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External models

Models may reference "external" tables that have been created outside SQLMesh. These external tables are captured in SQLMesh as models with a unique "external" kind. Each external model retains metadata about a table it represents.

This metadata allows SQLMesh to provide column-level lineage and data type information for models that reference external tables.

Generating external models schema

External models are defined in the schema.yaml file in the SQLMesh project's root folder.

You can create this file by either (i) allowing SQLMesh to fetch information about external tables with the create_external_models CLI command or (ii) writing the YAML by hand.

Consider this example model that queries an external table external_db.external_table:

  name my_db.my_table,
  kind FULL


The following sections demonstrate how to create an external model containing metadata about external_db.external_table, which contains columns column_a and column_b.

Using CLI

Instead of creating the schema.yaml file manually, SQLMesh can generate it for you. The create_external_models CLI command does exactly this.

The command locates all external tables referenced in your SQLMesh project, fetches their schemas (column names and types), and then stores them in the schema.yaml file.

Writing YAML by hand

The following example demonstrates a typical content of the schema.yaml file:

- name: external_db.external_table
  description: An external table
    column_a: int
    column_b: text
- name: external_db.some_other_external_table
  description: Another external table
    column_c: bool
    column_d: float

All the external models in a SQLMesh project are stored in a single schema.yaml file.