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Connect to Blackbaud FE NXT as an External Data Source using PolyBase

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

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

Connect to Blackbaud FE NXT

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 Blackbaud FE NXT Sys is created automatically).

Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT 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 Blackbaud FE NXT properly. Navigate to the Tables tab to review the table definitions for Blackbaud FE NXT.

Create an External Data Source for Blackbaud FE NXT 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 Blackbaud FE NXT data.

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

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

Create an External Data Source for Blackbaud FE NXT

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

For Blackbaud FE NXT, 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_financialedgenxt_source
WITH ( 
  LOCATION = 'odbc://SERVERNAME[:PORT]',
  CONNECTION_OPTIONS = 'DSN=CData Blackbaud FE NXT Sys',
  -- PUSHDOWN = ON | OFF,
  CREDENTIAL = financialedgenxt_creds
);

Create External Tables for Blackbaud FE NXT

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

CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE Accounts(
  AccountId [nvarchar](255) NULL,
  AccountNumber [nvarchar](255) NULL,
  ...
) WITH ( 
  LOCATION='Accounts',
  DATA_SOURCE=cdata_financialedgenxt_source
);

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