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Connect to PowerShell as an External Data Source using PolyBase

Use the CData ODBC Driver for PowerShell and PolyBase to create an external data source in SQL Server 2019 with access to live PowerShell scripts.

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 PowerShell, you get access to your PowerShell scripts directly alongside your SQL Server data. This article walks through creating an external data source and external tables to grant access to live PowerShell scripts using T-SQL queries.

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

Connect to PowerShell

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 PowerShell Sys is created automatically).

The ScriptLocation, under the Data section, must be set to a valid script location.

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

Create an External Data Source for PowerShell Scripts

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.


Creating a Credential Database

Execute the following SQL command to create credentials for the external data source connected to PowerShell scripts.

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

WITH IDENTITY = 'username', SECRET = 'password';

Create an External Data Source for PowerShell

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

For PowerShell, set SERVERNAME to 'localhost' or '' 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_powershell_source
  CONNECTION_OPTIONS = 'DSN=CData PowerShell Sys',
  CREDENTIAL = powershell_creds

Create External Tables for PowerShell

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

  ProcessName [nvarchar](255) NULL,
  CPU [nvarchar](255) NULL,
) WITH ( 

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