Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Death of MS SQL OLEDB Provider?

Nothing is written in stone, at least in the products of Microsoft. The hard fact is, it has to align itself with prevailing common sense and reality. This translates to listening to the feedback from the users regarding what is important for them.
Years ago Microsoft crowned OLE DB as the crown prince by overlooking the older sibling, the ODBC. Now all of a sudden OLE DB is out and ODBC is in. What caused this dramatic turnaround? You already know the answer, the Cloud Services. The author of this post among few others lamented the lack of support for OLEDB when SQL Azure surfaced. We believed sometime in the future OLE DB may be supported. But this is not to be. In a recent announcement Microsoft made its policy clear. 

The position of Microsoft vis-a-vis OLE DB and ODBC choice was explained in the forum here in the form of Q & A. Please review the linked reference. It is not that Microsoft was abandoning OLE DB technology as a whole but only abandoning SQL OLEDB Provider beyond DENALI. The most important of the reasons was that OLE DB was proprietary and Cloud Platform could run on any platform and it will be easier to have one standard data access API to work with. Choice of ODBC was therefore a no brainer.

However, there are programs that depend on OLEDB such as distributed queries (Linked Servers), SSIS, SSAS etc. and it appears Microsoft continues to support them. So if you are a Microsoft developer the loss of SQL OLEDB provider may not be that crucial, you may lose some speed as SQL OLEDB was originally touted as the fastest. Perhaps Microsoft programmers will come up with some refinements to make this alignment even appealing for hardcore SQLOLEDB guys by turbo-charging the ODBC.

In my recent download of SQL Server 11, which is the definitive finished version of Denali, I still find the linked servers node with all the OLEDB providers, but the list has certainly become shorter compared to older versions. You know what, I still see the SQL OLEDB Provider but perhaps it will be gone in the next version.

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