Managing Multiple Database Connections in SQLAlchemy

What will you learn?

In this comprehensive guide, you will learn how to efficiently manage connections to multiple databases or servers using SQLAlchemy in Python. By the end of this tutorial, you will be able to seamlessly handle interactions with diverse data sources within your applications.

Introduction to the Problem and Solution

When developing applications, the need often arises to access data from multiple databases or different database servers. This requirement could stem from various reasons such as segregating read and write operations, working with legacy data, or integrating with external services. The challenge lies in managing these connections effectively without sacrificing code readability or application performance.

To address this challenge, we will harness the power of SQLAlchemy’s features for handling multiple database connections seamlessly. We will delve into creating separate engines and sessions for each database connection, allowing you to execute queries across these varied data sources within a unified application context.


from sqlalchemy import create_engine, MetaData
from sqlalchemy.orm import sessionmaker

# Define your database connection strings
DB1_CONNECTION_STRING = 'dialect+driver://user:pass@host/dbname'
DB2_CONNECTION_STRING = 'dialect+driver://user:pass@host/dbname'

# Create engines for each database connection
engine_db1 = create_engine(DB1_CONNECTION_STRING)
engine_db2 = create_engine(DB2_CONNECTION_STRING)

# Bind metadata object separately if needed 
metadata_db1 = MetaData(bind=engine_db1)
metadata_db2 = MetaData(bind=engine_db2)

# Create session factories for each engine
SessionLocalDB1 = sessionmaker(autocommit=False, autoflush=False, bind=engine_db1)
SessionLocalDB2 = sessionmaker(autocommit=False, autoflush=False, bind=engine_db2)

def get_db_session(db_identifier):
    """Utility function to get the appropriate DB session."""
    if db_identifier == "db1":
        return SessionLocalDB1()
    elif db_identifier == "db2":
        return SessionLocalDB2()

# Copyright PHD


The solution involves importing necessary modules from SQLAlchemy like create_engine, MetaData, and sessionmaker. We define distinct connection strings (DB1_CONNECTION_STRING and DB2_CONNECTION_STRING) corresponding to our target databases.

Next, we create engines using create_engine() method for each database connection. These engines act as interfaces between our Python application and the respective databases.

Separate MetaData objects are instantiated bound to each engine for better management of database-specific models.

For ORM interactions, we establish session factories via sessionmaker tied individually to our engines. These factories facilitate the creation of ORM sessions crucial for executing transactions against the databases.

A utility function named get_db_session() is provided to retrieve a new session instance connected to the specified database based on an identifier input.

  1. How do I reflect tables from my existing databases?

  2. You can use the .reflect(bind=engine) method on your Metadata instance after binding it with an appropriate engine pointing at your desired database.

  3. Can I use asynchronous connections?

  4. Yes! As of SQLAlchemy 1.4 onwards, asynchronous operations are supported through async/await syntaxes. Ensure you use AsyncEngine instances created with an async-compatible URL prefix like “asyncpg://“.

  5. How do I handle transactions spanning multiple databases?

  6. Manage transaction blocks within context managers (with statements), ensuring proper commit or rollback across all involved databases before exiting a block.

  7. Is there support for automatic failovers?

  8. Though not directly handled by SQLAlchemy itself, integration solutions like Pools can be configured alongside proxy SQL routers or HA systems outside of Python codebase scope supporting failovers.

  9. How do I integrate my Flask/Django app with multiple DBs?

  10. Both Flask-SQLAlchemy & Django’s DATABASES setting key offer extensions/plugins facilitating integration; configurations may slightly differ between frameworks.


Efficiently managing connections enables developers to maintain cleaner architecture and fully leverage relational/non-relational datasources. This improves overall application robustness while keeping scalability at the forefront throughout development phases. It ensures smooth operational transitions regardless of involvement levels across varied backend ecosystems.

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