Configure PolyBase to access external data with ODBC generic types

Applies to: yesSQL Server (all supported versions)

PolyBase in SQL Server 2019 allows you to connect to ODBC -compatible data sources through the ODBC connector.

This article provides some examples using an ODBC driver. Check with your ODBC provider for specific examples. Reference the ODBC driver documentation for the data source to determine the appropriate connection string options. The examples in this article may not apply to any specific ODBC driver.



This feature requires SQL Server on Windows.

Install the ODBC driver

First, download and install the ODBC driver of the data source you want to connect to on each of the PolyBase nodes. Once the driver is properly installed, you can view and test the driver from the ODBC Data Source Administrator.

PolyBase scale-out groups

In the example above, the name of the driver is circled in red. Use this name when you create the external data source.


In order to improve query performance, enable connection pooling. This can be accomplished from the ODBC Data Source Administrator.

Create an external table

To query the data from an ODBC data source, you must create external tables to reference the external data. This section provides sample code to create external tables.

The following Transact-SQL commands are used in this section:

  1. Create a database scoped credential for accessing the ODBC source.

    CREATE DATABASE SCOPED CREDENTIAL <credential_name> WITH IDENTITY = '<username>', Secret = '<password>';

    For example, the following example creates a credential named credential_name, with an identity of username and a complex password.

    CREATE DATABASE SCOPED CREDENTIAL credential_name WITH IDENTITY = 'username', Secret = 'BycA4ZjrE#*2W%!';
  2. Create an external data source with CREATE EXTERNAL DATA SOURCE.

    CREATE EXTERNAL DATA SOURCE <external_data_source_name>
    WITH ( LOCATION = 'odbc://<ODBC server address>[:<port>]',
    CONNECTION_OPTIONS = 'Driver={<Name of Installed Driver>};
    ServerNode = <name of server  address>:<Port>',
    -- PUSHDOWN = [ON] | OFF,
    CREDENTIAL = <credential_name> );

    The following example creates an external data source:

    • Named external_data_source_name
    • Located at the ODBC SERVERNAME and port 4444
    • Connecting with CData ODBC Driver For SAP 2015 - This is the driver created under Install the ODBC driver
    • On ServerNode sap_server_node port 5555
    • Configured for processing pushed down to the server (PUSHDOWN = ON)
    • Using the credential_name credential
    CREATE EXTERNAL DATA SOURCE external_data_source_name
    WITH ( LOCATION = 'odbc://SERVERNAME:4444',
    CONNECTION_OPTIONS = 'Driver={CData ODBC Driver For SAP 2015};
    ServerNode = sap_server_node:5555',
    CREDENTIAL = credential_name );
  3. Optional: Create statistics on an external table.

    For optimal query performance, we recommend creating statistics on external table columns especially the ones used for joins, filters, and aggregates.

    CREATE STATISTICS statistics_name ON customer (C_CUSTKEY) WITH FULLSCAN; 


Once you have created an external data source, use the CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE command to create a query-able table over that source.

Next steps

To learn more about PolyBase, see Overview of SQL Server PolyBase.