Why use IBM Cloud SQL Query?

Combining SQL Query with data in IBM Cloud™ Object Storage helps enable you to create an active workspace for a range of big data analytics use cases.

IBM Cloud SQL Query features

Easy data exploration

IBM Cloud SQL Query uses Apache Spark, an open source, fast, extensible, in-memory data processing engine optimized for low latency, ad hoc analysis of data and has full support for large joins, window functions and arrays.

Instant querying

No ETL or schema definition needed to enable SQL queries. Analyze data where it sits in IBM Cloud Object Storage using our query editor, REST API, and integrations with IBM Watson Studio and IBM Cloud Functions.

Saves time and resources

Run as many queries as you need and with pay-per-query pricing, you only pay for the data scan. Plus, you can compress or partition your data resulting in significant cost savings and performance gains.

Highly available and durable

IBM Cloud SQL Query is highly available and executes queries using compute resources across multiple facilities. Direct reference to data stored in IBM Cloud Object Storage lets you take advantage of the scale, flexibility and data protection that it offers. IBM Cloud Object Storage provides durable infrastructure to store your data and is designed for durability of 99.999999999% of objects.


You can control access to your data by using IBM Identity and Access Management and IBM Key Protect. With IBM Identity and Access Management policies, you can grant users granular control to your IBM Cloud Object Storage buckets. You can easily query encrypted data stored in IBM Cloud Object Storage and write encrypted results back to your storage bucket. Furthermore, you can use IBM Key Protect to control the encryption key for your SQL queries to provide maximum confidentiality. This service is also HIPAA-ready for building HIPAA-compliant applications.

Supports open data formats

IBM Cloud SQL Query supports a variety of data formats such as CSV, JSON and Parquet and allows for standard ANSI SQL.

How customers use it

Big data log analysis

Build and run data pipelines and analytics of your log message data with the full power of SQL. IBM Cloud Object Storage provides seamless scalability and elasticity for cheap and durable storage.

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Diagram showing how applications move through the cloud to a requestor

Building a data lake

Store data in native formats and query instantly. No server configuration or ETL required.

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Diagram showing how different users interact with the cloud

Data pipelines

Run highly parallelized pipelines of data from IBM Cloud Object Storage to IBM Cloud Databases such as IBM Db2® Warehouse or Db2 on Cloud. Connecting your cloud database to your IBM Cloud Object Storage-based data lake can help you gain more precise control of the data quality and lifecycle at significantly lower cost.

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Diagram how SQL queries are processed before moving to analysis and stored

Database consolidation

Move on-premises databases to IBM Cloud Object Storage while consolidating license costs and retiring servers. Identify relevant data sets with SQL Query and push to open source databases.

Diagram showing the separation of data, cloud databases and users

Get started with IBM Cloud SQL Query

Get started with IBM Cloud SQL Query — serverless, interactive querying service to quickly and easily analyze data stored in IBM Cloud Object Storage.