Read-only Accounts (FAQ)

Read-only accounts enable providers to share data with consumers who are not already Snowflake customers, without requiring the consumers to become Snowflake customers.

Note

Read-only accounts will soon be replaced with a new type of account, which will be previewed shortly. When the new account type is available, all read-only accounts will be deprecated and eventually obsoleted.

In this Topic:

What is a Read-only Account?

A read-only account enables data consumers to access and query data shared by the provider of the account, with minimal (or no) setup and usage costs for the consumer, and no requirements for the consumer to sign a licensing agreement with Snowflake.

The account is created, managed, and used by the consumer, but “owned” by the provider, who assumes responsibility for any credit charges incurred by the account and also manages the relationship with account users.

A read-only account is provisioned as a Snowflake Standard Edition account, meaning users in the account have access to Standard features and functionality, but with certain limitations. “Read-only” refers specifically to database objects and data, which cannot be created or modified in the account.

What is Allowed/Restricted in a Read-only Account?

Allowed Notes
Queries Any user in the account can perform queries if their assigned role has been granted the necessary privileges.
Data Unloading Also referred to as “data export”, table data can be unloaded into flat files created in an existing external location. This feature is useful if consumers want to combine the data shared by a provider with their own data outside of Snowflake. Currently, the only supported external locations are AWS S3 buckets.
Restricted Notes
Databases No creation of new databases is allowed. Attempting to create a database returns an error.
Database objects No creation of schemas, tables, views, sequences, stages, file formats, etc. is allowed. Attempting to create any of these objects returns an error.
Table DML No data can be added or modified in tables (i.e. all DML commands are disallowed).
Data Loading No new/additional data can be loaded/imported into Snowflake.

Are There Costs Associated with a Read-only Account?

For data consumers, there are typically no costs for creating and using a read-only account. The costs are covered by the provider, which consist primarily of the credit charges for using virtual warehouses to execute queries on the data shared with the account.

Who Provides Support for a Read-only Account?

Because a read-only account does not have a licensing agreement with Snowflake, standard support services are not available to account users. Instead, the provider of the account serves as the support contact:

Providers:

As a provider, you field questions and requests from read-only account users and provide responses as appropriate. If you are unable to directly resolve their issues or answer their questions, you can open a Snowflake Support ticket through the normal channels, as outlined in your support agreement.

Once a response has been provided by Snowflake Support, you then communicate the information back to the appropriate users in the read-only account.

Consumers:

Please contact your data provider if you encounter any issues or have any questions related to using Snowflake, including:

  • Connecting to the service.
  • Creating users.
  • Starting and stopping virtual warehouses
  • Querying shared data.