Analyze Amazon Athena Data in R

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Amazon Athena JDBC Driver

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

Use standard R functions and the development environment of your choice to analyze Amazon Athena data with the CData JDBC Driver for Amazon Athena.

Access Amazon Athena data with pure R script and standard SQL on any machine where R and Java can be installed. You can use the CData JDBC Driver for Amazon Athena and the RJDBC package to work with remote Amazon Athena data in R. By using the CData Driver, you are leveraging a driver written for industry-proven standards to access your data in the popular, open-source R language. This article shows how to use the driver to execute SQL queries to Amazon Athena and visualize Amazon Athena data by calling standard R functions.

Install R

You can match the driver's performance gains from multi-threading and managed code by running the multithreaded Microsoft R Open or by running open R linked with the BLAS/LAPACK libraries. This article uses Microsoft R Open 3.2.3, which is preconfigured to install packages from the Jan. 1, 2016 snapshot of the CRAN repository. This snapshot ensures reproducibility.

Load the RJDBC Package

To use the driver, download the RJDBC package. After installing the RJDBC package, the following line loads the package:


Connect to Amazon Athena as a JDBC Data Source

You will need the following information to connect to Amazon Athena as a JDBC data source:

  • Driver Class: Set this to cdata.jdbc.amazonathena.AmazonAthenaDriver
  • Classpath: Set this to the location of the driver JAR. By default this is the lib subfolder of the installation folder.

The DBI functions, such as dbConnect and dbSendQuery, provide a unified interface for writing data access code in R. Use the following line to initialize a DBI driver that can make JDBC requests to the CData JDBC Driver for Amazon Athena:

driver <- JDBC(driverClass = "cdata.jdbc.amazonathena.AmazonAthenaDriver", classPath = "MyInstallationDir\lib\cdata.jdbc.amazonathena.jar", identifier.quote = "'")

You can now use DBI functions to connect to Amazon Athena and execute SQL queries. Initialize the JDBC connection with the dbConnect function.

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.

Below is a sample dbConnect call, including a typical JDBC connection string:

conn <- dbConnect(driver,"jdbc:amazonathena:AccessKey='a123';SecretKey='s123';Region='IRELAND';Database='sampledb';S3StagingDirectory='s3://bucket/staging/';")

Schema Discovery

The driver models Amazon Athena APIs as relational tables, views, and stored procedures. Use the following line to retrieve the list of tables:


Execute SQL Queries

You can use the dbGetQuery function to execute any SQL query supported by the Amazon Athena API:

customers <- dbGetQuery(conn,"SELECT Name, TotalDue FROM Customers")

You can view the results in a data viewer window with the following command:


Plot Amazon Athena Data

You can now analyze Amazon Athena data with any of the data visualization packages available in the CRAN repository. You can create simple bar plots with the built-in bar plot function:

par(las=2,ps=10,mar=c(5,15,4,2)) barplot(customers$TotalDue, main="Amazon Athena Customers", names.arg = customers$Name, horiz=TRUE)