Build Visualizations of Amazon Athena Data in Birst

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Amazon Athena JDBC Driver

Rapidly create and deploy powerful Java applications that integrate with Amazon Athena.



Use the CData JDBC Driver for Amazon Athena and the Birst Cloud Agent to build real-time visualizations of Amazon Athena data in Birst.

Birst is a cloud business intelligence (BI) tool and analytics platform that helps organizations quickly understand and optimize complex processes. When paired with the CData JDBC Driver for Amazon Athena, you can connect to live Amazon Athena data through the Birst Cloud Agent and build real-time visualizations. In this article, we walk you through, step-by-step, how to connect to Amazon Athena using the Cloud Agent and create dynamic reports in Birst.

With powerful data processing capabilities, the CData JDBC Driver offers unmatched performance for live Amazon Athena data operations in Birst. When you issue complex SQL queries from Birst to Amazon Athena, the driver pushes supported SQL operations, like filters and aggregations, directly to Amazon Athena and utilizes the embedded SQL Engine to process unsupported operations client-side (often SQL functions and JOIN operations). With built-in dynamic metadata querying, the JDBC driver enables you to visualize and analyze Amazon Athena data using native Birst data types.

Configure a JDBC Connection to Amazon Athena Data in Birst

Before creating the Birst project, you will need to install the Birst Cloud Agent (in order to work with the installed JDBC Driver). Also, copy the JAR file for the JDBC Driver (and the LIC file, if it exists) to the /drivers/ directory in the installation location for the Cloud Agent.

With the driver and Cloud Agent installed, you are ready to begin.

  1. Create a new project in Birst.
  2. Name the connection (e.g. CDataAmazonAthena).
  3. Choose Live Access.
  4. Select an agent.
  5. Set Database Type to Other.
  6. Set SQL Type to MSSQL
  7. Set the Connection string.

    Authenticating to Amazon Athena

    To authorize Amazon Athena requests, provide the credentials for an administrator account or for an IAM user with custom permissions: Set AccessKey to the access key Id. Set SecretKey to the secret access key.

    Note: Though you can connect as the AWS account administrator, it is recommended to use IAM user credentials to access AWS services.

    Obtaining the Access Key

    To obtain the credentials for an IAM user, follow the steps below:

    1. Sign into the IAM console.
    2. In the navigation pane, select Users.
    3. To create or manage the access keys for a user, select the user and then select the Security Credentials tab.

    To obtain the credentials for your AWS root account, follow the steps below:

    1. Sign into the AWS Management console with the credentials for your root account.
    2. Select your account name or number and select My Security Credentials in the menu that is displayed.
    3. Click Continue to Security Credentials and expand the Access Keys section to manage or create root account access keys.

    Authenticating from an EC2 Instance

    If you are using the CData Data Provider for Amazon Athena 2018 from an EC2 Instance and have an IAM Role assigned to the instance, you can use the IAM Role to authenticate. To do so, set UseEC2Roles to true and leave AccessKey and SecretKey empty. The CData Data Provider for Amazon Athena 2018 will automatically obtain your IAM Role credentials and authenticate with them.

    Authenticating as an AWS Role

    In many situations it may be preferable to use an IAM role for authentication instead of the direct security credentials of an AWS root user. An AWS role may be used instead by specifying the RoleARN. This will cause the CData Data Provider for Amazon Athena 2018 to attempt to retrieve credentials for the specified role. If you are connecting to AWS (instead of already being connected such as on an EC2 instance), you must additionally specify the AccessKey and SecretKey of an IAM user to assume the role for. Roles may not be used when specifying the AccessKey and SecretKey of an AWS root user.

    Authenticating with MFA

    For users and roles that require Multi-factor Authentication, specify the MFASerialNumber and MFAToken connection properties. This will cause the CData Data Provider for Amazon Athena 2018 to submit the MFA credentials in a request to retrieve temporary authentication credentials. Note that the duration of the temporary credentials may be controlled via the TemporaryTokenDuration (default 3600 seconds).

    Connecting to Amazon Athena

    In addition to the AccessKey and SecretKey properties, specify Database, S3StagingDirectory and Region. Set Region to the region where your Amazon Athena data is hosted. Set S3StagingDirectory to a folder in S3 where you would like to store the results of queries.

    If Database is not set in the connection, the data provider connects to the default database set in Amazon Athena.

    Built-in Connection String Designer

    For assistance in constructing the JDBC URL, use the connection string designer built into the Amazon Athena JDBC Driver. Either double-click the JAR file or execute the jar file from the command-line.

    java -jar cdata.jdbc.amazonathena.jar

    Fill in the connection properties and copy the connection string to the clipboard.

    When you configure the JDBC URL, you may also want to set the Max Rows connection property. This will limit the number of rows returned, which is especially helpful for improving performance when designing reports and visualizations.

    Below is a typical JDBC connection string for Amazon Athena:

    jdbc:amazonathena:AccessKey='a123';SecretKey='s123';Region='IRELAND';Database='sampledb';S3StagingDirectory='s3://bucket/staging/';
  8. Set the Driver Name: cdata.jdbc.amazonathena.AmazonAthenaDriver and click Save.

NOTE: Since authentication to Amazon Athena is managed from the connection string, you can leave Security Credentials blank.

Configure Amazon Athena Data Objects

Now that the connection is configured, we are ready to configure the schema for the dataset, choosing the tables, views, and columns we wish to visualize.

  1. Select the Schema (e.g. AmazonAthena).
  2. Click on Tables and/or Views to connect to those entities and click Apply.
  3. Select the Tables and Columns you want to access and click Done.

With the objects configured, you can perform any data preparation and discover any relationships in your data using the Pronto Prepare and Relate tools.

Build a Visualization

After you prepare your data and define relationships between the connected objects, you are ready to build your visualization.

  1. Select the Visualizer tool from the menu.
  2. Select Measures & Categories from your objects
  3. Select and configure the appropriate visualization for the Measure(s) you selected.

Using the CData JDBC Driver for Amazon Athena with the Cloud Agent and Birst, you can easily create robust visualizations and reports on Amazon Athena data. Download a free, 30-day trial and start building Birst visualizations today.