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Azure AD Credential Passthrough and Databricks

Anna Shrestinian, et al, explain how Azure Databricks enables Azure Active Directory credential passthrough when working with Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2:

Azure Data Lake Storage (ADLS) Gen2, which became generally available earlier this year, is quickly becoming the standard for data storage in Azure for analytics consumption. ADLS Gen2 enables a hierarchical file system that extends Azure Blob Storage capabilities and provides enhanced manageability, security and performance.

The hierarchical file system provides granular access control to ADLS Gen2. Role-based access control (RBAC) could be used to grant role assignments to top-level resources and POSIX compliant access control lists  (ACLs) allow for finer grain permissions at the folder and file level. These features allow users to securely access their data within Azure Databricks using the Azure Blob File System (ABFS) driver, which is built into the Databricks Runtime.

There are some tradeoffs involved, particularly around using High Concurrency clusters (or limiting yourself to one user account), but it’s a nice bit of added value when you’re a heavy Azure user.