Custom Table Provider

Like other areas of DataFusion, you extend DataFusion’s functionality by implementing a trait. The TableProvider and associated traits, have methods that allow you to implement a custom table provider, i.e. use DataFusion’s other functionality with your custom data source.

This section will also touch on how to have DataFusion use the new TableProvider implementation.

Table Provider and Scan

The scan method on the TableProvider is likely its most important. It returns an ExecutionPlan that DataFusion will use to read the actual data during execution of the query.


As mentioned, scan returns an execution plan, and in particular a Result<Arc<dyn ExecutionPlan>>. The core of this is returning something that can be dynamically dispatched to an ExecutionPlan. And as per the general DataFusion idea, we’ll need to implement it.

Execution Plan

The ExecutionPlan trait at its core is a way to get a stream of batches. The aptly-named execute method returns a Result<SendableRecordBatchStream>, which should be a stream of RecordBatches that can be sent across threads, and has a schema that matches the data to be contained in those batches.

There are many different types of SendableRecordBatchStream implemented in DataFusion – you can use a pre existing one, such as MemoryStream (if your RecordBatches are all in memory) or implement your own custom logic, depending on your usecase.

Looking at the example in this repo, the execute method:

struct CustomExec {
    db: CustomDataSource,
    projected_schema: SchemaRef,

impl ExecutionPlan for CustomExec {
    fn name(&self) {

    fn execute(
        _partition: usize,
        _context: Arc<TaskContext>,
    ) -> Result<SendableRecordBatchStream> {
        let users: Vec<User> = {
            let db = self.db.inner.lock().unwrap();

        let mut id_array = UInt8Builder::with_capacity(users.len());
        let mut account_array = UInt64Builder::with_capacity(users.len());

        for user in users {



  1. Gets the users from the database

  2. Constructs the individual output arrays (columns)

  3. Returns a MemoryStream of a single RecordBatch with the arrays

I.e. returns the “physical” data. For other examples, refer to the CsvExec and ParquetExec for more complex implementations.

With the ExecutionPlan implemented, we can now implement the scan method of the TableProvider.

Scan Revisited

The scan method of the TableProvider returns a Result<Arc<dyn ExecutionPlan>>. We can use the Arc to return a reference-counted pointer to the ExecutionPlan we implemented. In the example, this is done by:

impl CustomDataSource {
    pub(crate) async fn create_physical_plan(
        projections: Option<&Vec<usize>>,
        schema: SchemaRef,
    ) -> Result<Arc<dyn ExecutionPlan>> {
        Ok(Arc::new(CustomExec::new(projections, schema, self.clone())))

impl TableProvider for CustomDataSource {
    async fn scan(
        _state: &SessionState,
        projection: Option<&Vec<usize>>,
        // filters and limit can be used here to inject some push-down operations if needed
        _filters: &[Expr],
        _limit: Option<usize>,
    ) -> Result<Arc<dyn ExecutionPlan>> {
        return self.create_physical_plan(projection, self.schema()).await;

With this, and the implementation of the omitted methods, we can now use the CustomDataSource as a TableProvider in DataFusion.

Additional TableProvider Methods

scan has no default implementation, so it needed to be written. There are other methods on the TableProvider that have default implementations, but can be overridden if needed to provide additional functionality.


The supports_filters_pushdown method can be overridden to indicate which filter expressions support being pushed down to the data source and within that the specificity of the pushdown.

This returns a Vec of TableProviderFilterPushDown enums where each enum represents a filter that can be pushed down. The TableProviderFilterPushDown enum has three variants:

  • TableProviderFilterPushDown::Unsupported - the filter cannot be pushed down

  • TableProviderFilterPushDown::Exact - the filter can be pushed down and the data source can guarantee that the filter will be applied completely to all rows. This is the highest performance option.

  • TableProviderFilterPushDown::Inexact - the filter can be pushed down, but the data source cannot guarantee that the filter will be applied to all rows. DataFusion will apply Inexact filters again after the scan to ensure correctness.

For filters that can be pushed down, they’ll be passed to the scan method as the filters parameter and they can be made use of there.

Using the Custom Table Provider

In order to use the custom table provider, we need to register it with DataFusion. This is done by creating a TableProvider and registering it with the SessionContext.

let mut ctx = SessionContext::new();

let custom_table_provider = CustomDataSource::new();
ctx.register_table("custom_table", Arc::new(custom_table_provider));

This will allow you to use the custom table provider in DataFusion. For example, you could use it in a SQL query to get a DataFrame.

let df = ctx.sql("SELECT id, bank_account FROM custom_table")?;


To recap, in order to implement a custom table provider, you need to:

  1. Implement the TableProvider trait

  2. Implement the ExecutionPlan trait

  3. Register the TableProvider with the SessionContext

Next Steps

As mentioned the csv and parquet implementations are good examples of how to implement a TableProvider. The example in this repo is a good example of how to implement a TableProvider that uses a custom data source.

More abstractly, see the following traits for more information on how to implement a custom TableProvider for a file format:

  • FileOpener - a trait for opening a file and inferring the schema

  • FileFormat - a trait for reading a file format

  • ListingTableProvider - a useful trait for implementing a TableProvider that lists files in a directory