At the beginning of February I started an exploratory project to check if Apache Zeppelin could be easily extended in order to interact with Sql Server and SQL Azure. In the last week I’ve been able to have everything up an running. Given that I’ve never used Java, JDBC and Linux since the nineties when I was at university, I’m quite pleased of what I achieved (in just a dozen of hours of no sleep). Here’s Zeppelin running a notebook connected to SQL Azure.
If you want to test it too, you just have to get it source code from the fork I’ve created here on GitHub, and follow the documentation in order to build it. I’ve just run through the tutorial I’ve put up, and in 15 minutes (max) from when you have logged in in your Ubuntu 15.10 installation, you should be able to have a running instance of Zeppelin with the SQL Server interpreter.
Here’s the document that describes everything you need to do:
Now, you may be wondering, why you should be interested in Zeppelin at all? Well, if you’re into Data Science you already know how important is the ability to interactively explore data. And with SQL Server 2016 able to run R code natively, the ability to do some interactive exploratory task is even more important. For yourself and for the business user you will work with. With Zeppelin (just like with Jupyter) creating an interactive query is as simple as that:
But even if you aren’t into Data Science, Apache Zeppelin is really useful because I really think that the lack of a nice online environment to query SQL Azure is quite annoying. I love SQL Server Management Studio, but sometimes I just need to write a quick-and-dirty query to see if everything in going in the right way or, even better, I’d like to create a (maybe not so) simple dashboard with data stored in SQL Azure or SQL Data Warehouse. And maybe I don’t have my laptop with me, and all I have is a browser.
Well, Apache Zeppelin is just perfect for all these needs and it is actually much more than that. It’s future looks very promising, so having it also on the Microsoft Data Platform is will make our beloved SQL Server / SQL Azure / SQL Data Warehouse / Azure Data Lake even more enjoyable.
Right now this version is a sort of on Alpha version and it works only on SQL Server and SQL Azure (I haven’t tested yet on Azure Data Warehouse but should work). It “just works” since, as said at the beginning, this was more and experiment than anything else. Now that I know it is feasible, I’ll rewrite the SQL Server support for Zeppelin (called “interpreter”) from scratch, since for this attempt I’ve started from the postgresql interpreter and as a result the code is not so good (it’s more a patchwork of “let’s try if this works” things)…even if it does the job. So if you download the source and take a look a the code…just keep this in mind, please :-).
Enjoy it and, as usual, feedbacks are more than welcome. (And help, of course!)
Support to Azure Data Lake is not yet there. It will come ASAP, but don’t know when yet. :-)