Exploring Dbt Cloud vs. Dbt Core


Are you looking to set up a new cloud infrastructure or data team today? If that is the case, a non-negotiable part of your stack should include dbt (data build tool). Ultimately, dbt is a production environment tool that is highly efficient at scheduling jobs for transformation in your cloud environment. Dbt has been quickly endorsed by many lately, mainly due to helping analytics engineers use their time and effort more effectively, leveraging it through bringing the best software engineering practices to the data world. And, dbt cloud is the SaaS element that comes with and extends the open-source Core product. 

Why Consider Getting a Dbt?

It is simpler than ever for a fledgling team to quickly gain momentum by adding a scheduler, IDE, hosted docs, and easy interoperability. Overall, dbt is a complementary tool that suits excellently well within any technology stack. Although the dbt Core is open source and free to use, dbt Cloud is an application to help teams use dbt and offers numerous free features and extra features with tiered pricing. 

What Are the Predominant Differences Between Dbt Cloud vs. Dbt Core?

While dbt Cloud is an integrated development environment (IDE), dbt Core is a command-line interface (CLI). The CLI allows users to execute dbt commands through a terminal program. The fundamental function of the IDE is to help you write dbt code in the fastest and most accurate way possible. With dbt Cloud, you will receive a web-based IDE to build dbt projects, a purpose-built scheduler, and can share dbt documentation with your team. 

The dbt Core is the software that inputs a dbt project and a command and then develops tables and views in your warehouse. The underlying factor differentiating dbt Cloud and dbt Core from one another is how you work with each. It is generally that dbt Cloud gives a simple and opinionated way to deploy the features in dbt Core effortlessly.

A Committed IDE Means a Quicker Development Loop 

Typically, the way to create a dbt project would be to use the text editor on your computer. Setting it up is, for the most part, relatively straightforward for data engineers to begin. You build models (individual templated SQL queries that can rely on each other) and then use the dbt command line tool to organize the SQL (dbt compile). Once satisfied with the end product, you materialize the models to your data warehouse (dbt run). Although this is an intense process, the CLI does not provide a way to preview your query results as you go about developing. You must copy your compiled code to your query runner at every step to ensure everything works. 

Receive Live Query Results With Dbt Cloud 

A distinguishing factor about dbt Cloud is that it has an IDE, which significantly lessens the tension from this iteration process. The IDE compiles the query, sends it to your data warehouse (with an attached limit of 500), and reveals the results in that same browser tab. You are a simple command key click away from previewing a query’s current, updated version. Since you can effortlessly run queries as you go, you can see samples of your data and incrementally construct even the most engaged models. 

Securely Host Documentation

Straight away, dbt comes with a built-in viewer for documents so that you can better understand the outline of your project and its dependencies. You can democratize your documentation with a hosted doc site. If you are developing locally, you can preview it by running the commands dbt docs create and dbt docs serve.

With dbt Cloud, you can amplify this impact even further, as you can also make the documentation accessible to all you want your reports available to as part of your account. So, this benefits you and everyone working in your centralized data warehouse. With dbt Cloud, you receive a hosted documentation site with restricted access. Free viewer accounts let you make your hard-earned documentation accessible to all without needing to fret about the logistics of security and deployment. 


Numerous elements differentiate dbt Cloud from dbt Core that we outline here. The most significant advantage that dbt Cloud offers users, particularly those with a small team, is freedom from distracting elements. Whether you want to host documentation or accelerate your day-to-day work securely, dbt Cloud can help. With the opportunity that dbt Cloud offers to make sense of your company’s data better, you can focus more on adding in your unique value. A generous free tier comes with dbt Cloud already if you are a single developer, as well as offers developer seats for only $50 per month if you are part of a larger team. Enterprise options are also available for more advanced configurations, such as SSO, single-tenant deployments, and more. The dbt Cloud can help make your work with dbt Core more productive in the long run and might be an option you want to consider using in the future to accelerate your workflow and that of your team if you are part of one. 

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