How to connect Microsoft sql Server with SharePoint

This "how-to-connect" documentation will explain the initial configuration of an example connection from Microsoft Server to a SharePoint Online List in Office 365. We will be synchronizing data stored in a SQL Table.


This guide presupposes that you have installed the Layer2 Cloud Connector and that you are familiar with its basic functionality. The Layer2 Cloud Connector User Documentation will provide you with all necessary information.



1. Configuring Microsoft SQL Server

2. Configuring the Layer2 Cloud Connector

2.1 Creating a new connection

2.2 Configuring the Data Entity 1

2.3 Configuring the Data Entity 2

2.4 Running your connection

3. Hints and known issues

3.1 Connection direction

3.2 SharePoint view threshold

1. Configuring Microsoft SQL Server

You can make use of any connection strings for SQL Server as usual, e.g.:
    Data Source=myServer; User Id=myUser; Password=myPassword.


You will find more information about the connection string here SQL Server connection strings.


In case of integrated authentication (trusted connection) please make sure that the Layer2 Cloud Connector Backend Service(on Windows Services) has appropriate database access rights. It is recommended to use basic authentication with a specific SQL User.


You can make use of all SQL queries your data provider supports. You can also use stored procedures to return records, exec myStoredProcedure().


You can make use of aliases in the query to force auto-mapping in Layer2 the Cloud Connector, e.g. select customername as title, to auto-map to a SharePoint title column.


The primary key is normally set automatically.


2. Configuring the Layer2 Cloud Connector

2.1. Creating a new connection

Create a new connection by using the Create New Connection option in the Actions pane (right-hand side). The new connection will appear at the bottom of the Connection Manager List (left-hand side). Click on your newly created connection to open the connection configuration settings.


Choose a meaningful name for your connection and replace the current "New Connection" Connection Title with it.


Connections to SQL Server can be bi-directional. An initial connection should always be uni-directional to assure that both data entities are identical before switching to bi-directional. Therefore, choose Left to Right as Direction. You can change this setting after your initial synchronization finished successfully.




2.2. Configuring the Data Entity 1

We will now set up our Data Entities. Go to the data entity “Data Entity 1” to open the configuration settings.


Choose a Data Entity Title. It is recommended to give your entities meaningful names to maintain an overview when you decide to set up multiple connections.


Select the Data Provider for SQL Server from the data provider list. You can search for SQL Server by typing into the selection box.




For the Connection String, we need the information mentioned in step 1. You can copy the connection string below and adjust it to match your SQL server information. Use the Verify Connection String option to evaluate if the provided connection string is valid.



Data Source=mySQLServerName;Initial Catalog=mySQLDatabase;Trusted_Connection=True;


  • "Trusted_Connection=True;" A trusted connection is the same as using Windows Authentication in SQL Server. Authentication is done by the domain, and authorization is handled by SQL Server.



The Select Statement text box is used to define specific data queries from our SQL table. In this case we will be getting all records from our SQL table. Save your changes by using the right-hand pane option Save Changes.




To check if all necessary columns are received, you can use the Preview Data option on the right-hand pane which will provide you with a pop-up window showing the records from your SQL Server table.




2.3. Configuring the Data Entity 2

We are going to send the data to a custom SharePoint Online List. It's required that you set up this list prior to the next steps. Your list should contain matching column types according to your source entity.


Use the left-hand pane to switch to the data entity "Data Entity 2". We will be using the Layer2 SharePoint Provider for this setup. 


For more information about the SharePoint provider visit:


You can copy the below Connection String which contains the minimum of required properties to connect to your custom SharePoint Online List.




  • "URL=https://your_sharepoint_list_url/Forms/AllItems.aspx;" this property defines the URL of your SharePoint list that will be addressed.
  • "Authentication=Microsoft_Modern;" this property will determine the authentication method used. The Microsoft_Modern authentication method connects to your SharePoint online tenant using the Microsoft ADAL auth method. This method will not work in case of federation, e.g. ADFS. For further authentication method you can consult the provider specifications linked above.


Click on Refresh Authentication Token, and enter your Office 365 User email and Password on the Microsoft authentication pop-up. Save your changes by using the right-hand pane option Save Changes.




In the next step, we will configure our mapping settings. Click on the Mappings option on the left-hand pane. If your fields from SharePoint are named identical to the fields from your source system, the Enable Auto Mapping option will match those columns. Disabling this option allows you to match your columns as needed. We enabled auto-mapping in our setup. Save your changes by using the right-hand pane option Save Changes.





2.4. Running your connection

To run your connection switch back to the main connection configuration node and use the Run Now Button located on the bottom of the setup page. The Run Synchronization Toolbox will also display the synchronization process. 




Below is a data preview of the records in our SQL table source entity:




This will be the result in our SharePoint Online List after our initial successful synchronization:




If you want to use a bi-directional syncronization, you can switch your connection direction after the initial synchronization finished successfully. After adjusting the direction, you should check your Mappings settings again because some systems might include read-only columns that cannot be mapped directly.


We also recommend to choose a Conflict Resolution that matches your enviroments needs. You can find out more about the different conflict resolutions in our Layer2 Cloud Connector User Documentation.


3. Hints and known issues

Blobs, binary fields such as used to store images or documents in database tables are not supported by the data provider.


Complex SharePoint fields like lookups, user or group picker etc. are generally supported. You have to make sure providing values that fit into the fields. If not possible, you can workaround by synchronizing text fields only and add your business logic using triggers and stored procedures (in SQL) or workflows (in SharePoint).



3.1. Connection direction

Bi-directional synchronization is generally supported. Your query must be updatable for this (note that most joins are not). You also need to have write access rights to SQL for two-way sync.



3.2 SharePoint list view threshold

Note about the SharePoint list view threshold (above 5.000). This is not an issue for the sync - but could be an issue for some SharePoint features and apps. Users will still be able to page through a list, use search to find specific records. There can be issues with using specific views, filters, grouping etc. See Microsoft documentation for more details.



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