Install Python packages with sqlmlutils

APPLIES TO: yesSQL Server noAzure SQL Database noAzure Synapse Analytics (SQL DW) noParallel Data Warehouse

This article describes how to use functions in the sqlmlutils package to install new Python packages to an instance of SQL Server Machine Learning Services. The packages you install can be used in Python scripts running in-database using the sp_execute_external_script T-SQL statement.

For more information about package location and installation paths, see Get Python package information.


The standard Python pip install command is not recommended for adding Python packages on SQL Server 2019. Instead, use sqlmlutils as described in this article.


Other considerations

  • Packages must be compliant with the version of Python you have. For more information on which version of Python is included with each SQL Server version, see the Python and R versions in What is SQL Server Machine Learning Services (Python and R)?

  • The Python package library is located in the Program Files folder of your SQL Server instance and, by default, installing in this folder requires administrator permissions. For more information, see Package library location.

  • Package installation is per instance. If you have multiple instances of Machine Learning Services, you must add the package to each one.

  • Before adding a package, consider whether the package is a good fit for the SQL Server environment.

    • We recommend that you use Python in-database for tasks that benefit from tight integration with the database engine, such as machine learning, rather than tasks that simply query the database.

    • If you add packages that put too much computational pressure on the server, performance will suffer.

    • On a hardened SQL Server environment, you might want to avoid the following:

      • Packages that require network access
      • Packages that require elevated file system access
      • Packages used for web development or other tasks that don't benefit by running inside SQL Server

Install sqlmlutils on the client computer

To use sqlmlutils, you first need to install it on the client computer that you use to connect to SQL Server. Make sure you have pip installed, see pip installation for more information.

  1. Download the latest sqlmlutils zip file from to the client computer. Don't unzip the file.

  2. Open a Command Prompt and run the following commands to install the sqlmlutils package. Substitute the full path to the sqlmlutils zip file you downloaded - this example assumes the downloaded file is c:\temp\

    pip install "pymssql<3.0"
    pip install --upgrade --upgrade-strategy only-if-needed c:\temp\

Add a Python package on SQL Server

In the following example, you'll add the text-tools package to SQL Server.

Add the package online

If the client computer you use to connect to SQL Server has Internet access, you can use sqlmlutils to find the text-tools package and any dependencies over the Internet, and then install the package to a SQL Server instance remotely.

  1. On the client computer, open Python or a Python environment.

  2. Use the following commands to install the text-tools package. Substitute your own SQL Server database connection information (if you don't use Windows Authentication, add uid and pwd parameters).

    import sqlmlutils
    connection = sqlmlutils.ConnectionInfo(server="yourserver", database="yourdatabase")

Add the package offline

If the client computer you use to connect to SQL Server doesn't have an Internet connection, you can use pip on a computer with Internet access to download the package and any dependent packages to a local folder. You then copy the folder to the client computer where you can install the package offline.

On a computer with Internet access

  1. Open a Command Prompt and run the following command to create a local folder that contains the text-tools package. This example creates the folder c:\temp\text-tools.

    pip download text-tools -d c:\temp\text-tools
  2. Copy the text-tools folder to the client computer. The following example assumes you copied it to c:\temp\packages\text-tools.

On the client computer

Use sqlmlutils to install each package (WHL file) you find in the local folder that pip created. It doesn't matter in what order you install the packages.

In this example, text-tools has no dependencies, so there is only one file from the text-tools folder for you to install. In contrast, a package such as scikit-plot has 11 dependencies, so you would find 12 files in the folder (the scikit-plot package and the 11 dependent packages), and you would install each of them.

Run the following Python script. Substitute the actual file path and name of the package, and your own SQL Server database connection information (if you don't use Windows Authentication, add uid and pwd parameters). Repeat the sqlmlutils.SQLPackageManager statement for each package file in the folder.

import sqlmlutils
connection = sqlmlutils.ConnectionInfo(server="yourserver", database="yourdatabase")

Use the package in SQL Server

You can now use the package in a Python script in SQL Server. For example:

EXECUTE sp_execute_external_script
  @language = N'Python',
  @script = N'
from text_tools.finders import find_best_string
corpus = "Lorem Ipsum text"
query = "Ipsum"
first_match = find_best_string(query, corpus)

Remove the package from SQL Server

If you would like to remove the text-tools package, use the following Python command on the client computer, using the same connection variable you defined earlier.


See also