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An Insider’s View of Astrato: Direct Query and Direct Query

Let’s set the scene: I (Bertie Stevenson, VP Direct Sales at Vizlib, the team that brought you Astrato) was asked to join the booth team for Astrato at Snowflake Summit 2023. As a newcomer to the Astrato brand, I took this as an opportunity to figure out the value and impact of our product. I knew the power of direct query before going, but wanted to understand what it was that made Astrato’s offering standout.

Afterall, other vendors also offer direct query into Snowflake. So, what’s the angle we can use to compete in such a busy market?

The Problem

Here’s the thing about direct query – you need to qualify what you mean. Our friends at Tableau, Domo, ThoughtSpot, and Microsoft have dashboarding applications which query the data in Snowflake and present a dashboard. Nice. This means the data doesn’t move and it can present bar charts and pie charts.

However, what happens when a business question can’t be answered with the data model that has been built? The data engineering team has to get back into ETL and curate a new model.  This leads to issues with data access and is the pain of every company everywhere. 

You could try using more advanced data management systems that are better equipped to handle new queries, like those built in SnowPark. SnowPark is where customers can build out clever Python scripts and build Machine Learning (ML) models. This sounds futuristic but this isn’t the stuff of Bladerunner and Westworld, this is now. However, for a business user to get value from these ML services, they still need to ask the data scientists to continually run their scripts with new inputs. Lots of back and forth and once again, presents data access issues.

The Solution

Astrato is in a different ballpark. With a click of your mouse (no coding required), you can direct queries into Snowflake to create virtual data models; connecting tables, creating new calculations and even adding a semantic layer to name dimensions and measures in plain english.  

It’s worth clarifying something here: unlike legacy BI platforms, we’re not moving the data in Snowflake or connecting it IRL. The query will create everything virtually for that script. This cuts out the requirement for data engineers to help out with every new use case and hugely speeds up the organization’s ability to address its queries.

Now, you can create a ‘business ready dataset’ for whatever use case you are looking to analyze. And then you’re free to create beautiful data apps!