SQL PolyBase setup issues

In my most recent blog post, Unified data platform and data virtualization through PolyBase: Part Two, I provided a demo of data virtualization through PolyBase.

While setting up the SQL PolyBase demo to fetch data from external sources, I faced a couple of issues. Although I fixed the issues quickly, I thought it would be good to consolidate and present them in one place so anyone having the same problems can benefit. So, let’s get started.

First issue

ERROR: You can install PolyBase on only one SQL Server instance per machine.

Figure 1 - First issue, error


This error is self-explanatory. Instances can’t share PolyBase, and more than one instance on a machine can’t have it simultaneously. In my case, I already installed SQL Polybase on another instance, so the error occurred.


I had to remove Polybase from the instance where I previously installed it. After that, I re-ran the SQL setup and selected to install the PolyBase feature for the new instance, and it went fine.

Figure 2 - First issue, resolved

Second issue

ERROR : Support for external data source of type HADOOP is not enabled. To enable, set ‘hadoop connectivity’ to desired value.

The error occurred when I created the external data source of TYPE = HADOOP.

Figure 3 - Second issue, error


The system throws this error in two cases:

  • You did not set the SQL Server parameter Hadoop_connectivity to the desired value.
  • You set the parameter correctly, but you did not restart the SQL service after setting the parameter. This step is necessary even the documentation doesn’t mention it.

You can use the following query to set the parameter value:

EXEC sp_configure @configname = 'hadoop connectivity', @configvalue = 7;

I checked for the parameter value on my instance, and I set it up correctly, as shown in the following image:

Figure 4

Though the need to restart SQL services wasn’t documented, a restart fixed the issue for me. I re-ran the Create External Data Source query in Step 3 of the PolyBase demo post, and it went fine.

Figure 5 - Second issue, resolved

Third issue

ERROR: Incorrect syntax near EXTERNAL

The error occurred when I ran the following query to create the external file format:


This error is misleading because it looks like a syntactical error. However, it occurs when you don’t enable the PolyBase feature properly.


I ran the following query to fix the issue:

EXEC sp_configure 'polybase enabled', 1;

It’s critical that you run the Reconfigure query. When you use sp_configure to change a system configuration, you must run a Reconfigure to finalize the change.


That does it for the errors I encountered in the PolyBase demo and their resolutions. Thanks for reading!

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Vashali Misra

I am a SQL Server DBA at Rackspace Technology APJ Region. My area of expertise is SQL Server, and I’m slowly and steadily gaining experience into the cloud technologies. I have 9 Years of experience with major projects like Dowjones, MarketWatch, Regeneron, etc.

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