What is Zero-Copy Cloning in Snowflake?

Zero-Copy Cloning in Snowflake refers to the capability to create copies of databases, schemas, or tables without physically duplicating the underlying data. This feature allows users to instantly create clones of their data objects, which can then be used for various purposes such as testing, development, data recovery, or running analytical queries without affecting the production data.

The term "Zero-Copy" signifies that the cloning process does not involve the copying of actual data blocks. Instead, Snowflake uses metadata to manage the clones. When a clone is created, it shares the data blocks of the source object at the time of cloning. Any subsequent changes to the data in the clone or the source object are managed through Snowflake's unique architecture, ensuring that each maintains its data integrity independently of the other. This method is highly efficient because it consumes additional storage only for the changes made post-cloning rather than duplicating the entire dataset.

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