Connect to SharePoint as an External Data Source using PolyBase

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

Access SharePoint data like you would a database - read, write, and update SharePoint Lists, Contacts, Calendar, Links, Tasks, etc. through a standard ODBC Driver interface.

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

NOTE: PolyBase is only available on SQL Server 19 and above, and only for Standard SQL Server.

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

Connect to SharePoint

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 SharePoint Sys is created automatically).

Set the URL property to the base SharePoint site or to a sub-site. This allows you to query any lists and other SharePoint entities defined for the site or sub-site.

The User and Password properties, under the Authentication section, must be set to valid SharePoint user credentials when using SharePoint On-Premise.

If you are connecting to SharePoint Online, set the SharePointEdition to SHAREPOINTONLINE along with the User and Password connection string properties. For more details on connecting to SharePoint Online, see the "Getting Started" chapter of the help documentation

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

Create an External Data Source for SharePoint 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.


Creating a Credential Database

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

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

WITH IDENTITY = 'sharepoint_username', SECRET = 'sharepoint_password';

Create an External Data Source for SharePoint

Execute a CREATE EXTERNAL DATA SOURCE SQL command to create an external data source for SharePoint with PolyBase:

  • Set the LOCATION parameter , using the DSN and credentials configured earlier.

For SharePoint, set SERVERNAME to the URL or address for your server (e.g. 'localhost' or '' for local servers; the remote URL for remote servers). 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_sharepoint_source
  CONNECTION_OPTIONS = 'DSN=CData SharePoint Sys',
  CREDENTIAL = sharepoint_creds

Create External Tables for SharePoint

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

  Name [nvarchar](255) NULL,
  Revenue [nvarchar](255) NULL,
) WITH ( 

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