With $26M, Snowflake Computing is hoping its take on data warehousing will hit the mainstream

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Snowflake Computing, a big data startup whose CEO Bob Muglia was a former Microsoft executive, plans to announce on Tuesday that it’s coming out of stealth and has taken in a funding round of $26 million, which makes for total investment of around $50 million.

The San Mateo, California-based startup wants to make a name for itself in the data warehousing space where legacy titans like Oracle operate alongside Hadoop-powered upstarts like Teradata.

Instead of basing its technology on existing open source databases, Snowflake decided to create its own, explained Muglia. Many data warehousing systems like those provided by Oracle are based on decades-old technology in need of modernizing, and Hadoop is not tailored to handle transactions, he said.

The Snowflake Elastic Data Warehouse is a homegrown SQL relational database that Snowflake claims can analyze both transactional data and machine data, making it a sort of hybrid of the application performance gathering capabilities of New Relic and the machine data analytics of Splunk, explained Jon Bock, Snowflake’s vice president of products and marketing.

Snowflake workloads

Snowflake workloads

With Snowflake, users should be able to analyze together all of the data pertaining to their applications and infrastructure and correlate that information to help make business decisions. For example, you could discover that your website’s performance (taken from machine data) negatively impacted a marketing campaign. If you were just analyzing your salesforce.com data without taking in account the fact that your website went down, you would not have as clear of a picture of what really happened to that particular marketing campaign.

“With all of this existing tech [Hadoop and other database technology], all of the infrastructure you run yourself,” said Muglia. “We are a SaaS like Salesforce; there’s no infrastructure to maintain.”

Snowflake is currently courting web-based companies and businesses with relatively new data that’s not stored in legacy systems, said Bock. Because Snowflake is a cloud-based database provider, federally regulated customers are “somewhat reticent” to use its services, but over time as security concerns with the cloud are mitigated the company expects to attract more traditional clients in regulated industries, said Muglia.

Snowflake’s cloud-based database uses Amazon Web Services at its core because its customers are predominantly AWS shops, said Muglia. Over time, the startup will add more compatibility with Microsoft’s Azure and the [company]Google[/company] Cloud, which Muglia said he expects to see growing more within the next two years.

The startup counts Adobe, CondeNast and White Ops among its customers.

Sutter Hill Ventures, Redpoint Ventures and Wing Venture Capital were investors in this funding round.

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