AWS Big Data Blog

Federate IAM-based single sign-on to Amazon Redshift role-based access control with Okta

Amazon Redshift accelerates your time to insights with fast, easy, and secure cloud data warehousing at scale. Tens of thousands of customers rely on Amazon Redshift to analyze exabytes of data and run complex analytical queries.

You can use your preferred SQL clients to analyze your data in an Amazon Redshift data warehouse. Connect seamlessly by leveraging an identity provider (IdP) or single sign-on (SSO) credentials to connect to the Redshift data warehouse to reuse existing user credentials and avoid additional user setup and configuration. Using role-based access control (RBAC), you can simplify managing user privileges, database permissions and management of security permissions in Amazon Redshift. You can also use redshift database roles to define a set of elevated permissions, such as for a system monitor or database administrator.

Using AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) with RBAC, organizations can simplify user management because you no longer need to create users and map them to database roles manually. You can define the mapped database roles as a principal tag for the IdP groups or IAM role, so Redshift database roles and users who are members of those IdP groups are granted to the database roles automatically.

Earlier in 2023, we launched support for Okta integration with Amazon Redshift Serverless using database roles. In this post, we focus on Okta as the IdP and provide step-by-step guidance to integrate a Redshift provisioned cluster with Okta using the Redshift Query Editor v2 and with SQL clients like SQL Workbench/J. You can use this mechanism with other IdP providers such as Azure Active Directory or Ping with any applications or tools using Amazon’s JDBC, ODBC, or Python driver.

Recently we also announced Amazon Redshift integration with AWS IAM Identity Center, supporting trusted identity propagation, allowing you to use third-party Identity Providers (IdP) such as Microsoft Entra ID (Azure AD), Okta, Ping, and OneLogin. This integration simplifies the authentication and authorization process for Amazon Redshift users using Query Editor V2 or Amazon Quicksight, making it easier for them to securely access your data warehouse. AWS IAM Identity Center offers automatic user and group provisioning from Okta to itself by utilizing the System for Cross-domain Identity Management (SCIM) 2.0 protocol. This integration allows for seamless synchronization of information between two services, ensuring accurate and up-to-date information in AWS IAM Identity Center. Refer to Integrate Okta with Amazon Redshift Query Editor V2 using AWS IAM Identity Center for seamless Single Sign-On blog post to learn more about setting up single sign-on (SSO) to Amazon Redshift using integration with IAM Identity Center and Okta as the Identity Provider.

If you are interested in using IAM-based single sign-on with Amazon Redshift database roles then you can continue reading this blog.

Solution overview

The following diagram illustrates the authentication flow of Okta with a Redshift provisioned cluster using federated IAM roles and automatic database role mapping.

Architecture Diagram

The workflow contains the following steps:

  1. Either the user chooses an IdP app in their browser, or the SQL client initiates a user authentication request to the IdP (Okta).
  2. Upon a successful authentication, Okta submits a request to the AWS federation endpoint with a SAML assertion containing the principal tags.
  3. The AWS federation endpoint validates the SAML assertion and invokes the AWS Security Token Service (AWS STS) API AssumeRoleWithSAML. The SAML assertion contains the IdP user and group information that is stored in the RedshiftDbUser and RedshiftDbRoles principal tags, respectively. Temporary IAM credentials are returned to the SQL client or, if using the Query Editor v2, the user’s browser is redirected to the Query Editor v2 console using the temporary IAM credentials.
  4. The temporary IAM credentials are used by the SQL client or Query Editor v2 to call the Redshift API GetClusterCredentialsWithIAM. This API uses the principal tags to determine the user and database roles that the user belongs to. An associated database user is created if the user is signing in for the first time and is granted the matching database roles automatically. A temporary password is returned to the SQL client.
  5. Using the database user and temporary password, the SQL client or Query Editor v2 connects to Amazon Redshift. Upon login, the user is authorized based on the Redshift database roles that were assigned in Step 4.


You need the following prerequisites to set up this solution:

Connect with a Redshift provisioned cluster as a federated user using Query Editor v2

To connect using Query Editor v2, complete the following steps:

  1. Follow all the steps described in the sections Set up your Okta application and Set up AWS configuration in the following post.
  2. For the Amazon Redshift access IAM policy, replace the policy with the following JSON to use the GetClusterCredentialsWithIAM API:
    	"Version": "2012-10-17",
    	"Statement": [
    						"Sid": "VisualEditor0",
    						"Effect": "Allow",
    						"Action": "redshift:GetClusterCredentialsWithIAM",
    						"Resource": "arn:aws:redshift:us-west-2:123456789012:dbname:redshift-cluster-1/dev"

Now you’re ready to connect to your Redshift provisioned cluster using Query Editor v2 and federated login.

  1. Use the SSO URL from Okta and log in to your Okta account with your user credentials. For this demo, we log in with user Ethan.
  2. In Query Editor v2, choose your Redshift provisioned cluster (right-click) and choose Create connection.
  3. For Authentication, select Temporary credentials using your IAM identity.
  4. For Database, enter the database name you want to connect to.
  5. Choose Create connection.
  6. Run the following command to validate that you are logged in as a federated user and also to get the list of roles associated with that user for the current session:
SELECT current_user,* FROM pg_get_session_roles() eff_ro(name name, roleid integer);

Because Ethan is part of the sales group and has been granted permissions to access tables in the sales_schema, he should be able to access those tables without any issues. However, if he tries to access tables in the finance_schema, he would receive a permission denied error because Ethan is not part of the finance group in Okta.


Connect with a Redshift provisioned cluster as a federated user via a third-party client

To connect as a federated user via a third-party client, complete the following steps:

  1. Follow steps 1 and 2 which are described in above section (Connect with a Redshift provisioned cluster as a federated user using Query Editor v2).
  2. Use the Redshift JDBC driver v2.1.0.18 and above because it supports authentication with IAM group federation. For the URL, enter jdbc:redshift:iam://<cluster endpoint>:<port>:<databasename>?groupfederation=true. For example, jdbc:redshift:iam://

In the preceding URL, groupfederation is a mandatory parameter that allows you to authenticate with the IAM credentials for the Redshift provisioned cluster. Without the groupfederation parameter, it will not use Redshift database roles.

  1. For Username and Password, enter your Okta credentials.

SQL Workbench/J - Connection

  1. To set up extended properties, follow Steps 4–9 in the section Configure the SQL client (SQL Workbench/J) in the following post.

User Ethan will be able to access the sales_schema tables. If Ethan tries to access the tables in the finance_schema, he will get a permission denied error.

SQL Workbench/J Demo


If your connection didn’t work, consider the following:

  • Enable logging in the driver. For instructions, see Configure logging.
  • Make sure to use the latest Amazon Redshift JDBC driver version.
  • If you’re getting errors while setting up the application on Okta, make sure you have admin access.
  • If you can authenticate via the SQL client but get a permission issue or can’t see objects, grant the relevant permission to the role.

Clean up

When you’re done testing the solution, clean up the resources to avoid incurring future charges:

  1. Delete the Redshift provisioned cluster.
  2. Delete the IAM roles, IAM IdPs, and IAM policies.


In this post, we provided step-by-step instructions to integrate a Redshift provisioned cluster with Okta using the Redshift Query Editor v2 and SQL Workbench/J with the help of federated IAM roles and automatic database role mapping. You can use a similar setup with other SQL clients (such as DBeaver or DataGrip). We also showed how Okta group membership is mapped automatically with Redshift provisioned cluster roles to use role-based authentication seamlessly.

If you have any feedback or questions, please leave them in the comments.

About the Authors

Debu-PandaDebu Panda is a Senior Manager, Product Management at AWS. He is an industry leader in analytics, application platform, and database technologies, and has more than 25 years of experience in the IT world.

Ranjan Burman is an Analytics Specialist Solutions Architect at AWS. He specializes in Amazon Redshift and helps customers build scalable analytical solutions. He has more than 16 years of experience in different database and data warehousing technologies. He is passionate about automating and solving customer problems with cloud solutions.

Maneesh Sharma is a Senior Database Engineer at AWS with more than a decade of experience designing and implementing large-scale data warehouse and analytics solutions. He collaborates with various Amazon Redshift Partners and customers to drive better integration.