Snowflake announced Polaris Catalog, an open-source community catalog for Apache Iceberg. The move provides Apache Iceberg interoperability with AWS, Confluent, Dremio, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Salesforce among others.

In a blog post, Snowflake said interoperability across open-source file and table formats is key to avoiding lock-in and lowering costs. However, there are limitations between engines and catalogs the reduce the value of Apache Iceberg. The news landed ahead of Snowflake Summit. 

The launch of Polaris Catalog is designed to build on Iceberg standards and improve interoperability. With Polaris Catalog, many engines can use a single copy of data from one place. Data can be hosted in Snowflake or other infrastructure.

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Constellation Research analyst Doug Henschen said Snowflake's support is notable. He said:

"This is a significant announcement for Snowflake in that it is fully embracing Apache Iceberg to give customers an open standard option and to advance its own open cross-cloud and hybrid cloud capabilities. That catalog is akin to Databricks' Unity Catalog, but Polaris is an open-source product that supports many platforms that supports Apache Iceberg."

Snowflake said Polaris Catalog will be open sourced in the next 90 days and available in public preview on Snowflake.

Snowflake’s big recent move was the launch of its Arctic large language model (LLM), which is another open source play for the company.