Integrating Snowflake With Tableau Desktop

Author: Srutimala Deka


A Brief Introduction to Snowflake

Snowflake is a cloud platform that primarily provides data warehouses and computes as a service. Snowflake enables businesses to harness the power of data through their Saas platform that is easily scalable and adds performance with zero tunings. Snowflake has made its mark as a reliable and scalable solution to meet modern data demands without costing a limb.


Snowflake provides:

  • A single source of unlimited data that becomes immediately queryable using SQL.

  • Support for all kinds of structured and semi-structured data such as JSON, XML, AVRO, ORC, etc.

  • Support for nearly unlimited concurrent users and instances over the underlying data source does away with data silos.

  • Data security and recovery that is made to deliver robust performance under any conditions.

A Brief Introduction to Tableau

Tableau is a data visualization tool in the form of a software application for business intelligence. Tableau has emerged as a leader in the data visualization scene with its easy-to-use platform, which uses drag and drops features to give complex analytics with stark visualization capabilities within minutes. Tableau has single-handedly changed the way data is utilized for business and created a new benchmark on the versatility of such tools.

Tableau provides:

  • User-oriented design that requires no special training to use the software.

  • An array of tools for specialized usage such as Tableau Desktop, Tableau Server, Tableau Public, and others.

  • Special features include data blending, real-time analysis, and single visualization from multiple data sources using JDBC drivers.

Why integrate Snowflake and Tableau?
  • Snowflake warehouses allow data to reside within a single place, which means only a single connection from Tableau Desktop would be sufficient.

  • The pair allows for real-time analytics within Tableau as and when data gets updated within Snowflake.

  • Snowflake’s inherent support for unstructured and semi-structured data allows for fast and easy data analytics within Tableau.

  • Snowflake and Tableau provide end-to-end analytics for big data, which can be shared easily across teams and organizations.

Connecting Snowflake and Tableau Desktop
  • Download drivers from the snowflake’s help menu


  • Go to Help > Download.



  • Select the ODBC Driver option and choose one of the two options on the right pane.

  • A webpage will open up in the browser window. From the options, click on the appropriate ones. For example; for 64-bit Windows, select odbc > win64 > latest. Then select the .msi file to commence downloading.


  • Click on the downloaded file and follow the instructions by clicking on next. Click install once the steps are complete.


  • Connect to Snowflake account from Tableau Desktop

  • Go to the Start Page on Tableau Desktop and click on More under the To a Server section. Find Snowflake on the list and select it.



  • The Snowflake connection form opens up. Enter the server name for your Snowflake account and your role.



  • For authentication, there are three options, as shown in the image. We will use the username and password which we use to log into our snowflake account. If you have an OAuth setup for your account, it is recommended to use the OAuth option here.



  • Once the connection is successful, you will be taken to the Data Source page. Choose the preferred warehouse, database, and schema. The snowflake tables belonging to the schema will automatically appear below.



Note: Tableau requires a snowflake warehouse to query data into Tableau for analysis.

Conclusion

It is extremely easy to connect Snowflake to Tableau.

Once a connection is established, it will persist. The password, however, is not stored in Tableau and needs to be entered each time the Data Source page is accessed. Before analysis can begin, the data model needs to be prepared, consisting of one or more tables based on business requirements.

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