Hybrid Tables

  • Fraud Detection:
    • Analyzing past patterns with real-time transaction data for quick detection of fraudulent behavior
  • Inventory management:
    • Comparing historical sales data with current product movements and stock levels for optimal inventory control.
  • Personalized Marketing:
    • Creating highly customized marketing efforts by utilizing past purchases and in-the-moment interactions with customers.
  • Risk management:
    • Identifying and reducing possible financial hazards by comparing historical trends with real-time market data analysis.

Considerations for Implementing Hybrid Tables

While Hybrid Tables have great potential, their implementation or adoption requires careful consideration:

  • Cost Implications:
    • Dual-storage style may result in slightly higher storage expenses compared to conventional data warehouse tables.
  • Management Overhead:
    • May require more work to configure and maintain compared to standard data warehouse tables.
  • Workload Suitability:
    • Assess unique requirements and data access habits to determine suitability.

Snowflake Traditional vs Hybrid tables


Snowflake recommends the following best practices:

  1. Data in hybrids should not exceed 100 GB.
  2. Throughput should not exceed 100 QPS.
  3. Performance may be impacted when doing long range scans and complex analytical operations.
  4. Features such as cloning, materialized views, streams, replication, and data sharing may not be available for hybrid tables.


In conclusion, Snowflake Hybrid Tables offer a revolutionary blend of lightning-fast single-row access, seamless analytical power, and unified data management. Traditional Tables excel in historical analysis and large-scale scans, whereas Hybrid Tables excel in real-time scenarios and serve as a bridge between transactional and analytical worlds. The use case depends on your unique workload, data management requirements, and budget considerations. Stay informed about the Public Preview of Snowflake Hybrid Tables by registering here.