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Connect to MailChimp as an External Data Source using PolyBase

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

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

Connect to MailChimp

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 MailChimp Sys is created automatically).

You can set the APIKey to the key you generate in your account settings, or, instead of providing your APIKey, you can use the OAuth standard to authenticate the application. OAuth can be used to enable other users to access their own data. To authenticate using OAuth, you will need to obtain the OAuthClientId, OAuthClientSecret, and CallbackURL by registering an app with MailChimp.

See the "Getting Started" chapter in the help documentation for a guide to using OAuth.

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

Create an External Data Source for MailChimp 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 MailChimp data.

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

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

Create an External Data Source for MailChimp

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

For MailChimp, 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_mailchimp_source
WITH ( 
  LOCATION = 'odbc://SERVERNAME[:PORT]',
  CONNECTION_OPTIONS = 'DSN=CData MailChimp Sys',
  -- PUSHDOWN = ON | OFF,
  CREDENTIAL = mailchimp_creds
);

Create External Tables for MailChimp

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

CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE Lists(
  Name [nvarchar](255) NULL,
  Stats_AvgSubRate [nvarchar](255) NULL,
  ...
) WITH ( 
  LOCATION='Lists',
  DATA_SOURCE=cdata_mailchimp_source
);

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