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Connect to Microsoft Exchange as an External Data Source using PolyBase

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

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

Connect to Microsoft Exchange

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 Microsoft Exchange Sys is created automatically).

Specify the User and Password to connect to Exchange. Additionally, specify the address of the Exchange server you are connecting to and the Platform associated with the server.

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

Create an External Data Source for Microsoft Exchange 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 Microsoft Exchange data.

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

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

Create an External Data Source for Microsoft Exchange

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

PUSHDOWN is set to ON by default, meaning the ODBC Driver can leverage server-side processing for complex queries.

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

Create External Tables for Microsoft Exchange

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

CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE Contacts(
  GivenName [nvarchar](255) NULL,
  Size [nvarchar](255) NULL,
  ...
) WITH ( 
  LOCATION='Contacts',
  DATA_SOURCE=cdata_exchange_source
);

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