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Connect to Microsoft Project as an External Data Source using PolyBase

Use the CData ODBC Driver for Microsoft Project and PolyBase to create an external data source in SQL Server 2019 with access to live Microsoft Project 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 Project, you get access to your Microsoft Project 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 Project data using T-SQL queries.

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

Connect to Microsoft Project

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 Project Sys is created automatically).

The User and Password properties, under the Authentication section, must be set to valid Microsoft Project user credentials. In addition, you will need to specify a URL to a valid Microsoft Project server organization root or Microsoft Project services file.

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

Create an External Data Source for Microsoft Project 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 Project data.

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

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

Create an External Data Source for Microsoft Project

Execute the following SQL command to create an external data source for Microsoft Project 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_microsoftproject_source
WITH ( 
  LOCATION = 'odbc://SERVERNAME[:PORT]',
  CONNECTION_OPTIONS = 'DSN=CData Microsoft Project Sys',
  -- PUSHDOWN = ON | OFF,
  CREDENTIAL = microsoftproject_creds
);

Create External Tables for Microsoft Project

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

CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE Projects(
  ProjectName [nvarchar](255) NULL,
  ProjectActualCost [nvarchar](255) NULL,
  ...
) WITH ( 
  LOCATION='Projects',
  DATA_SOURCE=cdata_microsoftproject_source
);

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