Breaking the Ice: Snowflake Arctic Redefines Open AI with Enterprise-Grade LLM

Mastering Snowflake
5 min readMay 9, 2024


Thank you for reading my latest article Breaking the Ice: Snowflake Arctic Redefines Open AI with Enterprise-Grade LLM.

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Snowflake recently announced the debut of “Snowflake Arctic,” an open-source large language model (LLM) designed to compete with major players like OpenAI’s GPT-4 and Google’s Gemini. This release follows a number of recent products moving closer to, or into general availability and continues to position Snowflake as a major player when it comes to the AI space. The past 12 months have signaled a significant shift for Snowflake, which historically focused more on data warehouse and data engineering workloads rather than AI model development.

Snowflake’s Strategic Shift

With its transition into generative AI, Snowflake aims to not just supply data to LLMs but also to empower its customers with more flexibility in choosing and using LLMs. The launch of Arctic represents a significant strategic shift, as noted by Snowflake’s new CEO, Sridhar Ramaswamy, who replaced Frank Slootman in February, emphasized the move towards providing industry-leading AI solutions. Ramaswamy hailed the release of the Arctic LLM as a “watershed moment” for the company, which until now has been more invested in feeding data to LLMs rather than creating its own.

“By delivering industry-leading intelligence and efficiency in a truly open way to the AI community, we are furthering the frontiers of what open-source AI can do,” Ramaswamy said, adding that the aim is not so much to position Snowflake as an AI company as to enable its customers to use AI more more efficiently and reliably.

“We are making a foundational investment,” he told reporters in a briefing. “It’s our first big step in generative AI with lots more to come,” including at its Snowflake Summit event in early June in San Francisco.

Overview of Snowflake Arctic

Snowflake Arctic is described as the most open, enterprise-grade LLM available today. Its open-source nature under the Apache 2.0 license allows for ungated personal, research, and commercial use, setting a new standard for AI openness. The model benefits from a mixture of experts (MoE) architecture, optimizing it for a wide range of enterprise use cases and making it one of the most powerful models on the market.

Arctic’s MoE architecture made it substantially easier to train, with Snowflake claiming that it was built from scratch in less than three months and at roughly one-eighth of the training costs of similar LLMs. By setting a new baseline for LLM training and costs, it will enable enterprises to build dramatically lower-cost generative AI models at scale, the company said.

Arctic is available for serverless inference within Snowflake Cortex, a fully-managed service integrated with Snowflake’s Data Cloud platform. This integration allows customers to deploy and customize the model using frameworks like NVIDIA NIM with TensorRT-LLM and Hugging Face, among others.

Future Outlook and Industry Impact

The launch of Snowflake Arctic is seen as an important moment for the company and the AI industry. It not only enhances Snowflake’s offerings but also contributes to the democratization of generative AI, according to industry analysts. The model’s openness and the robust infrastructure provided by Snowflake could help in broadening the adoption and customization of generative AI across various industries.

As the AI landscape continues to evolve, Snowflake’s entry with an open-source LLM underscores the growing importance of flexibility, transparency, and cost-effectiveness in AI technologies. Snowflake Arctic not only provides an alternative to other enterprise-grade models but also paves the way for innovative uses of AI in business.

For data professionals and business leaders, understanding the capabilities and potential applications of Snowflake Arctic could be crucial in navigating the future of enterprise AI and leveraging these technologies for competitive advantage.

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About Adam Morton

Adam Morton is an experienced data leader and author in the field of data and analytics with a passion for delivering tangible business value. Over the past two decades Adam has accumulated a wealth of valuable, real-world experiences designing and implementing enterprise-wide data strategies, advanced data and analytics solutions as well as building high-performing data teams across the UK, Europe, and Australia.

Adam’s continued commitment to the data and analytics community has seen him formally recognised as an international leader in his field when he was awarded a Global Talent Visa by the Australian Government in 2019.

Today, Adam is dedicated to helping his clients to overcome challenges with data while extracting the most value from their data and analytics implementations. You can find out more information by visiting his website here.

He has also developed a signature training program that includes an intensive online curriculum, weekly live consulting Q&A calls with Adam, and an exclusive mastermind of supportive data and analytics professionals helping you to become an expert in Snowflake. If you’re interested in finding out more, check out the latest Mastering Snowflake details.



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