Greenplum Database implements portions of the SQL/MED specification, allowing you to access data that resides outside of Greenplum using regular SQL queries. Such data is referred to as foreign or external data.

You can access foreign data with help from a foreign-data wrapper. A foreign-data wrapper is a library that communicates with a remote data source. This library hides the source-specific connection and data access details.

The Greenplum Database distribution includes the greenplum_fdw and postgres_fdw foreign data wrappers.

If none of the existing PostgreSQL or Greenplum Database foreign-data wrappers suit your needs, you can write your own as described in Writing a Foreign Data Wrapper.

To access foreign data, you create a foreign server object, which defines how to connect to a particular remote data source according to the set of options used by its supporting foreign-data wrapper. Then you create one or more foreign tables, which define the structure of the remote data. A foreign table can be used in queries just like a normal table, but a foreign table has no storage in the Greenplum Database server. Whenever a foreign table is accessed, Greenplum Database asks the foreign-data wrapper to fetch data from, or update data in (if supported by the wrapper), the remote source.

Accessing remote data may require authenticating to the remote data source. This information can be provided by a user mapping, which can provide additional data such as a user name and password based on the current Greenplum Database role.

For additional information, refer to the CREATE FOREIGN DATA WRAPPER, CREATE SERVER, CREATE USER MAPPING, and CREATE FOREIGN TABLE SQL reference pages.

Using Foreign-Data Wrappers with Greenplum Database

Most PostgreSQL foreign-data wrappers should work with Greenplum Database. However, PostgreSQL foreign-data wrappers connect only through the Greenplum Database coordinator by default and do not access the Greenplum Database segment instances directly.

Greenplum Database adds an mpp_execute option to FDW-related SQL commands. If the foreign-data wrapper supports it, you can specify mpp_execute '<value>' in the OPTIONS clause when you create the FDW, server, or foreign table to identify the Greenplum host from which the foreign-data wrapper reads or writes data. Valid <value>s are:

  • coordinator (the default) - Read or write data from the coordinator host.
  • any - Read data from either the coordinator host or any one segment, depending on which path costs less.
  • all segments - Read or write data from all segments. If a foreign-data wrapper supports this value, for correct results it should have a policy that matches segments to data.

(A PostgreSQL foreign-data wrapper may work with the various mpp_execute option settings, but the results are not guaranteed to be correct. For example, a segment may not be able to connect to the foriegn server, or segments may receive overlapping results resulting in duplicate rows.)

Parent topic: Working with External Data

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