Introduction to Data Sharing¶
Data Sharing enables account-to-account sharing of data in Snowflake database tables and views. The principle participants in any Data Sharing relationship are the data provider and one or more data consumers:
|Data provider:||Any Snowflake account that shares data with other Snowflake accounts.|
|Data consumer:||Any Snowflake account that uses shared data from a provider.|
Snowflake enables the sharing of databases through shares, which are created by data providers and “imported” by data consumers.
In this Topic:
All database objects shared between accounts are read-only (i.e. the objects cannot be modified or deleted, including adding or modifying table data).
In addition, Data Sharing is currently only supported between accounts in the same Snowflake Region.
How Does Data Sharing Work?¶
With Data Sharing, no actual data is copied or transferred between accounts. All sharing is accomplished through Snowflake’s unique services layer and metadata store. This is an important concept because it means that shared data does not take up any storage space in a consumer account and, therefore, does not contribute to the consumer’s monthly data storage charges. The only charges to consumers are for the compute resources (i.e. virtual warehouses) used to query the shared data.
In addition, because no data is copied or exchanged, Data Sharing setup is quick and easy for providers and access to the shared data is instantaneous for consumers:
The provider creates a share of a database in their account and grants access to specific objects (i.e. tables and secure views) in the database. One or more accounts are then added to the share, which can include your own accounts (if you have multiple Snowflake accounts).
For more details, see What is a Share? (in this topic).
On the consumer side, a read-only database is created from the share. Access to this database is configurable using the same, standard role-based access control that Snowflake provides for all objects in the system.
Through this architecture, Snowflake enables creating a network of providers that can share data with multiple consumers (including withing their own organization) and consumers that can access shared data from multiple providers:
Any account can serve as both a provider and a consumer of shared data.
Overview of Data Providers¶
A data provider is any Snowflake account that creates shares and makes them available to other Snowflake accounts to consume. As a data provider, you share a database with one or more Snowflake accounts. For each database you share, Snowflake supports using grants to provide granular access control to selected objects (schemas, tables, and secure views) in the database (i.e. you grant access privileges for one ore more specific objects within the database).
Snowflake does not place any hard limits on the number of shares you can create or the number of accounts you can add to a share.
Overview of Data Consumers¶
A data consumer is any account that chooses to create a database from a share made available by a data provider. As a data consumer, once you add a shared database to your account, you can access and query the objects in the database just as you would any other database in your account.
Snowflake does not place any hard limits on the number of shares you can consume from data providers; however, you can only create one database per share.
Data Sharing is only supported between Snowflake accounts. As a data provider, you may wish to share data with a consumer who does not already have a Snowflake account and/or is not ready to become a licensed Snowflake customer. To facilitate sharing data with these consumers, Snowflake supports creating read-only accounts, which provide a quick, easy, and cost-effective way to share data without requiring the consumer to become a Snowflake customer.
Users in a read-only account can query data that has been shared with the account, but cannot perform any of the other tasks that are allowed in a full customer account (database creation, data loading, DML, etc.).
For more details, see Read-only Accounts (FAQ).