Snowflake's mascot was ever present during the data cloud provider's recent summit held in Las Vegas.

Jul 07 2023

Snowflake Summit 2023: Snowflake Ushers In an Era of AI-Powered Data Management

New solutions from the company promise greater opportunities for the use of artificial intelligence without compromising security or data privacy.

The power of automation has come to the data cloud, and it is poised to kick off a whole new era of data management.

Several speakers at this year’s Snowflake Summit identified generative AI as the most significant change in computing in decades. Torsten Grabs, senior director of product management at Snowflake, noted, “Computers for the last 60 years or so have been very prescriptive on how you interact with them. And now this is getting flipped around, right? So, now we can actually interact in much more natural ways with technology. With computers, we can engage through natural language.”

“Computers have a sense of a conversation that they're having with you,” he added. “And that's a much more natural way for us humans to interact with technology.”

The use of AI in the data cloud quickly grabbed attention at the summit during the opening keynote, presented as a sort of fireside chat between Frank Slootman, chairman and CEO of Snowflake, and Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA. They addressed the two companies’ newly announced partnership and the ways they hope to bring AI to data in the cloud.

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Snowflake’s New Partnership with NVIDIA Grants Users the Power of AI

Snowflake and NVIDIA issued a joint press release at the beginning of the summit, in which they characterized their collaboration as “a new opportunity for enterprises. It will enable them to use their proprietary data — which can range from hundreds of terabytes to petabytes of raw and curated business information — to create and fine-tune custom LLMs [large language models] that power business-specific applications and services.”

Grabs cited the new partnership with NVIDIA when explaining the opportunities that are becoming available to Snowflake customers. “The partnership with NVIDIA is fundamentally rooted in our ability to run containers that are backed by NVIDIA-accelerated hardware, GPUs, and then also layering a whole software stack from NVIDIA. On top of that, we are also enabling our partners and also our customers that want to build out their own machine learning practice,” he said.

When using AI and ML to manage information, many users still have concerns about privacy, especially when it comes to highly sensitive data. According to Grabs, the partnership with NVIDIA not only offers new capabilities but also accounts for the need to secure the data being used. “A lot of the sensitivities that customers have today interacting with general AI — particularly from the enterprise — is around how sensitive the data is. And where am I sending my data to? If it's hosted as an LLM somewhere in the cloud, can I trust it? How much want do I want to rely on that? Wouldn't it be easier for me if I actually ran that LLM capability inside my security perimeter in Snowflake? And now, with the announcements to date, that literally has become possible, right? And we've shown how you can do that with NVIDIA.”

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Data Governance, Compliance and Privacy Remain Concerns

Of course, managing voluminous amounts of data brings up issues around governance and compliance with privacy laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation. Grabs related the stories of some customers that wanted to store their data on the Snowflake platform because of its compute power, but then wanted to make copies to be used in another cloud platform.

“As soon as you introduce a redundant copy of the data, you create all sorts of problems for yourself as an enterprise. There's governance and compliance issues that immediately pop up. So under GDPR, for example, how do you make sure that you keep track of that data so that you are compliant?” he asked.

“There's versions-of-the-truth issues that these copies may, over time, start to drift and become their own silos. All of that is a lot of work, unnecessary work. And it also introduces unnecessary, unwanted risk and complexity into a customer's data stack,” Grabs explained. “It is so much easier to actually take the compute and bring it to where the data sits, rather than the other way around, because of all these complexity issues around governance, compliance and security and privacy.”

Benoit Dageville
Since the beginning, our vision at Snowflake was to make the Snowflake data cloud really the best place to bring all data together, making data easily accessible and actionable to, really, everyone.”

Benoit Dageville Co-founder and President of Product, Snowflake

Snowflake Offerings Bring AI to App Development

Over the course of the event, Snowflake announced multiple new and enhanced offerings, including Document AI, Snowpark Container Services, and the Snowflake Native App Framework, all of which are democratizing the use of AI.

Benoit Dageville, co-founder and president of product at Snowflake, spoke at the final keynote of the event about the ways in which the company is enabling the use of AI for speedier development of applications. “Since the beginning, our vision at Snowflake was to make the Snowflake data cloud really the best place to bring all data together, making data easily accessible and actionable to, really, everyone.”

Dageville characterized Snowflake as the unrivalled choice for building and innovating apps because of three key advantages. “First, Snowflake offers one single platform that empowers you to bring high value data products from their data leaders all the way to their user interface. Second, you have access to a vibrant community that can assist you in your development journey. And further, we provide you with resources to help you monetize and really grow.”

Keep this page bookmarked for articles and videos from the event, follow us on Twitter @BizTechMagazine and join the event conversation at #SnowflakeSummit.

Photography by Snowflake

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