Snowtrail: Testing with Production Queries on a Cloud Database

May 15, 2018

Database as a service provided on cloud computing platforms has been rapidly gaining popularity in recent years. The Snowflake Elastic Data Warehouse (henceforth referred to as Snowflake) is a cloud database service provided by Snowflake Computing. The cloud native capabilities of new database services such as Snowflake bring exciting new opportunities for database testing. First, Snowflake maintains extensive knowledge of historical customer queries, including both the query text and corresponding system con gu- rations. Second, Snowflake is multi-tenant, which provides easy access to metadata and data that can be used to rerun customer queries from a privileged role. Furthermore, the elastic nature of Snowflake’s data warehouse service allows testing with these queries using a separate set of resources without impacting the customer’s production workload.

This paper presents Snowtrail, an infrastructure developed within Snowflake for testing using customer production queries with result obfuscation. Running tests with production queries provides us with direct insight into the impact of improvements and new features on customer workloads. It enables testing on queries of more shapes and complexity than can be manually constructed by developers. Snowtrail is also used to help ensure the stability of the online upgrade process of the system.

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