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Connect to Alfresco as an External Data Source using PolyBase

Use the CData ODBC Driver for Alfresco and PolyBase to create an external data source in SQL Server 2019 with access to live Alfresco 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 Alfresco, you get access to your Alfresco data directly alongside your SQL Server data. This article walks through creating an external data source and external tables to grant access to live Alfresco data using T-SQL queries.

The CData ODBC drivers offer unmatched performance for interacting with live Alfresco data using PolyBase due to optimized data processing built into the driver. When you issue complex SQL queries from SQL Server to Alfresco, the driver pushes down supported SQL operations, like filters and aggregations, directly to Alfresco 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 Alfresco data, using a single query to pull data from distributed sources.

Connect to Alfresco

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 Alfresco Sys is created automatically).

To connect to Alfresco, the following connection properties must be supplied: User, Password, and InstanceUrl. User and Password correspond to the login credentials that you use to access Alfresco in a web browser. InstanceUrl corresponds to the Alfresco instance you will be querying. For instance, if you expect your queries to hit https://search-demo.dev.alfresco.me/alfresco/api/-default-/public/search/versions/1/sql, you should supply search-demo.dev.alfresco.me for InstanceUrl.

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

Create an External Data Source for Alfresco 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.

CREATE MASTER KEY ENCRYPTION BY PASSWORD = 'password';

Creating a Credential Database

Execute the following SQL command to create credentials for the external data source connected to Alfresco data.

NOTE: IDENTITY and SECRET correspond with the User and Password properties for Alfresco.

CREATE DATABASE SCOPED CREDENTIAL alfresco_creds
WITH IDENTITY = 'username', SECRET = 'password';

Create an External Data Source for Alfresco

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

For Alfresco, set SERVERNAME to 'localhost' or '127.0.0.1' and leave PORT empty. PUSHDOWN is set to ON by default, meaning the ODBC Driver can leverage server-side processing for complex queries.

CREATE EXTERNAL DATA SOURCE cdata_alfresco_source
WITH ( 
  LOCATION = 'odbc://SERVERNAME[:PORT]',
  CONNECTION_OPTIONS = 'DSN=CData Alfresco Sys',
  -- PUSHDOWN = ON | OFF,
  CREDENTIAL = alfresco_creds
);

Create External Tables for Alfresco

After creating the external data source, use CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE statements to link to Alfresco data from your SQL Server instance. The table column definitions must match those exposed by the CData ODBC Driver for Alfresco. 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 Alfresco Alfresco would look similar to the following:

CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE Alfresco(
  DBID [nvarchar](255) NULL,
  Column1 [nvarchar](255) NULL,
  ...
) WITH ( 
  LOCATION='Alfresco',
  DATA_SOURCE=cdata_alfresco_source
);

Having created external tables for Alfresco 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 Alfresco, freeing up local resources and computing power. Download a free, 30-day trial of the ODBC Driver for Alfresco and start working with live Alfresco data alongside your SQL Server data today.