Prepare, Blend, and Analyze SQL Server Data in Alteryx Designer

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SQL Server ODBC Driver

Connect to Microsoft SQL Server-compatible databases from any applications that support ODBC connectivity.

The ODBC Driver offers Direct Mode access to SQL Server through standard Java Database Connectivity, providing extensive compatibility with current and legacy MS SQL versions. Supports secure SQL connectivity and authentication via SSL, Kerberos, Integrated Security, etc.



Build workflows to access live SQL Server data for self-service data analytics.

The CData ODBC Driver for SQL Server enables access to live data from SQL Server under the ODBC standard, allowing you work with SQL Server data in a wide variety of BI, reporting, and ETL tools and directly, using familiar SQL queries. This article shows how to connect to SQL Server data using an ODBC connection in Alteryx Designer to perform self-service BI, data preparation, data blending, and advanced analytics.

The CData ODBC drivers offer unmatched performance for interacting with live SQL Server data in Alteryx Designer due to optimized data processing built into the driver. When you issue complex SQL queries from Alteryx Designer to SQL Server, the driver pushes supported SQL operations, like filters and aggregations, directly to SQL Server and utilizes the embedded SQL engine to process unsupported operations (often SQL functions and JOIN operations) client-side. With built-in dynamic metadata querying, you can visualize and analyze SQL Server data using native Alteryx data field types.

Connect to SQL Server Data

  1. If you have not already done so, provide values for the required connection properties in the data source name (DSN). You can configure the DSN using the built-in Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator. This is also the last step of the driver installation. See the "Getting Started" chapter in the Help documentation for a guide to using the Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator to create and configure a DSN.

    Connecting to Microsoft SQL Server

    Connect to Microsoft SQL Server using the following properties:

    • Server: The name of the server running SQL Server.
    • User: The username provided for authentication with SQL Server.
    • Password: The password associated with the authenticating user.
    • Database: The name of the SQL Server database.

    Connecting to Azure SQL Server and Azure Data Warehouse

    You can authenticate to Azure SQL Server or Azure Data Warehouse by setting the following connection properties:

    • Server: The server running Azure. You can find this by logging into the Azure portal and navigating to "SQL databases" (or "SQL data warehouses") -> "Select your database" -> "Overview" -> "Server name."
    • User: The name of the user authenticating to Azure.
    • Password: The password associated with the authenticating user.
    • Database: The name of the database, as seen in the Azure portal on the SQL databases (or SQL warehouses) page.

    When you configure the DSN, you may also want to set the Max Rows connection property. This will limit the number of rows returned, which is especially helpful for improving performance when designing reports and visualizations.

  2. Open Alteryx Designer and create a new workflow.
  3. Drag and drop a new input data tool onto the workflow.
  4. Click the new input data tool and under Connect a File or Database, select Database Connection -> New ODBC Connection.
  5. Select the DSN that you configured for use in Alteryx.
  6. In the wizard that opens, select the fields you wish to include in your query. Where possible, the complex queries generated by the filters and aggregations will be pushed down to SQL Server, while any unsupported operations (which can include SQL functions and JOIN operations) will be managed client-side by the CData SQL engine embedded in the driver.
  7. If you wish to further customize your dataset, you can open the SQL Editor and modify the query manually, adding clauses, aggregations, and other operations to ensure that you are retrieving exactly the SQL Server data you want.

With the query defined, you are ready to work with SQL Server data in Alteryx Designer.

Perform Self-Service Analytics on SQL Server Data

You are now ready to create a workflow to prepare, blend, and analyze SQL Server data. The CData ODBC Driver performs dynamic metadata discovery, presenting data using Alteryx data field types and allowing you to leverage the Designer's tools to manipulate data as needed and build meaningful datasets. In the example below, you will cleanse and browse data.

  1. Add a data cleansing tool to the workflow and check the boxes in Replace Nulls to replace null text fields with blanks and replace null numeric fields with 0. You can also check the box in Remove Unwanted Characters to remove leading and trailing whitespace.
  2. Add a browse data tool to the workflow.
  3. Click to run the workflow (CTRL+R).
  4. Browse your cleansed SQL Server data in the results view.

Thanks to built-in, high-performance data processing, you will be able to quickly cleanse, transform, and/or analyze your SQL Server data with Alteryx.