Database Oracle To Snowflake Migration –Benefits, Processes, and Tools

Before going into the various aspects of database migration from Oracle to Snowflake, a quick look at the two individually will help to better explain why this process is so important in today’s data-driven business environment.


Oracle DBMS, more commonly known as Oracle database is marketed by Oracle Corporation. It is a multi-model database management system that is primarily used for the transaction processing of databases online. Oracle features a fully-automated operating system that can be run either on specific Oracle hardware or third-party servers.

Oracle has the distinction of being among the early databases to support LINUX/GNU and the database can be operated on most software and hardware configurations leading to quick and seamless data storage and retrieval. Most crucially, Oracle is ACID-compliant, thereby ensuring a high degree of reliability and database integrity.


Offered as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product, Snowflake is a highly optimized cloud-based data warehousing solution with a flexible structure and several scalable alternatives. So, what makes it stand out to an extent that most organizations today want to migrate databases from Oracle to Snowflake?

The first and most important point is that users can work with data in their native format – unstructured, semi-structured, structured – a capability that is not present in Oracle. They can also scale up and down, both in computing powers and storage facilities as per requirements by paying only for the resources used. Additional storage capabilities can be downloaded in minutes if needed by paying only for that portion and not any flat fees. Snowflake is therefore a very cost-effective platform.

Finally, Snowflake offers unlimited computing powers. Multiple users can simultaneously execute intricate queries without facing any drop in speeds and performance, something that cannot be said for the Oracle database.

Benefits of Oracle to Snowflake database migration

The benefits that mainly accrue from Oracle to Snowflake database migration are because of the cloud factor. The data warehousing solution of Snowflake provides all the benefits of a cloud-based platform, following a data lake approach that is independent of the location of the data.

This is brought out in the recently-introduced Database Replication feature of Snowflake. Users can now sync and replicate databases with various accounts that already exist in different cloud providers and regions, thereby ensuring business continuity. In the case of an outage in the primary server, the secondary servers are automatically triggered and work goes on without a break. When the issue is resolved, the feature works in the reverse direction and the data generated in the break period is updated in the primary server.

Moreover, seamless data portability is assured as Snowflake operates in the cloud. It is easy for users to move databases to another cloud or region like Oracle to Snowflake within an ecosystem that is secured and safe.

Steps to Migrate Database from Oracle to Snowflake

There are four steps in database migration from Oracle to Snowflake.

  • Extracting Data from the Oracle Database: The data to be migrated from Oracle to Snowflake has to be first extracted from the source database. This step is helped by the in-built tool SQL Plus Query of the Oracle Database Server together with the “Spool” command which extracts the data continually until it is switched off. The data extracted is placed in a CSV file.
  • Formatting the Extracted Data: The extracted data cannot be loaded directly into Snowflake. The structure of the data has to match that supported by Snowflake and hence it has to be formatted and processed accordingly. Presently, the data types that are supported by Snowflake are EUC-KR, UTF-8, ISO-8859-1 to 9, Big5, and UTF-16. In case there is a mismatch between the structure of the mined data and one of these types, The “File Format Option”is to be used to create a customized format marked with the date and time on the file.
  • Using a staging area for keeping data: Even after the mined data is processed and formatted, it cannot be directly migrated from Oracle to Snowflake. Instead, it has to be kept in a temporary cloud staging area that can either be an internal or external one. In the internal staging area instance, users have to create appropriate tables to which a name and date are automatically applied. As far as the external staging area is concerned, it can either be Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) or Microsoft Azure, both of which are supported by Snowflake.
  • Loading database Oracle to Snowflake: This is the final step in the process of migrating the database from Oracle to Snowflake. Here, the data file is copied to Snowflake from the temporary staging area where it is located. For loading small databases, the Data Loading Overview tool is used while the COPY INTO command is for loading large databases.

This completes the migration procedure of database Oracle to Snowflake. 

Using the Right Tools for Oracle to Snowflake database migration

While the migration process is fully automated, ensure that the right tools are selected so that everything goes off without a hitch.

First, make sure that the tool can handle large amounts of data and should not fizzle out when working with terabyte volumes. It should be fully automated without requiring the setting up of pipelines and connectors while transforming Oracle data to Snowflake. The selected tool must have the Oracle CDC feature so that the transaction logs of Oracle will be queried and only changes made at the source database (Oracle in this case) are copied into the Snowflake database.

Select Oracle to Snowflake tool with these cutting-edge features for a rich and smooth migration experience.

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