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You are viewing documentation for Immuta version 2.8.

For the latest version, view our documentation for Immuta SaaS or the latest self-hosted version.

Immuta Data Access Patterns

Audience: Data Owners, Data Users, and System Administrators

Content Summary: The Immuta data control plane does not require users to learn a new API or language to access data exposed there. Immuta plugs into existing tools and ongoing work while remaining completely invisible to downstream consumers by exposing the data through these foundational access patterns: Databricks, the Immuta Query Engine, HDFS, S3, Snowflake, and SparkSQL.


This native integration makes Databricks data sources exposed in Immuta available as tables in a Databricks cluster, and users can then query these data sources through their Notebook. Like other integrations, policies are applied to the plan that Spark builds for a user's query and all data access is native.

For more details, see the Databricks Installation Guide.

Immuta Query Engine

Users are provided a basic Immuta PostgreSQL connection. The tables within this connection represent all the connected data across your organization. Those tables, however, are virtual tables, completely empty until a query is run. At query time the SQL is proxied through the virtual Immuta table down to the native database while enforcing the policy automatically. The Immuta SQL connection can be used within any Business Intelligence (BI) tool or integrated directly into code for interactive analysis.


Unlike the other access patterns, the Immuta HDFS access pattern is not virtual. The value in HDFS processing is to bring the code to the data, and as such, requires the Immuta policies to be enforced in-place on the data in the HDFS data nodes. Because of this, the Immuta HDFS layer can only act on data stored in HDFS. However, you are able to build complex subscription and granular access policies on objects stored in HDFS and retain all the rich audit capabilities provided by the other Immuta virtual layers.


Immuta supports an S3-style REST API, which allows users to communicate with Immuta the same way they would with S3. Consequently, Immuta easily integrates with tools users may already be using to work with S3.


Native Snowflake workspaces allow users to access protected data directly in Snowflake without having to go through the Immuta Query Engine. Within these workspaces, users can interact directly with Snowflake secure views, create derived data sources, and collaborate with other project members at a common access level. Because these derived data sources will inherit all appropriate policies, that data can then be shared outside the project. Additionally, derived data sources use the credentials of the Immuta system Snowflake account, which will allow them to persist after a workspace is disconnected.

For more details about Snowflake workspaces, see the Projects Overview.


Users are able to access subscribed data sources within their Spark Jobs by utilizing Spark SQL with the ImmutaContext class. All tables are virtual and are not populated until a query is materialized. When a query is materialized, data from metastore backed data sources, such as Hive and Impala, will be accessed using standard Spark libraries to access the data in the underlying files stored in HDFS. All other data source types will access data using the Query Engine which will proxy the query to the native database technology. Policies for each data source will be enforced automatically.