Connect to Slack as an External Data Source using PolyBase

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Slack ODBC Driver

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

Access Slack data like you would a database - read, write, and update Slack User, Channels, Messages, Files, etc. through a standard ODBC Driver interface.



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

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

Connect to Slack

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 Slack Sys is created automatically).

Slack uses the OAuth authentication standard. To authenticate using OAuth, you will need to create an app to obtain the OAuthClientId, OAuthClientSecret, and CallbackURL connection properties. See the Getting Started section of the help documentation for an authentication guide.

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

Create an External Data Source for Slack 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 Slack data.

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

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

Create an External Data Source for Slack

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

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

Create External Tables for Slack

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

CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE Channels(
  Id [nvarchar](255) NULL,
  Name [nvarchar](255) NULL,
  ...
) WITH ( 
  LOCATION='Channels',
  DATA_SOURCE=cdata_slack_source
);

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