Snowflake Spark Connector with Examples

In this Snowflake tutorial, you will learn what is Snowflake, it’s advantages and connecting Spark with Snowflake using a connector to read the Snowflake table into Spark DataFrame and write DataFrame into Snowflake table with Scala examples.

What is Snowflake Database

Snowflake database is a purely cloud-based data storage and analytics Dataware house provided as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Snowflake database is architecture and designed an entirely new SQL database engine to work with cloud infrastructure.

Unlike traditional databases, you don’t have to download and install the database to use it, instead, you just need to create an account online, this gives you access to the web console, access the console and create the database, schema, and tables. Access the database and tables either by Web console, ODBC, and JDBC drivers and third party connectors.

Though underlying architecture is different it shares the same ANSI SQL syntax and features hence learning Snowflake is easy and fast if you are coming from SQL background.

What is Apache Spark

Apache Spark is an open-source, reliable, scalable and distributed general-purpose computing engine used for processing and analyzing big data files from different sources like HDFS, S3, Azure e.t.c

Snowflake Spark Connector

Snowflake Spark connector “spark-snowflake” enables Apache Spark to read data from, and write data to Snowflake tables. When you use a connector, Spark treats Snowflake as data sources similar to HDFS, S3, JDBC, e.t.c. In fact, Snowflake spark-connector provides the data source "net.snowflake.spark.snowflake" and it’s short-form "snowflake".

Snowflake provides a separate Spark connector for each Spark version hence, make sure you download and used the right version for your Spark.

The connector uses the JDBC driver to communicate with Snowflake and performs the following operations.

  • Create a Spark DataFrame by reading a table from Snowflake.
  • Write the Spark DataFrame to Snowflake table.

Data transfer between Spark RDD/DataFrame/Dataset and Snowflake happens through Snowflake internal storage (created automatically) or external storage (user provides AWS/Azure) which is used by Snowflake Spark connector to store temporary session data.

Every time when you access the Snowflake from Spark, It does the following.

  • The session is created with a stage along with storage on Snowflake schema.
  • It maintains the stage thorough out the session.
  • Uses the stage to store intermediate data and
  • Finally drops the stage when you end the connection.

Maven dependency


Create a Snowflake table to access from Spark

Unfortunately, while working with Spark, you can’t use the default database that comes with Snowflake account as spark-connector needs the privilege to create a stage on schema but we can’t change the permission on default schema hence, will create a new database and table.

In order to create a Database, logon to Snowflake web console, select the Databases from the top menu and select “create a new database” option and finally enter the database name on the form and select “Finish” button.

To create a table you can use either Snowflake web console or use the below program to create.

val properties = new java.util.Properties()
  properties.put("user", "user")
  properties.put("password", "#########")
  properties.put("account", "oea82")
  properties.put("warehouse", "mywh")
  properties.put("db", "EMP")
  properties.put("schema", "public")

  //JDBC connection string
  val jdbcUrl = "jdbc:snowflake://"
  val connection = DriverManager.getConnection(jdbcUrl, properties)
  val statement = connection.createStatement
  statement.executeUpdate("create or replace table EMPLOYEE(name VARCHAR, department VARCHAR, salary number)")

This Spark with Snowflake example is also available at GitHub project for reference

Spark Connection parameters

In order to read/write you need to basically provide the following options

  • sfURL : URL of your account for e.g
  • sfAccount : You account name, you can get this from URL for e.g “oea82”
  • sfUser : Snowflake user name, typically your login user
  • sfPassword : user password
  • sfWarehouse : Snowflake Dataware house name
  • sfDatabase : Snowflake Database name
  • sfSchema : Database schema where your table belongs
  • sfRole : Snowflake user role
  • and more

Write Spark DataFrame to Snowflake table Example

By using the write() method (which is DataFrameWriter object) of the DataFrame and providing below values, you can write the Spark DataFrame to Snowflake table.

Use format() to specify the data source name either snowflake or net.snowflake.spark.snowflake

Use Option() to specify the connection parameters like URL, account, username, password, database name, schema, role and more.

Use dbtable option to specify the Snowflake table name you wanted to write to

Use mode() to specify if you wanted to overwrite, append, or ignore if the file already present.

package com.sparkbyexamples.spark

import org.apache.spark.sql.{SaveMode, SparkSession}

object WriteEmpDataFrameToSnowflake extends App {

  val spark = SparkSession.builder()


  import spark.implicits._

  val simpleData = Seq(("James","Sales",3000),
  val df = simpleData.toDF("name","department","salary")

  var sfOptions = Map(
    "sfURL" -> "",
    "sfAccount" -> "oea82",
    "sfUser" -> "user",
    "sfPassword" -> "####################",
    "sfDatabase" -> "EMP",
    "sfSchema" -> "PUBLIC",
    "sfRole" -> "ACCOUNTADMIN"

    .option("dbtable", "EMPLOYEE")


This Spark Snowflake connector scala example is also available at GitHub project WriteEmpDataFrameToSnowflake.scala for reference

Read Snowflake table into Spark DataFrame Example

By using the read() method (which is DataFrameReader object) of the SparkSession and providing data source name via format() method, connection options, and table name using dbtable

package com.sparkbyexamples.spark

import org.apache.spark.sql.{DataFrame, SparkSession}

object ReadEmpFromSnowflake extends App{

  val spark = SparkSession.builder()

  var sfOptions = Map(
    "sfURL" -> "",
    "sfAccount" -> "oea82",
    "sfUser" -> "user",
    "sfPassword" -> "#############",
    "sfDatabase" -> "EMP",
    "sfSchema" -> "PUBLIC",
    "sfRole" -> "ACCOUNTADMIN"

  val df: DataFrame =
    .format("net.snowflake.spark.snowflake") // or just use "snowflake"
    .option("dbtable", "EMPLOYEE")

This yields below output

|James  |Sales     |3000  |
|Michael|Sales     |4600  |
|Robert |Sales     |4100  |
|Maria  |Finance   |3000  |
|Raman  |Finance   |3000  |
|Scott  |Finance   |3300  |
|Jen    |Finance   |3900  |
|Jeff   |Marketing |3000  |
|Kumar  |Marketing |2000  |

Above Snowflake with Spark example demonstrates reading the entire table from the Snowflake table using dbtable option and creating a Spark DataFrame, below example uses a query option to execute a group by aggregate SQL query.

  val df1: DataFrame =
    .option("query", "select department, sum(salary) as total_salary from EMPLOYEE group by department")

This yields the below output.

|Sales     |11700       |
|Finance   |13200       |
|Marketing |5000        |

This Spark Snowflake connector scala example is also available at GitHub project ReadEmpFromSnowflake

Column Mapping

When your column names do not match between Spark DataFrame schema and Snowflake table-use <strong>columnmap</strong> options with a parameter as a single string literal.

.option("columnmap", "Map(col_2 -> col_b, col_3 -> col_a)")

Saving Modes

Spark DataFrameWriter also has a method mode() to specify SaveMode; the argument to this method either takes below string or a constant from SaveMode class.

overwrite – mode is used to overwrite the existing file, alternatively, you can use SaveMode.Overwrite.

append – To add the data to the existing file, alternatively, you can use SaveMode.Append.

ignore – Ignores write operation when the file already exists, alternatively you can use SaveMode.Ignore.

errorifexists or error – This is a default option when the file already exists, it returns an error, alternatively, you can use SaveMode.ErrorIfExists.


In this article, you have learned Snowflake is a cloud-based Dataware house database and storage engine that uses traditional ANSI SQL syntax to interact with the database and learned how to read a Snowflake table to Spark DataFrame and write Spark DataFrame to Snowflake table using Snowflake connector.


Happy Learning !!

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Leave a Reply

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    How can we pass parameters or variables in query in scala? like select * from table where column =

    1. NNK

      I believe you are looking for named parameters, I don’t think Spark supports that.

  2. dakshin rajavel

    do you have an example in java?

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