Manage and work with foreign catalogs


This feature is in Public Preview.

This article describes how to manage foreign catalogs and work with data in foreign catalogs.

A foreign catalog is a securable object in Unity Catalog that mirrors a database in an external data system, enabling you to perform read-only queries on that data system in your Databricks workspace, managing access using Unity Catalog.

You work with foreign catalogs in the same way that you work with any catalog managed by Unity Catalog:

  • View information about a foreign catalog: see View catalog details.

    In addition to the information that is displayed for standard Unity Catalog catalogs, Catalog Explorer also displays the Connection used by the foreign catalog and the external database or catalog that is mirrored by the foreign catalog.

  • Run read-only queries on tables in foreign catalogs: see Query data.

    When you write queries in Databricks, you must use Apache Spark data types. For a mapping of Spark data types to your external database data types, see the article for your connection type, listed in the table of contents in the left navigation pane of this documentation site.

  • Grant read-only access to data in foreign catalogs: see Manage privileges in Unity Catalog.

To learn how to create foreign catalogs, see Create a foreign catalog.