Creating an Azure stage

A stage specifies where data files are stored (i.e. “staged”) so that the data in the files can be loaded into a table.

Data can be loaded directly from files in a specified Azure container or in an Azure “folder” path (i.e. key value prefix). If the path ends with /, all of the objects in the corresponding Azure folder are loaded.

External stages

In addition to loading directly from files in Azure containers, Snowflake supports creating named external stages, which encapsulate all of the required information for staging files, including:

  • The Azure container where the files are staged.

  • The named storage integration object or Azure credentials for the container (if it is protected).

  • An encryption key (if the files in the container have been encrypted).

Named external stages are optional, but recommended when you plan to load data regularly from the same location. For instructions for creating an external stage, See Creating an External Stage below.

Creating an external stage

You can create a named external stage using SQL or the web interface.


You must use a role that is granted or inherits the USAGE privilege on the database and schema that store the stage and the CREATE STAGE privilege on the schema.

Refer to Access control requirements for CREATE STAGE.

Creating an external stage using SQL

Use the CREATE STAGE command to create an external stage.

The following example creates an external stage named my_azure_stage. The CREATE statement includes the azure_int storage integration that was created in Configuring an Azure container for loading data to access the Azure container container1 in the myaccount account.

The data files are stored in the load/files/ path. The stage references a named file format object named my_csv_format, which describes the data in the files stored in the path:

CREATE STAGE my_azure_stage
  URL = 'azure://'
  FILE_FORMAT = my_csv_format;


Use the endpoint for all supported types of Azure blob storage accounts, including Data Lake Storage Gen2.


By specifying a named file format object (or individual file format options) for the stage, it is not necessary to later specify the same file format options in the COPY command used to load data from the stage. For more information about file format objects and options, see CREATE FILE FORMAT.

Creating an external stage using Snowsight

To use Snowsight to create a named external stage, do the following:

  1. Sign in to Snowsight.

  2. In the navigation menu, select Create » Stage » External Stage.

  3. Select one of the external stages where your files are located: Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform.

  4. In the Create Stage dialog, enter a Stage Name.

  5. Select the database and schema where you want to create a stage.

  6. Enter the URL of your external cloud storage location.

  7. If your external storage is not public, enable Authentication and enter your details. For more information, refer to CREATE STAGE.

  8. Optionally deselect Directory table. Directory tables let you see files on the stage, but require a warehouse and thus incur a cost. You can choose to deselect this option for now and enable a directory table later.

    If you enable Directory table, optionally select Enable auto-refresh and select your event notification or notification integration to automatically refresh the directory table when files are added or removed. To learn more, see Automated directory table metadata refreshes.

  9. If your files are encrypted, enable Encryption and enter your details.

  10. Optionally expand the SQL Preview to view a generated SQL statement. To specify additional options for your stage such as AUTO_REFRESH, you can open this SQL preview in a worksheet.

  11. Select Create.

Creating an external stage using Classic Console

Select Databases Databases tab » <db_name> » Stages.

Next: Copying data from an Azure stage