Terraform and Snowflake: An Essential Integration

With the Terraform-Snowflake integration, users can automate their Snowflake infrastructure, increasing productivity and efficiency. Learn how Terraform and Snowflake work together to build, change, and manage on-prem resources safely, all while working across different providers.
June 8, 2023
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Hakkoda - Terraform and Snowflake - Terraform and Snowflake: An Essential Integration

Snowflake is a cloud-data warehouse that enables data storage, processing, and analytic solutions that are faster, easier to use, and far more flexible than traditional offerings. It is built on top of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure Cloud (Azure) infrastructure. Snowflake is continually partnering with solutions that enable users to develop on their platform with ease. So it is no surprise that Terraform, arguably one of the most popular cloud application development solutions available, and Snowflake, have formed an essential integration. 

In this blog, we’ll go over how this integration works and how users can leverage Terraform and Snowflake to manage different projects and resources.

What is Terraform?

Terraform is an open-source infrastructure as a code (IaaC) tool that lets you define both cloud and on-prem resources with human readable configuration files. Terraform works by managing all the deployment of your resources and infrastructure. It then communicates with the provider, which acts as an interpreter between any system you want to interact with. This could be a target API; in our case, this is Snowflake. The provider for Terraform and Snowflake is managed by Snowflake Labs; however, there are other providers available such as AWS, GCP, and Azure. 

Terraform helps you build, change, and manage on-prem resources safely and efficiently, in parallel across those providers even if your servers come from different providers, such as AWS or Azure. Using Terraform is a great way to manage account-level Snowflake resources like Warehouses, Databases, Schemas, Tables, and Roles/Grants, among many other use cases. 

Terraform Benefits and Use Cases 

The attraction of using Terraform in your Snowflake environment is to operate with a best practice way of source control by automating the creation of resources. Most system administrators of enterprise Snowflake environments currently manually create objects within Snowflake, for example, the management of users, schemas, roles, or integrations. The benefit of adopting Terraform will allow administrators to quickly and efficiently manage their entire Snowflake environment without the need for a manual, day-to-day effort. 

There are two main use cases for how Terraform simplifies and streamlines your Snowflake environment: Managing Objects and Managing Privileges.

Managing Objects

Since there is no standard protocol followed while creating new objects in Snowflake, the manual object creation process is error-prone. Terraform Snowflake Integration helps you manage your Snowflake infrastructure and resources and has made it easy to manage all of your Snowflake objects.

Managing Privileges 

Terraform Cloud teams can have read, plan, write, or admin permissions on individual workspaces. With Terraform Snowflake provider, you can avoid situations where someone accidentally grants a user the wrong role manually since Terraform Cloud’s access model is team-based. So in order to perform an action within a Terraform Cloud organization, users must belong to a team that has been granted the appropriate permissions. 

Hakkoda - Terraform and Snowflake - Terraform and Snowflake: An Essential Integration

Terraform Best Practices

The following guidelines and recommendations will set users up for effective development with Terraform across multiple team members and work streams.

Mature Deployment Processes

Enterprise Terraform has development steps pre-written so that users can establish CI/CD pipelines that kick off the plan and apply processes. By creating a “dummy” deployment that only contains the framework for what you want to use. Without using data in the deployment, you can easily see how all resources work together before pushing to production. 

Security

Many Snowflake customers use Terraform to comply with security controls, maintain consistency, and support similar engineering workflows for infrastructure at scale. Some key actions that will help maintain strict security guidelines are: 

  • Use the bare minimum in permissions for the Snowflake role you are assigned. Give the minimum role that you need for the role your Terraform is performing (roles, grants, objects, etc.)
  • Use a higher form of authentication such as an RSA key, authentication token, etc.
  • Do not store passwords for users in configuration files.

Unit Testing

Unit tests ensure a specific part or function of a program behaves correctly. In Terraform, unit tests usually target a single module. The following are ways unit testing is beneficial, especially when your Terraform modules start to become more complex. 

  • Unit testing can adopt a Terraform plan to ensure that the actual values available in the generated plan are equal to the expected values.
  • Testing your application can give you faster feedback cycles and guard you against unwanted changes.
  • Terraform unit tests work entirely off of your calculated Terraform plan. No additional compute is required to run them. 

Automation and Management Made Easy

Snowflake, a near-zero management platform, is a major player in the Cloud Data Warehousing industry. Although there are minimal knobs to turn, some fine-tuning is still required to achieve stellar performance. This is where Terraform Snowflake Integration comes in. It helps you to completely manage your Snowflake infrastructure and resources. By ditching the manual effort of maintaining your Snowflake environment, you and your team increase productivity and efficiency by automating your infrastructure. It has recently been adopted more into Snowflake because of the simplicity of managing all objects within the environment. 

If you would like to learn more about Terraform and see some examples of it in action, please visit the Snowflake Quickstarts documentation and check out the recent release from Snowflake Labs on GitHub

Snowflake + Hakkoda

As a Snowflake Elite Services Partner, we have deep vertical expertise with a team of SnowPro certified data scientists and engineers. By partnering with Hakkoda, you gain access to state-of-the-art solutions, accelerators and tools that support you and your business throughout your data innovation journey. If you want to keep your data secure while keeping pace with innovation, contact one of our experts today

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