Databricks SQL concepts

This article introduces the set of fundamental concepts you need to understand in order to use Databricks SQL effectively.


This section describes the interfaces that Databricks supports for accessing your Databricks SQL assets: UI and API.

UI: A graphical interface to the workspace browser, dashboards and queries, SQL warehouses, query history, and alerts.

REST API An interface that allows you to automate tasks on Databricks SQL objects.


You can also attach a notebook to a SQL warehouse. See Notebooks and SQL warehouses for more information and limitations.

Data management

Visualization: A graphical presentation of the result of running a query.

Dashboard: A presentation of query visualizations and commentary.

Alert: A notification that a field returned by a query has reached a threshold.

Computation management

This section describes concepts that you need to know to run SQL queries in Databricks SQL.

Query: A valid SQL statement.

SQL warehouse: A compute resource on which you execute SQL queries.

Query history: A list of executed queries and their performance characteristics.

Authentication and authorization

This section describes concepts that you need to know when you manage Databricks SQL users and groups and their access to assets.

User and group: A user is a unique individual who has access to the system. A group is a collection of users.

Personal access token: An opaque string is used to authenticate to the REST API and by tools in the Technology partners to connect to SQL warehouses.

Access control list: A set of permissions attached to a principal that requires access to an object. An ACL entry specifies the object and the actions allowed on the object. Each entry in an ACL specifies a principal, action type, and object.

Unity catalog: Unity Catalog provides centralized access control, auditing, lineage, and data discovery capabilities across Databricks workspaces.