Connect to Amazon S3 as an External Data Source using PolyBase

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Amazon S3 ODBC Driver

The Amazon S3 ODBC Driver is a powerful tool that allows you to connect with live Amazon S3 cloud storage, directly from any applications that support ODBC connectivity.

Access Amazon S3 like you would a database - access Objects, Buckets, etc. through a standard ODBC Driver interface.

Use the CData ODBC Driver for Amazon S3 and PolyBase to create an external data source in SQL Server 2019 with access to live Amazon S3 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 Amazon S3, you get access to your Amazon S3 data directly alongside your SQL Server data. This article describes creating an external data source and external tables to grant access to live Amazon S3 data using T-SQL queries.

NOTE: PolyBase is only available on SQL Server 19 and above, and only for Standard SQL Server.

The CData ODBC drivers offer unmatched performance for interacting with live Amazon S3 data using PolyBase due to optimized data processing built into the driver. When you issue complex SQL queries from SQL Server to Amazon S3, the driver pushes down supported SQL operations, like filters and aggregations, directly to Amazon S3 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 Amazon S3 data, using a single query to pull data from distributed sources.

Connect to Amazon S3

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 Amazon S3 Sys is created automatically).

To authorize Amazon S3 requests, provide the credentials for an administrator account or for an IAM user with custom permissions. Set AccessKey to the access key Id. Set SecretKey to the secret access key.

Note: You can connect as the AWS account administrator, but it is recommended to use IAM user credentials to access AWS services.

For information on obtaining the credentials and other authentication methods, refer to the Getting Started section of the Help documentation.

Click "Test Connection" to ensure that the DSN is connected to Amazon S3 properly. Navigate to the Tables tab to review the table definitions for Amazon S3.

Create an External Data Source for Amazon S3 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 Amazon S3 data.

NOTE: Since Amazon S3 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 Amazon S3

Execute a CREATE EXTERNAL DATA SOURCE SQL command to create an external data source for Amazon S3 with PolyBase:

  • Set the LOCATION parameter , using the DSN and credentials configured earlier.

For Amazon S3, 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.

CREATE EXTERNAL DATA SOURCE cdata_amazons3_source
  LOCATION = 'odbc://localhost',
  CREDENTIAL = amazons3_creds

Create External Tables for Amazon S3

After creating the external data source, use CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE statements to link to Amazon S3 data from your SQL Server instance. The table column definitions must match those exposed by the CData ODBC Driver for Amazon S3. 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 Amazon S3 ObjectsACL would look similar to the following:

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

Having created external tables for Amazon S3 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 Amazon S3, freeing up local resources and computing power. Download a free, 30-day trial of the ODBC Driver for Amazon S3 and start working with live Amazon S3 data alongside your SQL Server data today.