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Connect to QuickBase as an External Data Source using PolyBase

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

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

Connect to QuickBase

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 QuickBase Sys is created automatically).

User Authentication Method

To authenticate with user credentials, specify the following connection properties:

  1. Set the User and Password.
  2. If your application requires an ApplicationToken;, you must provide it otherwise an error will be thrown. You can find the ApplicationToken under SpecificApp > Settings > App management > App properties > Advanced settings > Security options > Manage Application Token.

User Token Authentication

To authenticate with a user token, specify the following connection properties:

  1. Set UserToken and you are ready to connect. You can find the UserToken under Quick Base > My Preferences > My User Information > Manage User Tokens.

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

Create an External Data Source for QuickBase 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 QuickBase data.

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

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

Create an External Data Source for QuickBase

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

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

Create External Tables for QuickBase

After creating the external data source, use CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE statements to link to QuickBase data from your SQL Server instance. The table column definitions must match those exposed by the CData ODBC Driver for QuickBase. 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 QuickBase SampleTable_1 would look similar to the following:

CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE SampleTable_1(
  Id [nvarchar](255) NULL,
  Column1 [nvarchar](255) NULL,
  ...
) WITH ( 
  LOCATION='SampleTable_1',
  DATA_SOURCE=cdata_quickbase_source
);

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