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Author's profile photo Laura Nevin

Spotlight: SQL on Files (SAP HANA Cloud, Data Lake)

As of the QRC 02/2021 release of SAP HANA Cloud, data lake, you can query files in your data lake file container that contain structured data without ever having to load the data into a database.

What is SQL on Files?

SQL on Files is a capability of the Data Lake Files service in SAP HANA Cloud, data lake that allows you to query files that contain structured data that are sitting in your data lake file container

As of the time of this writing, SQL on Files supports the following structured file formats:

  • Optimized Row Columnar (ORC)
  • Comma-Separated Values (CSV)
  • Apache Parquet

SQL on Files is considered a bridge between the Data Lake IQ and Data Lake Files components of SAP HANA Cloud, data lake.

When and why would I use this feature?

Use SQL on Files to lower the cost of analyzing large amounts of data of unknown value that is sitting in files.

SQL on Files allows you to perform some pre-exploration and data filtering on the data before moving aggregations of it, or all of it, into a database such as Data Lake, IQ, NSE disk storage, or SAP HANA Cloud, HANA database. You can even create views on the data.

You can also use SQL on Files in cases where you just want to keep the data in files so that other tools such as Apache Spark can access it.

How do I access this feature?

While SQL on Files is enabled by default in your SAP HANA Cloud, data lake instance, there are a few things you need to do before you can start using it.

  1. Follow the steps in this video, Data Lake Files and SQL on Files, to see how to configure your file container, set up authentication, and create a SQL on Files user in your SAP HANA Cloud, data lake instance.
  2. Add files to your file container using the steps found here: Adding Files to a File Container.
  3. Visit this topic to find the workflow you follow depending on your SAP HANA Cloud, data lake configuration (stand-alone vs. HANA DB-managed): Use SQL on Files.
  4. Query data in the files you added to the container using the steps found here: Queries Using SQL on Files.

Where can I find more information?


~ Happy squealing on files! ~


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      Author's profile photo Ina Felsheim
      Ina Felsheim

      Be sure to check out for details on SAP HANA Cloud, data lake.

      Author's profile photo Laura Nevin
      Laura Nevin
      Blog Post Author

      Great link, Ina; thank-you. I've also added it to the list of helpful resources in the post as well!

      Author's profile photo Kapil Pokharna
      Kapil Pokharna

      Can we use this feature to directly do SQL queries on files sitting in S3  / Azure Data Lake ?

      Author's profile photo Laura Nevin
      Laura Nevin
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Kapil, thanks for commenting.

      Yes, Data lake Files uses the concept of a Files container, which is an SAP-managed object store on your hyperscaler (Azure, AWS S3, Google Cloud Storage). You don’t have to create the Files container, the data lake provisioning process automatically does (did) that for you. You then use the SQL on Files feature to query files in the Files container.  These two topics should get you started: Understanding Data Lake Files, and Understanding SQL on Files.

      Hope this is helpful.

      Author's profile photo Zili Zhou
      Zili Zhou

      Hi Kapil,

      I understand is no. So far what I see the file container is on something together data lake. I do not see an option from data lake you connect to S3 or Azure DL directly.

      AWS has its own SQL on file function in Athena. You could connect then connect Athena to HANA Cloud or DWC use those files as remote table.


      best regards