Azure Cosmos DB SQL API client library for Python

Azure Cosmos DB is a globally distributed, multi-model database service that supports document, key-value, wide-column, and graph databases.

Use the Azure Cosmos DB SQL API SDK for Python to manage databases and the JSON documents they contain in this NoSQL database service.

  • Create Cosmos DB databases and modify their settings

  • Create and modify containers to store collections of JSON documents

  • Create, read, update, and delete the items (JSON documents) in your containers

  • Query the documents in your database using SQL-like syntax

Looking for source code or API reference?

Getting started

If you need a Cosmos DB SQL API account, you can create one with this Azure CLI command:

az cosmosdb create --resource-group <resource-group-name> --name <cosmos-account-name>


pip install --pre azure-cosmos

Configure a virtual environment (optional)

Although not required, you can keep your your base system and Azure SDK environments isolated from one another if you use a virtual environment. Execute the following commands to configure and then enter a virtual environment with venv:

python3 -m venv azure-cosmosdb-sdk-environment
source azure-cosmosdb-sdk-environment/bin/activate

Key concepts

Interaction with Cosmos DB starts with an instance of the CosmosClient class. You need an account, its URI, and one of its account keys to instantiate the client object.

Get credentials

Use the Azure CLI snippet below to populate two environment variables with the database account URI and its primary master key (you can also find these values in the Azure portal). The snippet is formatted for the Bash shell.


export ACCOUNT_URI=$(az cosmosdb show --resource-group $RES_GROUP --name $ACCT_NAME --query documentEndpoint --output tsv)
export ACCOUNT_KEY=$(az cosmosdb list-keys --resource-group $RES_GROUP --name $ACCT_NAME --query primaryMasterKey --output tsv)

Create client

Once you’ve populated the ACCOUNT_URI and ACCOUNT_KEY environment variables, you can create the CosmosClient.

from azure.cosmos import CosmosClient, PartitionKey, exceptions

import os
url = os.environ['ACCOUNT_URI']
key = os.environ['ACCOUNT_KEY']
client = CosmosClient(url, credential=key)


Once you’ve initialized a CosmosClient, you can interact with the primary resource types in Cosmos DB:

  • Database: A Cosmos DB account can contain multiple databases. When you create a database, you specify the API you’d like to use when interacting with its documents: SQL, MongoDB, Gremlin, Cassandra, or Azure Table. Use the DatabaseProxy object to manage its containers.

  • Container: A container is a collection of JSON documents. You create (insert), read, update, and delete items in a container by using methods on the ContainerProxy object.

  • Item: An Item is the dictionary-like representation of a JSON document stored in a container. Each Item you add to a container must include an id key with a value that uniquely identifies the item within the container.

For more information about these resources, see Working with Azure Cosmos databases, containers and items.


The following sections provide several code snippets covering some of the most common Cosmos DB tasks, including:

Create a database

After authenticating your CosmosClient, you can work with any resource in the account. The code snippet below creates a SQL API database, which is the default when no API is specified when create_database is invoked.

database_name = 'testDatabase'
    database = client.create_database(database_name)
except exceptions.CosmosResourceExistsError:
    database = client.get_database_client(database_name)

Create a container

This example creates a container with default settings. If a container with the same name already exists in the database (generating a 409 Conflict error), the existing container is obtained instead.

container_name = 'products'
    container = database.create_container(id=container_name, partition_key=PartitionKey(path="/productName"))
except exceptions.CosmosResourceExistsError:
    container = database.get_container_client(container_name)
except exceptions.CosmosHttpResponseError:

The preceding snippet also handles the CosmosHttpResponseError exception if the container creation failed. For more information on error handling and troubleshooting, see the Troubleshooting section.

Get an existing container

Retrieve an existing container from the database:

database = client.get_database_client(database_name)
container = database.get_container_client(container_name)

Insert data

To insert items into a container, pass a dictionary containing your data to ContainerProxy.upsert_item. Each item you add to a container must include an id key with a value that uniquely identifies the item within the container.

This example inserts several items into the container, each with a unique id:

database_client = client.get_database_client(database_name)
container_client = database.get_container_client(container_name)

for i in range(1, 10):
            'id': 'item{0}'.format(i),
            'productName': 'Widget',
            'productModel': 'Model {0}'.format(i)

Delete data

To delete items from a container, use ContainerProxy.delete_item. The SQL API in Cosmos DB does not support the SQL DELETE statement.

for item in container.query_items(query='SELECT * FROM products p WHERE p.productModel = "DISCONTINUED"',
    container.delete_item(item, partition_key='Pager')

Query the database

A Cosmos DB SQL API database supports querying the items in a container with ContainerProxy.query_items using SQL-like syntax.

This example queries a container for items with a specific id:

database = client.get_database_client(database_name)
container = database.get_container_client(container_name)

# Enumerate the returned items
import json
for item in container.query_items(
                query='SELECT * FROM mycontainer r WHERE"item3"',
    print(json.dumps(item, indent=True))

NOTE: Although you can specify any value for the container name in the FROM clause, we recommend you use the container name for consistency.

Perform parameterized queries by passing a dictionary containing the parameters and their values to ContainerProxy.query_items:

discontinued_items = container.query_items(
    query='SELECT * FROM products p WHERE p.productModel = @model',
        dict(name='@model', value='Model 7')
for item in discontinued_items:
    print(json.dumps(item, indent=True))

For more information on querying Cosmos DB databases using the SQL API, see Query Azure Cosmos DB data with SQL queries.

Get database properties

Get and display the properties of a database:

database = client.get_database_client(database_name)
properties =

Modify container properties

Certain properties of an existing container can be modified. This example sets the default time to live (TTL) for items in the container to 10 seconds:

database = client.get_database_client(database_name)
container = database.get_container_client(container_name)
# Display the new TTL setting for the container
container_props =

For more information on TTL, see Time to Live for Azure Cosmos DB data.

Optional Configuration

Optional keyword arguments that can be passed in at the client and per-operation level.

Retry Policy configuration

Use the following keyword arguments when instantiating a client to configure the retry policy:

  • retry_total (int): Total number of retries to allow. Takes precedence over other counts. Pass in retry_total=0 if you do not want to retry on requests. Defaults to 10.

  • retry_connect (int): How many connection-related errors to retry on. Defaults to 3.

  • retry_read (int): How many times to retry on read errors. Defaults to 3.

  • retry_status (int): How many times to retry on bad status codes. Defaults to 3.

Other client / per-operation configuration

Other optional configuration keyword arguments that can be specified on the client or per-operation.

Client keyword arguments:

  • enable_endpoint_discovery (bool): Enable endpoint discovery for geo-replicated database accounts. Default is True.

  • preferred_locations (list[str]): The preferred locations for geo-replicated database accounts.

  • connection_timeout (int): Optionally sets the connect and read timeout value, in seconds.

  • transport (Any): User-provided transport to send the HTTP request.

Per-operation keyword arguments:

  • raw_response_hook (callable): The given callback uses the response returned from the service.

  • user_agent (str): Appends the custom value to the user-agent header to be sent with the request.

  • logging_enable (bool): Enables logging at the DEBUG level. Defaults to False. Can also be passed in at the client level to enable it for all requests.

  • headers (dict): Pass in custom headers as key, value pairs. E.g. headers={'CustomValue': value}

  • timeout (int): An absolute timeout in seconds, for the combined HTTP request and response processing.



When you interact with Cosmos DB using the Python SDK, exceptions returned by the service correspond to the same HTTP status codes returned for REST API requests:

HTTP Status Codes for Azure Cosmos DB

For example, if you try to create a container using an ID (name) that’s already in use in your Cosmos DB database, a 409 error is returned, indicating the conflict. In the following snippet, the error is handled gracefully by catching the exception and displaying additional information about the error.

    database.create_container(id=container_name, partition_key=PartitionKey(path="/productName")
except exceptions.CosmosResourceExistsError:
    print("""Error creating container
HTTP status code 409: The ID (name) provided for the container is already in use.
The container name must be unique within the database.""")

More sample code

Coming soon…

Next steps

For more extensive documentation on the Cosmos DB service, see the Azure Cosmos DB documentation on


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