In SSMS we are attempting to bulk insert from a csv file into a table that has a column encrypted using SQL Server 2016's Always Encrypted feature.

This is the command we're using:

    BULK 'c:\members.csv', 
    FORMATFILE = 'c:\membersEFormat.xml',
    FIRSTROW = 2
    ) m

This returns the typical error you get when attempting to insert into an encrypted column:

Msg 206, Level 16, State 2, Line 6
Operand type clash: varbinary is incompatible with varchar(50) encrypted with (encryption_type = 'DETERMINISTIC', encryption_algorithm_name = 'AEAD_AES_256_CBC_HMAC_SHA_256', column_encryption_key_name = 'CEK_Auto1', column_encryption_key_database_name = 'DATABASE') collation_name = 'Latin1_General_BIN2'

We understand that you can't insert into an encrypted column via SSMS and that you need to use a .NET 4.6.1+ client, but we'd like to know if bulk insert operations are not possible as well?

(to satisfy Windows10's request)

        SqlCommand cmd;
        SqlConnection conn;
        SqlBulkCopy copy;
        SqlDataAdapter da;
        DataTable dt;

        using (conn = new SqlConnection(ConfigurationManager.ConnectionStrings["Database"].ConnectionString))

            using (cmd = new SqlCommand("SELECT * FROM members", conn))
            using (copy = new SqlBulkCopy(conn))
            using (da = new SqlDataAdapter(cmd))
            using (dt = new DataTable())
                cmd.CommandTimeout = 600;


                cmd.CommandText = "TRUNCATE TABLE membersE";

                copy.DestinationTableName = "membersE";
  • i tried above using the datatable but i got certificate error. can you put some code like how you handle with datatable/reader? – Windows10 May 25 '17 at 18:13

Bulk Insert operations in the manner you are describing are not supported for encrypted column via SSMS.

Please refer to this (https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/sqlsecurity/2015/07/28/encrypting-existing-data-with-always-encrypted/) article to migrate your existing data to Always Encrypted

Also, please note that doing bulk inserts through a C# (.NET 4.6.1+ client) app is supported.

You can do this in c# using SqlBulkCopy specifically using SqlBulkCopy.WriteToServer(IDataReader) Method. I am assuming you are trying to load data from csv file to a table with encrypted column (say encryptedTable). I would do the following

  • Create a new table (say unencryptedTable, for security purposes, you might consider creating this table in a local sql server instance) with the same schema without any column encryption.
  • Load the csv data into unencryptedTable, using the method that you described in the question
  • Do select * from unencryptedTable to load the data in a SqlDataReader then use SqlBulkCopy to load it to the encryptedTable using SqlBulkCopy.WriteToServer(IDataReader) Method

If you have additional questions regarding this, please post questions in the comment section and I will try my best to address them :)

| improve this answer | |
  • @Vithlani - your suggestion of using an unencrypted table and then employing SQLBulkCopy to populate the encrypted table worked. I had some issues using a data reader so I substituted with a data table object.Thanks! – RoastBeast Jan 17 '17 at 17:53

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