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Connect to Act-On as an External Data Source using PolyBase

Use the CData ODBC Driver for Act-On and PolyBase to create an external data source in SQL Server 2019 with access to live Act-On data.

PolyBase for SQL Server allows you to query external data by using the same Transact-SQL syntax used to query a database table. When paired with the CData ODBC Driver for Act-On, you get access to your Act-On data directly alongside your SQL Server data. This article walks through creating an external data source and external tables to grant access to live Act-On data using T-SQL queries.

The CData ODBC drivers offer unmatched performance for interacting with live Act-On data using PolyBase due to optimized data processing built into the driver. When you issue complex SQL queries from SQL Server to Act-On, the driver pushes down supported SQL operations, like filters and aggregations, directly to Act-On and utilizes the embedded SQL engine to process unsupported operations (often SQL functions and JOIN operations) client-side. And with PolyBase, you can also join SQL Server data with Act-On data, using a single query to pull data from distributed sources.

Connect to Act-On

If you have not already, first specify connection properties in an ODBC DSN (data source name). This is the last step of the driver installation. You can use the Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator to create and configure ODBC DSNs. To create an external data source in SQL Server using PolyBase, configure a System DSN (CData Act-On Sys is created automatically).

ActOn uses the OAuth authentication standard. To authenticate using OAuth, you will need to create an app to obtain the OAuthClientId, OAuthClientSecret, and CallbackURL connection properties.

See the Getting Started guide in the CData driver documentation for more information.

Click "Test Connection" to ensure that the DSN is connected to Act-On properly. Navigate to the Tables tab to review the table definitions for Act-On.

Create an External Data Source for Act-On Data

After configuring the connection, you need to create a master encryption key and a credential database for the external data source.

Creating a Master Encryption Key

Execute the following SQL command to create a new master key, 'ENCRYPTION,' to encrypt the credentials for the external data source.


Creating a Credential Database

Execute the following SQL command to create credentials for the external data source connected to Act-On data.

NOTE: Since Act-On does not require a User or Password to authenticate, you may use whatever values you wish for IDENTITY and SECRET.

WITH IDENTITY = 'username', SECRET = 'password';

Create an External Data Source for Act-On

Execute the following SQL command to create an external data source for Act-On with PolyBase, using the DSN and credentials configured earlier.

For Act-On, set SERVERNAME to 'localhost' or '' and leave PORT empty. PUSHDOWN is set to ON by default, meaning the ODBC Driver can leverage server-side processing for complex queries.

  CREDENTIAL = acton_creds

Create External Tables for Act-On

After creating the external data source, use CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE statements to link to Act-On data from your SQL Server instance. The table column definitions must match those exposed by the CData ODBC Driver for Act-On. You can refer to the Tables tab of the DSN Configuration Wizard to see the table definition.

Sample CREATE TABLE Statement

The statement to create an external table based on a Act-On Images would look similar to the following:

  Id [nvarchar](255) NULL,
  Name [nvarchar](255) NULL,
) WITH ( 

Having created external tables for Act-On in your SQL Server instance, you are now able to query local and remote data simultaneously. Thanks to built-in query processing in the CData ODBC Driver, you know that as much query processing as possible is being pushed to Act-On, freeing up local resources and computing power. Download a free, 30-day trial of the ODBC Driver for Act-On and start working with live Act-On data alongside your SQL Server data today.