Understanding & Viewing Fail-safe

Separate and distinct from Time Travel, Fail-safe ensures historical data is protected in the event of a system failure or other catastrophic event, e.g. a hardware failure or security breach.

In this Topic:

What is Fail-safe?

Fail-safe in Continuous Data Protection lifecycle

Fail-safe provides a (non-configurable) 7-day period during which historical data is recoverable by Snowflake. This period starts immediately after the Time Travel retention period ends.


Fail-safe is not provided as a means for accessing historical data after the Time Travel retention period has ended. It is for use only by Snowflake to recover data that may have been lost or damaged due to extreme operational failures.

Why Fail-safe Instead of Backup?

Data corruption or loss can happen with any database management system. To mitigate the risk, DBAs traditionally perform full and incremental backups, but this can double or even triple overall data storage. In addition, data recovery can be painful and costly due to numerous factors, including:

  • Time required to reload lost data.
  • Business downtime during recovery.
  • Loss of data since the last backup.

Snowflake’s multi-data center, redundant architecture greatly reduces the need for traditional backup; however, risks still exist because data corruption/loss can occur inadvertently. Fail-safe provides an efficient and cost-effective alternative to backup that eliminates the remaining risk and scales with your data.

Viewing Fail-safe Storage for Your Account

In the web interface, account administrators can view the total data storage for their account, including historical data in Fail-safe. The page also provides a filter for viewing only Fail-safe storage:

Data storage view with Fail-safe filter applied