Snowflake Summit 2024 has set the stage for exciting changes in the data landscape. As a data enthusiast and a leader in data engineering, I’m eager to share my reflections on these innovations and their implications for Ascend.

Here are my top five takeaways from our week at Moscone Center. 

#1 - AI and Machine Learning Continue to Be The New Frontier

For me, the most exciting development from the Snowflake Summit 2024 was the enhanced focus on AI and machine learning. The buzz around AI and ML was palpable last week, woven into nearly every keynote and session.  Snowflake’s partnership with Nvidia promises to revolutionize how we build and deploy AI-powered applications, equipping teams to deliver on AI projects faster than ever before. 

At Ascend, we recognize the immense potential in integrating these advanced AI capabilities into our platform, enabling smarter applications and more efficient data workflows.

With our new integrated AI assistant, data engineering teams can capitalize on the power of a context aware AI agents to help build, scale, and optimize their data pipelines. This empowers our users to leverage AI in ways previously unimaginable, driving innovation and operational efficiency.

#2 - Expanded Data Engineering Capabilities Will Unlock Deeper Business Value

With the demand for AI use cases climbing, the need to efficiently extract high quality data has introduced new opportunities and complexities. Snowflake’s investment in expanding data engineering capabilities is a game-changer. Enhanced support for tools like Pandas and the introduction of new features, such as integrated notebooks and Snowflake’s AI suite, Cortex, promise to streamline data processing and analysis so that data teams can deliver more business value. 

These advancements reflect the increasing need for sophisticated data engineering capabilities and workloads on Snowflake. By integrating natively with these tools, Ascend can facilitate more efficient data transformations and analyses, helping businesses unlock deeper insights from their data.

Curious to see Cortex in Action?

Check out how we built an AI-integrated data pipeline using Snowflake’s Arctic LLM for sentiment analysis.

#3 - In a Competitive Landscape, Open Data Formats and Catalogs Shine

As the competitive landscape evolves, Snowflake’s increasing focus on open data formats and catalogs stands out. This shift aligns with industry demands for more flexibility and integration. 

The recent acquisition of Tabular by Databricks highlights this move towards open data formats. Databricks and Tabular aim to unify the Delta Lake and Apache Iceberg formats, promoting interoperability and reducing data silos. We see many leading companies adopting open formats, enhancing data accessibility and integration across various platforms.

#4 - Snowflake’s Native Application Framework Brings Intelligence to your Data

The introduction of Snowflake’s Native Application Framework is particularly exciting. This framework enables companies such as Ascend to embed our platform’s intelligence directly within the Snowflake ecosystem. 

By bringing our applications and intelligence closer to the data, we can simplify workflows and enable a broader range of use cases. This seamless integration enhances our ability to deliver powerful data solutions that are both efficient and scalable.

Ascend's booth at Snowflake Summit 2024 full of people discussing data automation and AI.
Snowflake Summit 2024

#5 - Data Practitioners Are Innovating to Solve Complex Problems

It was a privilege to engage in conversations across the Summit last week.  In all my discussions, I was profoundly impacted by the spirit of innovation and excitement on display by data leaders and practitioners. Though the challenges in this industry are complex and varied, I am proud to be a part of a community that embraces them with curiosity and intentionality. 

One of our core values at Ascend is “Evolve with Intent.” We recognize the status quo exists for a reason, set by incredibly smart people. We approach changes humbly and carefully, aware of the tradeoffs and potential impacts. While this is a value we have embraced within the company, it was incredibly inspiring to see others who align with our approach across the industry.

Closing Thoughts

Snowflake Summit 2024 has unveiled a plethora of innovations that promise to reshape the data engineering landscape. At Ascend, we are thrilled to integrate these new capabilities into our platform, enhancing our offerings and delivering unparalleled value to our customers.

The future of data engineering and AI is incredibly bright, and we are poised to lead the way, powered by the latest advancements from Snowflake.

Looking forward to innovating with you,

– Sean Knapp

Founder & CEO @