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ODBC FDW for PostgreSQL 9.5+

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This PostgreSQL extension implements a Foreign Data Wrapper (FDW) for remote databases using Open Database Connectivity ODBC.

This was originally developed by Zheng Yang in 2011, with contributions by Gunnar "Nick" Bluth from 2014 and further developed by CARTO since 2016.

While we don’t provide direct technical support to Open Source installations, it is possible to engage in technical conversations with the community and part of the CARTO team (including some team members like Solutions, Support, Backend, and Frontend engineers) in our Google Groups forum and GIS Stack Exchange.


To compile and install this extension, assuming a Linux OS, the libraries and header files for ODBC and PostgreSQL are needed, e.g. in Ubuntu this can be provided by the unixodbc-dev and postgresql-server-dev-9.5 system packages.

To make use of the extension ODBC drivers for the data sources to be used must be installed in the system and reflected in the /etc/odbcinst.ini file.

Driver requirements

  • odbc-postgresql: >= 9.x
  • libmyodbc: >= 5.1
  • FreeTDS: >= 1.0
  • hive-odbc-native: >= 2.1

Building and Installing

The extension can be built and installed with:

sudo make install


The OPTION clause of the CREATE SERVER, CREATE FOREIGN TABLE and IMPORT FOREIGN SCHEMA commands is used to define both the ODBC attributes to define a connection to an ODBC data source and some additional parameters to specify the table or query that will be accessed as a foreign table.

The following options to define ODBC attributes should be defined in the server definition (CREATE SERVER).

option description
dsn The Database Source Name of the foreign database system you're connecting to.
driver The name of the ODBC driver to use (needed if no dsn is used)

Any other ODBC connection attribute is driver-dependent, and should be defined by an option named as the attribute prepended by the prefix odbc_. For example odbc_server, odbc_port, odbc_uid, odbc_pwd, etc.

The DSN and Driver can also be defined by the prefixed options odbc_DSN and odbc_DRIVER repectively.

The odbc_ prefixed options can be defined either in the server, user mapping or foreign table statements.

If the ODBC driver requires case-sensitive attribute names, the odbc_ option names will have to be quoted with double quotes (""), for example OPTIONS ( "odbc_SERVER" '' ). Attributes DSN, DRIVER, UID and PWD are automatically uppercased and don't need quoting.

If an ODBC attribute value contains special characters such as = or ; it will require quoting with curly braces ({}), for example: for example OPTIONS ( "odbc_PWD" '{xyz=abc}' ).

odbc_ option names may need to be quoted with "" if the driver requires case-sensitive names (otherwise the names are passed as lowercase, except for UID & PWD) odbc_ option values may need to be quoted with {} if they contain characters such as =; ... (but PG driver doesn't seem to support them) (the driver name and DNS should always support this quoting, since they aren't handled by the driver)

Usually you'll want to define authentication-related attributes in a CREATE USER MAPPING statement, so that they are determined by the connected PostgreSQL role, but that's not a requirement: any attribute can be define in any of the statements; when a foreign table is access the SERVER, USER MAPPING and FOREIGN TABLE options will be combined to produce an ODBC connection string.

The next options are used to define the table or query to connect a foreign table to. They should be defined either in CREATE FOREIGN TABLE or IMPORT FOREIGN SCHEMA statements:

option description
schema The schema of the database to query.
table The name of the table to query. Also the name of the foreign table to create in the case of queries.
sql_query Optional: User defined SQL statement for querying the foreign table(s). This overrides the table parameters. This should use the syntax of ODBC driver used.
sql_count Optional: User defined SQL statement for counting number of records in the foreign table(s). This should use the syntax of ODBC driver used.
prefix For IMPORT FOREIGN SCHEMA: a prefix for foreign table names. This can be used to prepend a prefix to the names of tables imported from an external database.

Note that if the prefix option is used and only one specific foreign table is to be imported, the table option is necessary (to specify the unprefixed, remote table name). In this case it is better not to include a LIMIT TO clause (otherwise it has to reference the prefixed table name).


Assuming that the odbc_fdw is installed and available in your database (CREATE EXTENSION odbc_fdw), and that you have a DNS test defined for some ODBC datasource which has a table named dblist in a schema named test:

CREATE SERVER odbc_server
  OPTIONS (dsn 'test');

  odbc_table (
    id integer,
    name varchar(255),
    desc text,
    users float4,
    createdtime timestamp
  SERVER odbc_server
    odbc_DATABASE 'myplace',
    schema 'test',
    sql_query 'select description,id,name,created_datetime,sd,users from `test`.`dblist`',
    sql_count 'select count(id) from `test`.`dblist`'

  SERVER odbc_server
  OPTIONS (odbc_UID 'root', odbc_PWD '');

Note that no DSN is required; we can define connection attributes, including the name of the ODBC driver, individually:

CREATE SERVER odbc_server
    odbc_DRIVER 'MySQL',
	odbc_SERVER '',
	encoding 'iso88591'

The need to know about the columns of the table(s) to be queried ad its types can be obviated by using the IMPORT FOREIGN SCHEMA statement. By using the same OPTIONS as for CREATE FOREIGN TABLE we can import as a foreign table the results of an arbitrary query performed through the ODBC driver:

  FROM SERVER odbc_server
  INTO public
    odbc_DATABASE 'myplace',
    table 'odbc_table', -- this will be the name of the created foreign table
    sql_query 'select description,id,name,created_datetime,sd,users from `test`.`dblist`'


  • Column, schema, table names should not be longer than the limit stablished by PostgreSQL (NAMEDATALEN)
  • Only the following column types are currently fully suported:
    • SQL_CHAR
    • SQL_REAL
    • SQL_DATE
    • SQL_TIME
    • SQL_GUID
  • Foreign encodings are supported with the encoding option for any enconding supported by PostgreSQL and compatible with the local database. The encoding must be identified with the name used by PostgreSQL.
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