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Source freshness

dbt Cloud provides a helpful interface around dbt's source data freshness calculations. When a dbt Cloud job is configured to snapshot source data freshness, dbt Cloud will render a user interface showing you the state of the most recent snapshot. This interface is intended to help you determine if your source data freshness is meeting the service level agreement (SLA) that you've defined for your organization.

Data Sources in dbt CloudData Sources in dbt Cloud

Enabling source freshness snapshots

dbt build does not include source freshness checks when building and testing resources in your DAG. Instead, you can use one of these common patterns for defining jobs:

  • Add dbt build to the run step to run models, tests, and so on.
  • Select the Generate docs on run checkbox to automatically generate project docs.
  • Select the Run source freshness checkbox to enable source freshness as the first step of the job.
Selecting source freshnessSelecting source freshness

To enable source freshness snapshots, firstly make sure to configure your sources to snapshot freshness information. You can add source freshness to the list of commands in the job run steps or enable the checkbox. However, you can expect different outcomes when you configure a job by selecting the Run source freshness checkbox compared to adding the command to the run steps.

Review the following options and outcomes:

Select checkbox The Run source freshness checkbox in your Execution Settings will run dbt source freshness as the first step in your job and won't break subsequent steps if it fails. If you wanted your job dedicated exclusively to running freshness checks, you still need to include at least one placeholder step, such as dbt compile.
Add as a run stepAdd the dbt source freshness command to a job anywhere in your list of run steps. However, if your source data is out of date this step will "fail", and subsequent steps will not run. dbt Cloud will trigger email notifications (if configured) based on the end state of this step.

You can create a new job to snapshot source freshness.

If you do not want your models to run if your source data is out of date, then it could be a good idea to run dbt source freshness as the first step in your job. Otherwise, we recommend adding dbt source freshness as the last step in the job, or creating a separate job just for this task.
Adding a step to snapshot source freshnessAdding a step to snapshot source freshness

Source freshness snapshot frequency

It's important that your freshness jobs run frequently enough to snapshot data latency in accordance with your SLAs. You can imagine that if you have a 1 hour SLA on a particular dataset, snapshotting the freshness of that table once daily would not be appropriate. As a good rule of thumb, you should run your source freshness jobs with at least double the frequency of your lowest SLA. Here's an example table of some reasonable snapshot frequencies given typical SLAs:

SLASnapshot Frequency
1 hour30 mins
1 day12 hours
1 weekAbout daily

Further reading

  • Refer to Artifacts for more info on how to create dbt Cloud artifacts, share links to the latest documentation, and share source freshness reports with your team.
  • Source freshness for Snowflake is calculated using the LAST_ALTERED column. Read about the limitations in Snowflake configs.