Amazon Athena Snowflake connector - Amazon Athena
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Amazon Athena Snowflake connector

The Amazon Athena connector for Snowflake enables Amazon Athena to run SQL queries on data stored in your Snowflake SQL database or RDS instances using JDBC.



  • Write DDL operations are not supported.

  • In a multiplexer setup, the spill bucket and prefix are shared across all database instances.

  • Any relevant Lambda limits. For more information, see Lambda quotas in the Amazon Lambda Developer Guide.

  • Currently, Snowflake views with single split are supported.

  • In Snowflake, because object names are case sensitive, two tables can have the same name in lower and upper case (for example, EMPLOYEE and employee). In Athena Federated Query, schema table names are provided to the Lambda function in lower case. To work around this issue, you can provide @schemaCase query hints to retrieve the data from the tables that have case sensitive names. Following are two sample queries with query hints.

    SELECT * FROM "lambda:snowflakeconnector".SYSTEM."MY_TABLE@schemaCase=upper&tableCase=upper"
    SELECT * FROM "lambda:snowflakeconnector".SYSTEM."MY_TABLE@schemaCase=upper&tableCase=lower"


The following terms relate to the Snowflake connector.

  • Database instance – Any instance of a database deployed on premises, on Amazon EC2, or on Amazon RDS.

  • Handler – A Lambda handler that accesses your database instance. A handler can be for metadata or for data records.

  • Metadata handler – A Lambda handler that retrieves metadata from your database instance.

  • Record handler – A Lambda handler that retrieves data records from your database instance.

  • Composite handler – A Lambda handler that retrieves both metadata and data records from your database instance.

  • Property or parameter – A database property used by handlers to extract database information. You configure these properties as Lambda environment variables.

  • Connection String – A string of text used to establish a connection to a database instance.

  • Catalog – A non-Amazon Glue catalog registered with Athena that is a required prefix for the connection_string property.

  • Multiplexing handler – A Lambda handler that can accept and use multiple database connections.


Use the Lambda environment variables in this section to configure the Snowflake connector.

Connection string

Use a JDBC connection string in the following format to connect to a database instance.


Using a multiplexing handler

You can use a multiplexer to connect to multiple database instances with a single Lambda function. Requests are routed by catalog name. Use the following classes in Lambda.

Handler Class
Composite handler SnowflakeMuxCompositeHandler
Metadata handler SnowflakeMuxMetadataHandler
Record handler SnowflakeMuxRecordHandler

Multiplexing handler parameters

Parameter Description
$catalog_connection_string Required. A database instance connection string. Prefix the environment variable with the name of the catalog used in Athena. For example, if the catalog registered with Athena is mysnowflakecatalog, then the environment variable name is mysnowflakecatalog_connection_string.
default Required. The default connection string. This string is used when the catalog is lambda:${AWS_LAMBDA_FUNCTION_NAME}.

The following example properties are for a Snowflake MUX Lambda function that supports two database instances: snowflake1 (the default), and snowflake2.

Property Value
default snowflake://jdbc:snowflake://${Test/RDS/Snowflake1}
snowflake_catalog1_connection_string snowflake://jdbc:snowflake://${Test/RDS/Snowflake1}
snowflake_catalog2_connection_string snowflake://jdbc:snowflake://

Providing credentials

To provide a user name and password for your database in your JDBC connection string, you can use connection string properties or Amazon Secrets Manager.

  • Connection String – A user name and password can be specified as properties in the JDBC connection string.


    As a security best practice, do not use hardcoded credentials in your environment variables or connection strings. For information about moving your hardcoded secrets to Amazon Secrets Manager, see Move hardcoded secrets to Amazon Secrets Manager in the Amazon Secrets Manager User Guide.

  • Amazon Secrets Manager – To use the Athena Federated Query feature with Amazon Secrets Manager, the VPC connected to your Lambda function should have internet access or a VPC endpoint to connect to Secrets Manager.

    You can put the name of a secret in Amazon Secrets Manager in your JDBC connection string. The connector replaces the secret name with the username and password values from Secrets Manager.

    For Amazon RDS database instances, this support is tightly integrated. If you use Amazon RDS, we highly recommend using Amazon Secrets Manager and credential rotation. If your database does not use Amazon RDS, store the credentials as JSON in the following format:

    {"username": "${username}", "password": "${password}"}
Example connection string with secret name

The following string has the secret name ${Test/RDS/Snowflake1}.


The connector uses the secret name to retrieve secrets and provide the user name and password, as in the following example.


Currently, Snowflake recognizes the user and password JDBC properties. It also accepts the user name and password in the format username/password without the keys user or password.

Using a single connection handler

You can use the following single connection metadata and record handlers to connect to a single Snowflake instance.

Handler type Class
Composite handler SnowflakeCompositeHandler
Metadata handler SnowflakeMetadataHandler
Record handler SnowflakeRecordHandler

Single connection handler parameters

Parameter Description
default Required. The default connection string.

The single connection handlers support one database instance and must provide a default connection string parameter. All other connection strings are ignored.

The following example property is for a single Snowflake instance supported by a Lambda function.

Property Value
default snowflake://jdbc:snowflake://

Spill parameters

The Lambda SDK can spill data to Amazon S3. All database instances accessed by the same Lambda function spill to the same location.

Parameter Description
spill_bucket Required. Spill bucket name.
spill_prefix Required. Spill bucket key prefix.
spill_put_request_headers (Optional) A JSON encoded map of request headers and values for the Amazon S3 putObject request that is used for spilling (for example, {"x-amz-server-side-encryption" : "AES256"}). For other possible headers, see PutObject in the Amazon Simple Storage Service API Reference.

Data type support

The following table shows the corresponding data types for JDBC and Apache Arrow.

JDBC Arrow
Boolean Bit
Integer Tiny
Short Smallint
Integer Int
Long Bigint
float Float4
Double Float8
Date DateDay
Timestamp DateMilli
String Varchar
Bytes Varbinary
BigDecimal Decimal

Data type conversions

In addition to the JDBC to Arrow conversions, the connector performs certain other conversions to make the Snowflake source and Athena data types compatible. These conversions help ensure that queries get executed successfully. The following table shows these conversions.

Source data type (Snowflake) Converted data type (Athena)

All other unsupported data types are converted to VARCHAR.

Partitions and splits

Partitions are used to determine how to generate splits for the connector. Athena constructs a synthetic column of type varchar that represents the partitioning scheme for the table to help the connector generate splits. The connector does not modify the actual table definition.

To create this synthetic column and the partitions, Athena requires a primary key to be defined. However, because Snowflake does not enforce primary key constraints, you must enforce uniqueness yourself. Failure to do so causes Athena to default to a single split.


For optimal performance, use filters in queries whenever possible. In addition, we highly recommend native partitioning to retrieve huge datasets that have uniform partition distribution. Selecting a subset of columns significantly speeds up query runtime and reduces data scanned. The Snowflake connector is resilient to throttling due to concurrency.

The Athena Snowflake connector performs predicate pushdown to decrease the data scanned by the query. LIMIT clauses, simple predicates, and complex expressions are pushed down to the connector to reduce the amount of data scanned and decrease query execution run time.

LIMIT clauses

A LIMIT N statement reduces the data scanned by the query. With LIMIT N pushdown, the connector returns only N rows to Athena.


A predicate is an expression in the WHERE clause of a SQL query that evaluates to a Boolean value and filters rows based on multiple conditions. The Athena Snowflake connector can combine these expressions and push them directly to Snowflake for enhanced functionality and to reduce the amount of data scanned.

The following Athena Snowflake connector operators support predicate pushdown:

  • Boolean: AND, OR, NOT




Combined pushdown example

For enhanced querying capabilities, combine the pushdown types, as in the following example:

SELECT * FROM my_table WHERE col_a > 10 AND ((col_a + col_b) > (col_c % col_d)) AND (col_e IN ('val1', 'val2', 'val3') OR col_f LIKE '%pattern%') LIMIT 10;

Passthrough queries

The Snowflake connector supports passthrough queries. Passthrough queries use a table function to push your full query down to the data source for execution.

To use passthrough queries with Snowflake, you can use the following syntax:

SELECT * FROM TABLE( system.query( query => 'query string' ))

The following example query pushes down a query to a data source in Snowflake. The query selects all columns in the customer table, limiting the results to 10.

SELECT * FROM TABLE( system.query( query => 'SELECT * FROM customer LIMIT 10' ))

License information

By using this connector, you acknowledge the inclusion of third party components, a list of which can be found in the pom.xml file for this connector, and agree to the terms in the respective third party licenses provided in the LICENSE.txt file on

Additional resources

For the latest JDBC driver version information, see the pom.xml file for the Snowflake connector on

For additional information about this connector, visit the corresponding site on