Connect to IBM Informix as an External Data Source using PolyBase

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IBM Informix ODBC Driver

The IBM Informix ODBC Driver is a powerful tool that allows you to connect with live data from IBM Informix, directly from any applications that support ODBC connectivity.

Access IBM Informix data like you would a database - read, write, and update IBM Informix databases through a standard ODBC Driver interface.



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

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

Connect to IBM Informix

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 IBM Informix Sys is created automatically).

Set the following properties to connect to IBM Informix

  • Server: Set this to the name of the server running IBM Informix.
  • Port: Set this to the port the IBM Informix server is listening on.
  • Database: Set this to the name of the IBM Informix database.
  • User: Set this to the username of a user allowed to access the database.
  • Password: Set this to the password of a user allowed to access the database.

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

Create an External Data Source for IBM Informix 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 IBM Informix data.

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

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

Create an External Data Source for IBM Informix

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

NOTE: SERVERNAME and PORT corresponds to the Server and Port connection properties for IBM Informix. PUSHDOWN is set to ON by default, meaning the ODBC Driver can leverage server-side processing for complex queries.

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

Create External Tables for IBM Informix

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

CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE Books(
  Id [nvarchar](255) NULL,
  Price [nvarchar](255) NULL,
  ...
) WITH ( 
  LOCATION='Books',
  DATA_SOURCE=cdata_informix_source
);

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