PolyBase features and limitations

APPLIES TO: SQL Server 2016 and later Azure SQL Database Azure Synapse Analytics Parallel Data Warehouse

This article is a summary of PolyBase features available for SQL Server products and services.

Feature summary for product releases

This table lists the key features for PolyBase and the products in which they're available.

Feature SQL Server (Beginning with 2016) Azure SQL Database Azure Synapse Analytics Parallel Data Warehouse
Query Hadoop data with Transact-SQL Yes No No Yes
Import data from Hadoop Yes No No Yes
Export data to Hadoop Yes No No Yes
Query, import from, export to Azure HDInsight No No No No
Push down query computations to Hadoop Yes No No Yes
Import data from Azure Blob storage Yes Yes* Yes Yes
Export data to Azure Blob storage Yes No Yes Yes
Import data from Azure Data Lake Store No No Yes No
Export data to Azure Data Lake Store No No Yes No
Run PolyBase queries from Microsoft BI tools Yes No Yes Yes

* Introduced in SQL Server 2017 (14.x), see Examples of bulk access to data in Azure Blob storage.

Known limitations

PolyBase has the following limitations:

  • Before SQL Server 2019 (15.x), the maximum possible row size, which includes the full length of variable length columns, can't exceed 32 KB in SQL Server or 1 MB in Azure Synapse Analytics. Starting with SQL Server 2019 (15.x), this limitation is lifted. The limit remains 1 MB for Hadoop data sources, but is limited only by the maximum SQL Server limit for other data sources.

  • When data is exported into an ORC file format from SQL Server or Azure Synapse Analytics, text-heavy columns might be limited. They can be limited to as few as 50 columns because of Java out-of-memory error messages. To work around this issue, export only a subset of the columns.

  • PolyBase can't connect to any Hadoop instance if Knox is enabled.

  • If you use Hive tables with transactional = true, PolyBase can't access the data in the Hive table's directory.

  • PolyBase services require SQL Server service to have TCP/IP network protocol enabled to function correctly. Additionally, if TCP/IP Protocol configuration setting Listen All is set to No, you must still have an entry for the correct listener port in either TCP Dynamic Ports or TCP Ports under IPAll in TCP/IP Properties. This is required due to the way PolyBase services resolve the listener port of the SQL Server Engine.

  • PolyBase on SQL Server on Linux will not function if IPv6 is disabled in the kernel. See Release notes for SQL Server 2019 on Linux for further information on this limitation.

Next steps

For more information about PolyBase, see Introducing data virtualization with PolyBase.