When Snowflake announced its Q1 FY2022 earnings, one metric stood out as a harbinger of where the cloud database market is heading: Snowflake processed one billion queries in a single day, CEO Frank Slootman revealed during the Q1 review.
Why does that matter? A query is a request to access data from a database. It is an indicator of database activity and usage, and in the case of Snowflake that means business analytics. And because Snowflake’s business model is based on consumption, a growing number of queries correlates to an increase in revenue.
Indeed, those trend lines are moving upwards in parallel for Snowflake. The number of queries in Snowflake’s cloud database service grew “more than 100%” compared to the same period a year ago, while Snowflake’s product revenue grew 110%, to $214 million, in Q1 year to year.
There are other ways of measuring the growth of cloud database platforms, including number of end users, business accounts, and third-party service providers. But queries reflect activity against the database itself, so they are a measure of the usage and scale of the underlying cloud infrastructure.
Tracking database queries
Queries are not always included in database companies’ quarterly results, so it’s interesting that Snowflake has determined they are a relevant point of reference. And it’s not the first time. Prior to Snowflake’s IPO last year, Snowflake reported that it processed an average of 507 million queries per day in July of 2020, according to Bloomberg.
In fact, Snowflake keeps a running tab of queries on its website. As of April 1, Snowflake queries were tracking at an average of 920 million per day. It’s a metric worth watching as more businesses tap into Snowflake to drive analytics across their enterprises.
The context for Snowflake’s billion-query milestone is that many businesses have ramped up their digital infrastructures and deployed new customer-facing applications during the Covid pandemic, much of which translates into database queries. “The data drives digital transformation,” Slootman said on Snowflake’s May 26 earnings call.
Other Snowflake Q1 highlights:
- 4,532 total customers, a 67% year-to-year increase
- An impressive net revenue retention rate of 168%
- 104 customers with trailing 12-month product revenue exceeding $1 million, a 117% Y-to-Y increase
- 498 third-party data sets in its marketplace, a 31% increase over Q4 FY2021
Data cloud and edges
Slootman credits Snowflake’s expanding data cloud model for driving growth and customer adoption. “We seek to build and deploy core infrastructure for the digital economy, and the data cloud is exactly that,” he said.
Snowflake describes data cloud as a near real-time “active dynamic hub” of thousands of relationships between its customers and partners, including third-party data providers who make data sets available through Snowflake’s marketplace for industries including media and advertising, financial services, healthcare, and retail.
“The data cloud is the sum of all data networking relationships that are active at any point in time,” Slootman said.
Snowflake tracks these data networking relationships through what it calls data “edges.” At the end of Q1, 15% of Snowflake customers had data edges in place with external Snowflake accounts, compared to 10% a year ago. The number of edges grew 33% in Q1 compared to Q4 of FY2021.
This shows that data sharing via Snowflake’s data cloud increasingly involves a company’s business partners and customers, not just in-house analytics by the company’s own employees.
All of that data sharing will keep driving more cloud database queries.
This news analysis is provided by the Cloud Database Report. Subscribe to our free newsletter for regular updates.