back to article Snowflake explains that Instacart's bills aren't melting – it's called 'optimization'

Data cloud vendor Snowflake has felt the need to publish a clarification following statements on payments from key customer Instacart, which are likely to add up to $100 million over four years. In the run-up to the grocery delivery services company's IPO, which is hardly setting the heather alight, a filing to the US …

  1. ChoHag Silver badge

    The real take-away here is that delivery services are so far overpriced that they have $100 million sitting around with so little to do with it (hire staff and pay them? Preposterous) that they spend it on hard drives.

    1. JamesMcP

      Growth uber alles

      I bet you that what happened was they focused development on expansion to gather more business and only decided to optimize after either a) feature requests slowed down or b) cloud fees started looking really big.

      With Snowflake and other "serverless" technologies they have advantages; they can essentially see how much each query costs, which is what you really care about. (On reserved instance servers you have to do more analysis to figure out why you need a SuperDuperBig node instead of a MerelyBig node.) Then slogged through which queries cost them the most money per year. That means frequency x unit cost. Odds are the most expensive queries were ones that were pretty quick to run but were highly compute intensive and used all the time.

      The thing about optimization is it often feels like a waste because often time one thing gets marginally worse in the process. E.G. "This code runs in 700ms and uses 14 cores and we run it at least 1M times a day at $0.0001 per use so this one query is $36,500/yr. We refactored it so it only uses 1 core and costs us $5,000/yr, but it runs twice as long at 1.5s"

      Doing that for one query is a nice $ savings and not a nuisance to users, but if you do that to 5 queries that are generally used in concert with each other, you've saved ~$150,000/yr but also turned a 3.5s process into a 7s process, which may wind up driving away customers or lower productivity elsewhere.

  2. frankrider

    No more COVID scare…

    Of couse their payments have dropped off. Fewer people are using Instacart. This isn’t 2020. COVID is gone and people aren’t trapped in their homes anymore.

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