How to configure a Snowflake Datasource

This guide shows how to connect to a Snowflake Datasource.

Great Expectations supports 3 different authentication mechanisms for Snowflake:

  • User / password

  • Single sign-on (SSO)

  • Key pair

Prerequisites: This how-to guide assumes you have already:


To add a Snowflake datasource, for all authentication mechanisms:

  1. Install the required modules

    If you haven’t already, install these modules for connecting to Snowflake.

    pip install sqlalchemy
    pip install snowflake-connector-python
    pip install snowflake-sqlalchemy
  2. Run datasource new

    From the command line, run:

    great_expectations datasource new
  3. Choose “Relational database (SQL)”

    What data would you like Great Expectations to connect to?
        1. Files on a filesystem (for processing with Pandas or Spark)
        2. Relational database (SQL)
    : 2
  4. Choose Snowflake

    Which database backend are you using?
        1. MySQL
        2. Postgres
        3. Redshift
        4. Snowflake
        5. BigQuery
        6. other - Do you have a working SQLAlchemy connection string?
    : 4
  5. Give your Datasource a name

    When prompted, provide a custom name for your Snowflake data source, or hit Enter to accept the default.

    Give your new Datasource a short name.
  6. Choose an authentication mechanism

    What authentication method would you like to use?
    1. User and Password
    2. Single sign-on (SSO)
    3. Key pair authentication
  7. Enter connection information

    Next, you will be asked for information common to all authentication mechanisms.

    Next, we will configure database credentials and store them in the `my_snowflake_db` section
    of this config file: great_expectations/uncommitted/config_variables.yml:
    What is the user login name for the snowflake connection? []: myusername
    What is the account name for the snowflake connection (include region -- ex '')? []:
    What is database name for the snowflake connection? (optional -- leave blank for none) []: MY_DATABASE
    What is schema name for the snowflake connection? (optional -- leave blank for none) []: MY_SCHEMA
    What is warehouse name for the snowflake connection? (optional -- leave blank for none) []: MY_COMPUTE_WH
    What is role name for the snowflake connection? (optional -- leave blank for none) []: MY_ROLE
  8. For “User and Password”: provide password

    Next, you will be asked to supply the password for your Snowflake instance:

    What is the password for the snowflake connection?:

    Great Expectations will store these secrets privately on your machine. They will not be committed to git.

  9. For “Single sign-on (SSO)”: provide SSO information

    Next, you will be asked to enter single sign-on information:

    Valid okta URL or 'externalbrowser' used to connect through SSO: externalbrowser
  10. For “Key pair authentication”: provide key pair information

    Next, you will be asked to enter key pair authentication information:

    Path to the private key used for authentication: ~/.ssh/my_snowflake.p8
    Passphrase for the private key used for authentication (optional -- leave blank for none): mypass

    Great Expectations will store these secrets privately on your machine. They will not be committed to git.

  11. Wait to verify your connection

    You will then see the following message on your terminal screen:

    Attempting to connect to your database. This may take a moment...

    For SSO, you will additionally see a “browser tab” open, follow the authentication process and close the tab once the following message is displayed:

    Your identity was confirmed and propagated to Snowflake PythonConnector. You can close this window now and go back where you started from.

    If all goes well, it will be followed by the message:

    Great Expectations connected to your database!

    If you run into an error, you will see something like:

    Cannot connect to the database.
      - Please check your environment and the configuration you provided.
      - Database Error: Cannot initialize datasource my_snowflake_db, error: (snowflake.connector.errors.DatabaseError) 250001 (08001): Failed to connect to DB: Incorrect username or password was specified.
    (Background on this error at:
    Enter the credentials again? [Y/n]:

    In this case, please check your credentials, ports, firewall, etc. and try again.

  12. Save your new configuration

    Finally, you’ll be asked to confirm that you want to save your configuration:

    Great Expectations will now add a new Datasource 'my_snowflake_db' to your deployment, by adding this entry to your great_expectations.yml:
        credentials: ${my_snowflake_db}
          class_name: SqlAlchemyDataset
          module_name: great_expectations.dataset
        class_name: SqlAlchemyDatasource
    The credentials will be saved in uncommitted/config_variables.yml under the key 'my_snowflake_db'
    Would you like to proceed? [Y/n]:

    After this confirmation, you can proceed with exploring the data sets in your new Snowflake Datasource.

Additional Notes

  1. When using the Snowflake dialect, SqlAlchemyDataset will create a transient table instead of a temporary table when passing in query Batch Kwargs or providing custom_sql to its constructor. Consequently, users must provide a snowflake_transient_table in addition to the query parameter. Any existing table with that name will be overwritten. Note that a transient table is only required when using custom SQL. If your Snowflake user is unable to create transient tables, or you don’t want to manually maintain or drop them, you can always use the table Batch Kwarg and no additional tables will be created by Great Expectations.

  2. snowflake_transient_table and table Batch Kwargs do not currently accept a fully qualified table name (i.e. database.schema.table) - only the table name alone. Queries generated by Great Expectations are scoped to the the schema and database specified in your datasource configuration, including the creation of the transient table specified in snowflake_transient_table. If you need to use custom SQL, but want to isolate transient tables creates to a schema seperate from the rest of your warehouse, you can fully qualify your custom SQL, and let the transient table be created using the database and schema specified in your datasource configuration.

  3. Should you need to modify your connection string, you can manually edit the great_expectations/uncommitted/config_variables.yml file.

  4. You can edit the great_expectations/uncommitted/config_variables.yml file to accomplish the connection configuration without using the CLI. The entry would have the following format:

    For “User and password authentication”:

        url: "snowflake://<user_login_name>:<password>@<account_name>/<database_name>/<schema_name>?warehouse=<warehouse_name>&role=<role_name>"

    For “Single sign-on authentication”:

        url: "snowflake://<>:<password>@<account_name>/<database_name>/<schema_name>?authenticator=<externalbrowser or valid URL encoded okta url>&warehouse=<warehouse_name>&role=<role_name>"

    For “Key pair authentication”:

        drivername: snowflake
        username: <user_login_name>
        host: <account_name>
        database: <database_name>
            schema: <schema_name>
            warehouse: <warehouse_name>
            role: <role_name>
        private_key_path: </path/to/key.p8>
        private_key_passphrase: <pass_phrase or ''>
  5. For Snowflake SSO authentication, by default, one browser tab will be opened per connection. You can enable token caching at the account level to re-use tokens and minimize the number of browser tabs opened.

    To do so, run the following SQL on Snowflake:

    alter account set allow_id_token = true;

    And make sure the version of your snowflake-connector-python library is >=2.2.8