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SQL Server to Couchbase migration library

A library to help guide your SQL Server to Couchbase migration/sync efforts. This library represents a best effort at mapping SQL Server concepts to Couchbase Server concepts automatically. It may or may not fulfill every one of your requirements. In the worst case, it can at least be an educational tool. Think of it like Google Translate.


Create a SqlToCb object with config (and logger of your choice). Execute the Migrate method with various flags to limit/expand what you want to try migrating.

SqlToCbConfig contains SQL Server connection string, Couchbase connection string/credentials, and other settings.


Catalog to Bucket - For the given database (aka "catalog") in SQL Server, create a bucket in Couchbase Server (named according to SqlToCbConfig::TargetBucket).

Tables to Collections - For each table in the given SQL Server database catalog, create a corresponding collection in a Couchbase Server bucket. This will also involve the schema which you may choose to correspond to a scope in Couchbase Server.


Config::UseSchemaForScope = true

Schema Table <-> Scope Collection
Person Address Person Address
Sales Contact Sales Contact
dbo Invoice _default** Invoice

Config::UseSchemaForScope = false

Schema Table <-> Scope Collection
Person Address _default Person_Address
Sales Contact _default Sales_Contact
dbo Invoice _default** Invoice

** The rough equivalent of dbo in Couchbase Server is _default.

Why would I ever want UserSchemaForScope = false? Scope can be used in Couchbase Server for multi-tenancy. In which case, you'd likely want to reserve scopes to correspond to tenants.

Indexes to Indexes - Indexes designed for relational access may not always be optimal for Couchbase access. However, Indexes will be created that are roughly equivalent.


SQL Server: CREATE INDEX [AK_Person_rowguid] ON [Person].[Person] ([rowguid])


Couchbase: CREATE INDEX sql_AK_Person_rowguid ON Person_Person(rowguid)

Before using these indexes blindly, I strongly recommend trying your query in Couchbase Server Query Workbench to see if there's a better way to write it and/or to see if Couchbase advises creating a different index.

Rows to documents - As with indexes, the translation here is going to be literal. But to truly maximize Couchbase data, you may want to (eventually) consolidate the "translated" documents. (e.g. consolidate Invoice row with PK 123 and corresponding InvoiceItems rows into a single Invoice document with key 123).


Starting with a dbo.Person Schema/Table in SQL Server: Id | Name | ShoeSize --- | --- | --- 55 | Matt D | 14 77 | Emma R | 6

Those rows of data will be created in the _default.Person Scope/Collection in Couchbase:

key: 55
{ Id: 55, Name: 'Matt D', ShoeSize: 14}

key: 77
{ Id: 77, Name: 'Emma R', ShoeSize: 6}

Notice that Id remains intact in the document body. This is to ease the transition, but in the long run it may not be a good idea to keep this "duplicated" data that's already in the document key.

If the primary key in the SQL Server table is a compound key, the values will be combined into a single document key in Couchbase, separated by "::".


Key1Id Key2Id Name
55 14 Matt D
77 6 Emma R

The documentss for the equivalent data in Couchbase will be:

key: 55::14
{ Key1Id: 55, Key2Id: 14, Name: 'Matt D' }

key: 77::6
{ Key1Id: 77, Key2Id: 6, Name: 'Emma R' }

Also note that most data in SQL Server translates to JSON in a relatively straightforward way. You may want to pay special attention to dates and SQL Server specific types (like geometry). Again, a best effort translation is made. Improvements or suggestions are welcome :)

Users to users

SQL Server has multiple kinds of users. This program will look at all users in sysusers that have DB access and create a user in Couchbase by the same name.

It will also give this user roughly the same permissions:

SQL Server Permission Couchbase Permission(s)
SELECT Query Select, Data Reader
INSERT Query Insert, Data Writer
UPDATE Query Update, Data Writer
DELETE Query Delete, Data Writer

If the user doesn't have any specific permissions, it will give that user Bucket Admin access (which gives the user unlimited access to all features of the bucket).

For complex auth scenarios, users are an area that require a manual audit; user migration is definitely intended as a learning tool only.

Filters/Transform Pipelines

By default, all data is copied over as is from SQL Server to Couchbase.

You can add "pipelines" to your migration if you want to filter and/or transform data that's being copied over.

Filter: Logic to decide whether or not to include a given piece of data. E.g. "only copy a row of data if 'createDate' is later than '2020-08-18'".

Transform: How to change data as its being copied. E.g. "when copying a row of data, change the state value from the 2-letter abbreviation 'OH' to the full state name 'Ohio'"

To create a filter and/or transform, create a class that inherits from SqlPipelineBase. You can override one or more of the methods to add filtering/transforming behavior:

  • Query: The query that will pull the data from SQL Server. By default, this is SELECT * FROM [SchemaName].[TableName], but you can override it. By using a query with more specificity than SELECT *, you can transform the data. By using a query with WHERE, you can filter the data.

  • IsIncluded: When overriding this method for filtering, you can supply logic that returns true to include the data, or false to exclude the data.

  • Transform: When overriding this method for transforming, you can supply logic that transforms the given piece of data and return whatever you'd like.

Once you've created your class, instatiate it and associate it with a schema+table. See SamplePipelines.cs for some examples of pipeline classes. Create a SqlPipelines object and add your filters to it. Then give that pipelines object to the Migrate method.

var pipelines = new SqlPipelines();
pipelines.Add(new ModifiedDateSqlFilter(new DateTime(2014, 05, 27), "Person", "Address"));

// ... snip ...

await convert.MigrateAsync(copyData: true, pipelines: pipelines);

You may only add one filter/transform object per SQL Server table.

Why override IsIncluded or Transform instead of overriding Query? Isn't changing the query going to be more efficient? Yes, giving a custom SQL query is going to be the most efficient way to filter/transform. However, if you have complex logic better expressed in C# and/or have need to call out to services that SQL Server doesn't have access to, you can use these functions instead.


After the data is copied over, you can run one or more denormalizations. The SqlToCbConfig object you use has a DenormalizeMaps property. Denormalization definitions are applied in order to the documents. So if you want to denormalize at multiple levels, make sure that the farthest branches of denormalization run first. The documents will be then cascaded up to the root.

Two denormalization objects that are built-in are ManyToOneDenormalizer and OneToOneDenormalizer. (You can define your own normalizer by implementing IDenormalizer).


A many-to-one denormalizer means that you will be embedding documents in one collection into their corresponding "parent" documents, using their foreign key values. (Couchbase does not support foreign key constraints, but all the values needed are present in the converted documents).

For example, if you have a ShoppingCart collection and a ShoppingCartItems collection, you can use ManyToOneDenormalizer to embed all the ShoppingCartItems documents into their "parent" ShoppingCart documents.

This object contains two properties: From and To.

From defines the "child" data: SchemaName, TableName, and ForeignKeyNames.

To defined the "parent" data: SchemaName and TableName.

After embeddeding, the embedded values will live in an array with a pluralized version of the table name.

For instance, a shopping cart example:

From.SchemaName = "Shopping"
From.TableName = "ShoppingCartItems"
From.PrimaryKeyNames = [ "ShoppingCartId" ]

To.SchemaName = "Shopping"
To.TableName = "ShoppingCart"

The end result will be documents in the ShoppingCart collection like:

    "ShoppingCartId" : 123,
    "CartCreatedDt" : "2021-07-15",
    "ShoppingCartItems" : [
        { "ShoppingCartId" : 123, "Desc" : "Widget", "Qty" : 1, "Price" : 9.99 },
        { "ShoppingCartId" : 123, "Desc" : "Doohickey", "Qty" : 3, "Price" : 0.99 },

Notice the vestigial ShoppingCartId field in the array of nested objects.

The documents in the ShoppingCartItems collection ALSO remain as vestigial data, though it can be easily removed with the Couchbase SDK directly if you want.


A one-to-one denormalizer means you will be embedding a document from one collection into a document in another collection by using the foreign key value from one document. (Couchbase does not support foreign key constraints, but all the values needed are present in the converted documents).

For example, if you have a document in a Person collection with a PhoneNumberId field which corresponds to a document in the PhoneNumber document, the PhoneNumber document will be embedded into the "parent" document.

This object contains two properties: From and To.

From defines the "child" data: SchemaName and TableName.

To defined the "parent" data, and some optional transforms: SchemaName, TableName, RemoveForeignKey, Unnest, UnnestSeparator, ForeignKeyNames

For instance, the phone number example:

From.SchemaName = "Person"
From.TableName = "PhoneNumber"

To.SchemaName = "Person"
To.TableName = "Person"
To.ForeignKeyNames = [ "HomePhoneNumberId" ]
To.RemoveForeignKey = false
To.Unnest = false
To.UnnestSeparator = "_"

The end result will be documents in the Person collection like:

    "PersonId" : 123,
    "Name" : "Matt",
    "PhoneNumberId" : 456,
    "PhoneNumber" : {
        "PhoneNumberId" : 456,
        "Number" : "111-222-3333"

Notice the vestigial PhoneNumberId field: if you set RemoveForeignKey to true, this will be automatically removed.

Notice that PhoneNumber is a nested object: if you set Unnest to true, all the fields will be nested up one level. The field names will be prepended with the old table name and whatever unnest seperator you define.

Known limitations:

  • SQL Server views are not translated at all. Couchbase M/R Views are roughly equivalent.

  • SQL Server stored procedures (sprocs) and UDFs are not translated at all. Couchbase UDFs are roughly equivalent.

  • SQL Server triggers are not translated at all. Couchbase Eventing is the closest equivalent.

  • Collection names in Couchbase are limited to 30 characters. So if a table name (or schema+table name depending on your config) is longer than 30 characters, you'll need to provider a mapping in Config::TableNameToCollectionMapping

  • HierarchyId data type - this SQL Server specific data type can possibly be translated to JSON, but for now it doesn't translate to anything meaningful

  • Temporal tables - Currently the "Archive" tables are not being copied over, only the snapshots. Temporal data capabilities are not built into Couchbase, they would need to be added with a combination of client code and/or Couchbase Eventing.

  • Denormalization: if you run denormalization on the data multiple times, it will likely result in duplicates. You should rerun the data copy BEFORE denormalization every time.


Library to automatically best effort move data from SQL Server to Couchbase




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