Salesforce Connector for SQL Server

In this article you will learn how to integrate Salesforce data in SQL Server without coding in just a few clicks (live / bi-directional connection to Salesforce). Salesforce Connector can be used to extract/load large amount of data from/in Salesforce.com without any programming. You can use simple Table mode or Query mode with full SOQL query language support (SOQL=Salesforce.com Object Query Language)..

Using Salesforce Connector you will be able to connect, read, and write data from within SQL Server. Follow the steps below to see how we would accomplish that.

Download Documentation

Video Tutorial - Integrate Salesforce data in SQL Server

This video covers following and more so watch carefully. After watching this video follow the steps described in this article.

  • How to download / install required driver for Salesforce integration in SQL Server
  • How to configure connection for Salesforce
  • Features about Salesforce Driver (Authentication / Query Language / Examples / Driver UI)
  • Using Salesforce Connection in SQL Server

Create Data Source in ZappySys Data Gateway based on ZappySys Salesforce Driver

  1. Download and install ZappySys ODBC PowerPack.

  2. Search for gateway in start menu and Open ZappySys Data Gateway:
    Open ZappySys Data Gateway

  3. Go to Users Tab to add our first Gateway user. Click Add; we will give it a name tdsuser and enter password you like to give. Check Admin option and click OK to save. We will use these details later when we create linked server:
    ZappySys Data Gateway - Add User

  4. Now we are ready to add a data source. Click Add, give data source a name (Copy this name somewhere, we will need it later) and then select Native - ZappySys Salesforce Driver. Finally, click OK. And it will create the Data Set for it and open the ZS driver UI.

    ZappySys Data Gateway - Add Salesforce Data Source

  5. Now, we need SalesForce Connection. Lets create it. ODBC SalesForce Driver - Create Connection

  6. Now, When you see DSN Config Editor with zappysys logo first thing you need to do is change default DSN Name at the top and Click on Preview Tab, Select Table from Tables Dropdown or you can enter or modify a SOQL query and click on Preview Data.
    This example shows how to write simple SOQL query (Salesforce Object Query Language). It uses WHERE clause. For more SOQL Queries click here.
    SOQL is similar to database SQL query language but much simpler and many features you use in database query may not be supported in SOQL (Such as JOIN clause not supported). But you can use following Queries for Insert, Update, Delete and Upsert(Update or Insert record if not found).

    SELECT * FROM Account WHERE Name like '%Oil%'
    ZappySys ODBC Driver - Select Table and Preview Data
  7. Click OK to finish creating the data source

Read data in SQL Server from the ZappySys Data Gateway

  1. To read the data in SQL Server the first thing you have to do is create a Linked Server. Go to SQL Server Management Studio and configure it in a similar way:
    SSMS SQL Server Configure Linked Server

  2. Then click on Security option and configure username we created in ZappySys Data Gateway in one of the previous steps:
    SSMS SQL Server Configure Linked Server User Name

  3. Optional: Under the Server Options, Enable RPC and RPC Out and Disable Promotion of Distributed Transactions(MSDTC).

    RPC and MSDTC Settings

    You need to enable RPC Out if you plan to use EXEC(...) AT [MY_LINKED_SERVER_NAME] rather than OPENQUERY.
    If don't enabled it, you will encounter the Server 'MY_LINKED_SERVER_NAME' is not configured for RPC error.

    Query Example:

    EXEC('Select * from Products') AT [MY_LINKED_SERVER_NAME]


    If you plan to use 'INSERT INTO...EXEC(....) AT [MY_LINKED_SERVER_NAME]' in that case you need to Disable Promotion of Distributed Transactions(MSDTC).
    If don't disabled it, you will encounter the The operation could not be performed because OLE DB provider "SQLNCLI11" for linked server "MY_LINKED_SERVER_NAME" was unable to begin a distributed transaction. error.

    Query Example:

    Insert Into dbo.Products
     EXEC('Select * from Products') AT [MY_LINKED_SERVER_NAME]
    


  4. Finally, open a new query and execute a query we saved in one of the previous steps:

    SELECT * FROM OPENQUERY([MY_LINKED_SERVER_NAME], 'SELECT * FROM Products');

    SSMS SQL Server Query Data Results

Create Linked Server using Code

In previous section you saw how to create a Linked Server from UI. You can do similar action by code too (see below). Run below script after changing necessary parameters. Assuming your Data Source name on ZappySys Data Gateway UI is 'SalesforceDSN'

    USE [master]
    GO
    --///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    --Run below code in SSMS to create Linked Server and use ZappySys Drivers in SQL Server
    --///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    //Replace YOUR_GATEWAY_USER, YOUR_GATEWAY_PASSWORD
    //Replace localhost with IP/Machine name if ZappySys Gateway Running on different machine other than SQL Server
    //Replace Port 5000 if you configured gateway on a different port


    --1. Configure your gateway service as per this article https://zappysys.com/links?id=10036
    
    --2. Make sure you have SQL Server Installed. You can download FREE SQL Server Express Edition from here if you dont want to buy Paid version https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/sql-server/sql-server-editions-express

    --Uncomment below if you like to drop linked server if it already exists
    --EXEC master.dbo.sp_dropserver @server=N'LS_SalesforceDSN', @droplogins='droplogins'

    --3. Create new linked server
    
    EXEC master.dbo.sp_addlinkedserver
      @server = N'LS_SalesforceDSN'  --Linked server name (this will be used in OPENQUERY sql
    , @srvproduct=N''
    , @provider=N'SQLNCLI11'
    , @datasrc=N'localhost,5000' --//Machine / Port where Gateway service is running
    , @provstr=N'Network Library=DBMSSOCN;'
    , @catalog=N'SalesforceDSN' --Data source name you gave on Gateway service settings

    --4. Attach gateway login with linked server

    EXEC master.dbo.sp_addlinkedsrvlogin
      @rmtsrvname=N'LS_SalesforceDSN'  --linked server name
    , @useself=N'False'
    , @locallogin=NULL
    , @rmtuser=N'YOUR_GATEWAY_USER' --enter your Gateway user name
    , @rmtpassword='YOUR_GATEWAY_PASSWORD'  --enter your Gateway user's password
    GO

    --5. Enable RPC OUT (This is Optional - Only needed if you plan to use EXEC(...) AT YourLinkedServerName rather than OPENQUERY
    EXEC sp_serveroption 'LS_SalesforceDSN', 'rpc', true;
    EXEC sp_serveroption 'LS_SalesforceDSN', 'rpc out', true;

    --Disable MSDTC - Below needed to support INSERT INTO from EXEC AT statement
    EXEC sp_serveroption 'LS_SalesforceDSN', 'remote proc transaction promotion', false;
    
    --Increase query timeout if query is going to take longer than 10 mins (Default timeout is 600 seconds)
    --EXEC sp_serveroption 'LS_SalesforceDSN', 'query timeout', 1200;
    GO

Firewall settings

So far we have assumed that Gateway is running on the same machine as SQL Server. However there will be a case when ZappySys ODBC PowerPack is installed on a different machine than SQL Server. In such case you may have to perform additional Firewall configurations. On most computers firewall settings wont allow outside traffic to ZappySys Data Gateway. In such case perform following steps to allow other machines to connect to Gateway.

Method-1 (Preferred)

If you are using newer version of ZappySys Data Gateway then adding firewall rule is just a single click.

  1. Search for gateway in start menu and open ZappySys Data Gateway.
  2. Go to Firewall Tab and click Add Firewall Rule button like below. This will create Firewall rule to all Inbound Traffic on Port 5000 (Unless you changed it). Allow Inbound Traffic - Add Firewall Rule for ZappySys Data Gateway

Method-2 Here is another way to add / edit Inbound Traffic rule in windows firewall. Use below method if you choose to customize your rule (for advanced users).
  1. Search for Windows Firewall Advanced Security in start menu.
  2. Under Inbound Rules > Right click and click [New Rule] >> Click Next
  3. Select Port on Rule Type >> Click Next
  4. Click on TCP and enter port number under specified local port as 5000 (use different one if you changed Default port) >> Click Next
  5. Select Profile (i.e. Private, Public) >> Click Next
  6. Enter Rule name [i.e. ZappySys Data Gateway – Allow Inbound ] >> Click Next
  7. Click OK to save the rule
SQL Server Firewall Allow Inbound Data Gateway

OPENQUERY vs EXEC (handling larger SQL text)

So far we have seen examples of using OPENQUERY. It allows us to send pass-through query at remote server. The biggest limitation of OPENQUERY is it doesn't allow you to use variables inside SQL so often we have to use unpleasant looking dynamic SQL (Lots of tick, tick …. and escape hell). Well there is good news. With SQL 2005 and later you can use EXEC(your_sql) AT your_linked_server syntax . Disadvantage of EXEC AT is you cannot do SELECT INTO like OPENQUERY. Also you cannot perform JOIN like below in EXEC AT


    SELECT a.* FROM OPENQUERY([ls_SalesforceDSN],'select * from Customers') a
    JOIN OPENQUERY([ls_SalesforceDSN],'select * from Orders') b ON a.CustomerId=b.CustomerId;

However you can always do INSERT INTO SomeTable EXEC(…) AT your_linked_server. So table must exists when you do that way. Here is how to use it. To use EXEC(..) AT {linked-server} you must turn on RPC OUT option. Notice how we used variable in SQL to make it dynamic. This is much cleaner than previous approach we saw.

    USE [master]
    GO
    --Replace YOUR_GATEWAY_USER, YOUR_GATEWAY_PASSWORD
    --Replace localhost with IP/Machine name if ZappySys Gateway Running on different machine other than SQL Server

    --Create new linked server
    EXEC master.dbo.sp_addlinkedserver
      @server = N'LS_SalesforceDSN'  --Linked server name (this will be used in OPENQUERY sql)
    , @srvproduct=N''
    , @provider=N'SQLNCLI11'
    , @datasrc=N'localhost,5000' --//Machine / Port where Gateway service is running
    , @provstr=N'Network Library=DBMSSOCN;'
    , @catalog=N'SalesforceDSN' --Data source name you gave on Gateway service settings

    --Attach gateway login with linked server
    EXEC master.dbo.sp_addlinkedsrvlogin
      @rmtsrvname=N'LS_SalesforceDSN'  --linked server name
    , @useself=N'False'
    , @locallogin=NULL
    , @rmtuser=N'YOUR_GATEWAY_USER' --enter your Gateway user name
    , @rmtpassword='YOUR_GATEWAY_PASSWORD'  --enter your Gateway user's password
    GO

    --5. Enable RPC OUT (This is Optional - Only needed if you plan to use EXEC(...) AT YourLinkedServerName rather than OPENQUERY
    EXEC sp_serveroption 'LS_SalesforceDSN', 'rpc', true;
    EXEC sp_serveroption 'LS_SalesforceDSN', 'rpc out', true;
    --Disable MSDTC - Below needed to support INSERT INTO from EXEC AT statement
    EXEC sp_serveroption 'LS_SalesforceDSN', 'remote proc transaction promotion', false;
    --Increase query timeout if query is going to take longer than 10 mins (Default timeout is 600 seconds)
    --EXEC sp_serveroption 'LS_SalesforceDSN', 'query timeout', 1200;
    GO

Here is the difference between OPENQUERY vs EXEC approaches: OPENQUERY vs EXEC

Fetching Tables / Columns using metadata stored procs

ZappySys Data Gateway emulates certains system procs you might find in real SQL Server. You can call using below syntax using 4-Parts syntax
exec [linked-server-name].[gateway-datasource-name].[DATA].sp_tables
exec [linked-server-name].[gateway-datasource-name].[DATA].sp_columns_90 N'your-table-name'
Example:

    //List all tables
    exec [ls_SalesforceDSN].[SalesforceDSN].[DATA].sp_tables

    //List all columns and its type for specified table
    exec [ls_SalesforceDSN].[SalesforceDSN].[DATA].sp_columns_90 N'Account'

Known Issues

Let's explore some common problems that can occur when using OPENQUERY or Data Gateway connectivity.


Error: The data is invalid

There will be a time when, you may encounter unexpected errors like the ones listed below. These can include:

OLE DB provider "SQLNCLI11" for linked server "Zs_Csv" returned message "Deferred prepare could not be completed.".
OLE DB provider "SQLNCLI11" for linked server "Zs_Csv" returned message "Communication link failure".
Msg 13, Level 16, State 1, Line 0

Session Provider: The data is invalid.
Possible Cause:

There are few reasons for such error but below are two main reasons

  • If the query length exceeds 2000 characters, as shown below, you might encounter this error.

    SELECT * FROM OPENQUERY(LS, '--some really long text more than 2000 chars--')
  • If a query contains multiple OPENQUERY statements for JOINs or UNIONs, as shown below, it might fail due to a MARS compatibility issue where the gateway doesn't support parallel queries on a single connection.

    SELECT a.id, b.name from OPENQUERY(LS, 'select * from tbl1') a join OPENQUERY(LS, 'select * from tbl2') b on a.id=b.id
Possible Fix:

There are few ways to fix above error based on reason why you getting this error (i.e. Query Length issue OR JOIN/UNION in the same statement)

  • If your query has long SQL (more than 2000 chars ) then reduce SQL length using different techniques
    • e.g. use SELECT * FROM MyTable rather than SELECT col1,col2… FROM MyTable
    • Use Meta Option in WITH clause if you must use column name. (e.g. SELECT * FROM MyTable WITH(META=’c:\meta.txt’) this way you can define column in Meta file rather than SELECT query. Check this article
    • Consider using EXECT (….) AT [Linked_Server_name] option rather than OPENQUERY so you can use very long SQL (See next section on EXEC..AT usecase)
    • Consider using Virtual Table / Stored Proc to wrap long SQL so your call is very small (where usp_GetOrdersByYear is custom proc created on ZappySys Driver UI)
      SELECT * FROM OPENQUERY(LS, 'EXEC usp_GetOrdersByYear 2021')
  • If your query uses JOIN  / UNION with multiple OPENQUERY in same SQL then use multiple Linked servers (one for each OPENQUERY clause) as below.
    select a.id, b.name from OPENQUERY(LS_1, 'select * from tbl1') a join OPENQUERY(LS_2, 'select * from tbl2') b on a.id=b.id

Error: Unable to begin a distributed transaction (When INSERT + EXEC used)

If you try to use the EXEC statement to insert data into a table, as shown below, you might encounter the following error unless the MSDTC option is turned off.

INSERT INTO MyTable EXEC('select * from tbl') AT MyLinkedServer
"Protocol error in TDS stream"
The operation could not be performed because OLE DB provider "SQLNCLI11" for linked server "ls_Json2" was unable to begin a distributed transaction.
--OR--
The operation could not be performed because OLE DB provider "MSOLEDBSQL" for linked server "ls_Json" was unable to begin a distributed transaction.

Solution:
Method-1: Go to linked server properties | Server Options | Enable Promotion of Distributed Transaction | Change to false (Default is true)
Now your try your INSERT with EXEC AT and it should work

Method-2: Run the below command if you dont want to use UI

EXEC master.dbo.sp_serveroption @server=N'My_Linked_Server', @optname=N'remote proc transaction promotion', @optvalue=N'false'

Error: Cannot use OPENQUERY with JOIN / UNION

When you perform a JOIN or UNION ALL on the same Linked Server, it may fail to process sometimes because the Data Gateway doesn't support parallel query requests on the same connection. A workaround for that would be to create multiple linked servers for the same data source. Refer to the section above for the same workaround.


Error: Truncation errors due to data length mismatch

Many times, you may encounter truncation errors if a table column's length is less than the actual column size from the query column. To solve this issue, use the new version of Data Gateway and check the 'Use nvarchar(max) for string options' option found on the General Tab.


Performance Tips

Now, let's look at a few performance tips in this section.


Use INSERT INTO rather than SELECT INTO to avoid extra META request

We discussed some Pros and Cons of OPENQUERY vs EXEC (…) AT in previous section. One obvious advantage of EXEC (….) AT is it reduces number of requests to driver (It sends pass through query). With EXEC you cannot load data dynamically like SELECT INTO tmp FROM OPENQUERY. Table must exist before hand if you use EXEC.


INSERT INTO tmp_API_Report_Load(col1,col2)
EXEC('select col1,col2 from some_api_table') AT [API-LINKED-SERVER]
--OR--
INSERT INTO tmp_API_Report_Load(col1,col2)
select col1,col2 from OPENQUERY([API-LINKED-SERVER], 'select col1,col2 from some_api_table')

The advantage of this method is that your query speed will increase because the system only calls the API once when you use EXEC AT. In contrast, with OPENROWSET, the query needs to be called twice: once to obtain metadata and once to retrieve the data.


Use Cached Metadata if possible

By default, most SQL queries sent to the Data Gateway need to invoke two phases: first, to get metadata, and second, to fetch data. However, you can bypass the metadata API call by supplying static metadata. Use the META property in the WITH clause, as explained in this article, to speed up your SQL queries.

Conclusion

In this article we discussed how to connect to Salesforce in SQL Server and integrate data without any coding. Click here to Download Salesforce Connector for SQL Server and try yourself see how easy it is. If you still have any question(s) then ask here or simply click on live chat icon below and ask our expert (see bottom-right corner of this page).

Download Salesforce Connector for SQL Server Documentation 


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