The next release of Microsoft SQL Server, codename “Denali”, will be the last release to support OLE DB. OLE DB will be supported for 7 years from launch, the life of Denali support, to allow you a large window of opportunity for changing your applications before the deprecation. This deprecation applies to the Microsoft SQL Server OLE DB provider only. Other OLE DB providers as well as the OLE DB standard will continue to be supported until explicitly announced. Read more over on the sqlnativeclient blog.
A little history:
Today there are many different ways to connect to SQL Server. What you normally require is a consumer (e.g. the ADO.NET Entity Framework) and a provider (e.g. an ADO.NET Data Provider). ADO.NET Data Providers are the most recent manifestation of providers and are the preferred way to connect to SQL Server today if your consumer is running on the Windows platform. The ADO.NET Data Provider model allows “older” providers to be consumed via modern ADO.NET clients – specifically that means ODBC and OLE DB drivers. This feature is very cool although there are now many great native ADO.NET Data Providers.
Now lets briefly recap on ODBC and OLEDB:
- ODBC emerged around 1992. It replaced the world of DB Library, ESQL for C et al and soon became a “standard”
- OLEDB appeared 4 years later in 1996 (which happens to be when I joined Microsoft)
OLE DB was created to be the successor to ODBC – expanding the supported data sources/models to include things other than relational databases. Notably OLEDB was tightly tied to a Windows only technology (COM) whilst ODBC was not (Although we did try and take COM cross platform via partners)
ODBC never did get replaced. What actually happened is that ODBC remained the dominant of the two technologies for many scenarios – and became increasingly used on none Windows platforms and has become the de-facto industry standard for native relational data access.
Therefore we find ourselves in a world where:
- A new Windows client to SQL Server/SQL Azure will most likely use the ADO.NET Data Provider for SQL Server
- A new none Windows client to SQL Server/SQL Azure will most likely use the ODBC driver for SQL Server
Notice no mention of … OLEDB.
I know many UK ISVs with older applications that do use OLEDB. Please do check out the related links below and remember this is just about the SQL Server OLEDB Provider.