Deep metric learning, which learns discriminative features to process image clustering and retrieval tasks, has attracted extensive attention in recent years. A number of deep metric learning methods, which ensure that similar examples are mapped close to each other and dissimilar examples are mapped farther apart, have been proposed to construct effective structures for loss functions and have shown promising results. In this paper, different from the approaches on learning the loss structures, we propose a robust SNR distance metric based on Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) for measuring the similarity of image pairs for deep metric learning. By exploring the properties of our SNR distance metric from the view of geometry space and statistical theory, we analyze the properties of our metric and show that it can preserve the semantic similarity between image pairs, which well justify its suitability for deep metric learning. Compared with Euclidean distance metric, our SNR distance metric can further jointly reduce the intra-class distances and enlarge the inter-class distances for learned features. Leveraging our SNR distance metric, we propose Deep SNR-based Metric Learning (DSML) to generate discriminative feature embeddings. By extensive experiments on three widely adopted benchmarks, including CARS196, CUB200-2011 and CIFAR10, our DSML has shown its superiority over other state-of-the-art methods. Additionally, we extend our SNR distance metric to deep hashing learning, and conduct experiments on two benchmarks, including CIFAR10 and NUS-WIDE, to demonstrate the effectiveness and generality of our SNR distance metric.