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Leo Giakoumakis

Snowflake Computing, the Silicon Valley-based cloud data warehouse company led by former Microsoft exec Bob Muglia, is opening an engineering office in the Seattle region — planning to hire 10 to 15 engineers at the location this year, and potentially expanding to as many as 50 to 100 long-term.

Leo Giakoumakis, who joined Snowflake from Microsoft, will lead the engineering office, at the City Center Bellevue building in Bellevue, Wash. Giakoumakis has 20 years of software engineering experience, having led Microsoft engineering teams for 13 years on projects including SQL Server, Azure SQL and most recently HDInsight, where he delivered Hadoop, Spark and Kafka clusters as a cloud service, the company said.

With the expansion, Snowflake becomes the latest in a long list of Silicon Valley companies to open engineering centers in the Seattle region. The company, which runs its cloud data warehouse on Amazon Web Services, said in a news release that the Seattle area’s status as a leader in cloud technology made the region a “natural location” for its first engineering office outside the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bob Muglia

Snowflake CEO Muglia, whose 23-year tenure at Microsoft culminated as president of the tech giant’s Server & Tools Division, joined Snowflake in June 2014. He said in an interview that the startup considered a variety of factors when choosing the specific location within the Seattle region.

“There are so many tech companies moving to Bellevue, which is one reason we were attracted by it,” Muglia said. “We spent a lot of time thinking about Seattle proper versus the Eastside. Seattle is becoming very congested. Amazon is opening offices in Bellevue, while Facebook is coming to Seattle, so there’s technology moving in both directions. We were only going to choose one of those locations, and we chose Bellevue because it’s reasonably central and less congested.”

The company is starting with team of five in at the new office: four engineers and one product manager. It’s currently hiring for a number of product management and engineering roles in the region. “We’re targeting at least 10 to 15 engineers this year, and I can easily see us having 50 to 100 engineers there eventually,” Muglia said.

Co-founded in 2012 by database architects Benoit Dageville and Thierry Cruanes, the company currently has 175 employees overall, with the bulk of its engineering staff at its San Mateo, Calif., headquarters.

The company’s third co-founder, Marcin Zukowski, is credited with inventing vectorized query execution in databases. Snowflake‘s head of engineering, Sameet Agrawal, also spent many years at Microsoft, heading the SQL Server Relational Database Engine.

Even though Snowflake’s cloud data warehouse runs on AWS, it competes with Amazon’s own Redshift data warehouse — not an uncommon situation in the modern world of cloud technology.

Technology writer and reporter Dan Richman contributed to this report.

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