Article ID: 110093 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q110093
Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) is Microsoft's strategic interface for accessing data in a heterogeneous environment of relational and non- relational database management systems. Based on the Call Level Interface specification of the SQL Access Group, ODBC provides an open, vendor- neutral way of accessing data stored in a variety of proprietary personal computer, minicomputer, and mainframe databases.
ODBC alleviates the need for independent software vendors and corporate developers to learn multiple application programming interfaces. ODBC now provides a universal data access interface. With ODBC, application developers can allow an application to concurrently access, view, and modify data from multiple, diverse databases.
ODBC is a core component of Microsoft Windows Open Services Architecture. Apple has endorsed ODBC as a key enabling technology by announcing support into System 7 in the future. With growing industry support, ODBC is quickly emerging as an important industry standard for data access for both Windows and Macintosh applications.
ODBC is a specification to which developers write either:
ODBC CLIENT - an ODBC-enabled front-end (also called ODBC client) - Examples: Microsoft Access, an application created with Access, an application created with Microsoft Visual Basic, an application created with C+Win SDK+ODBC SDK, or ODBC-enabled applications from other vendors (such as Lotus).
ODBC DRIVER - an ODBC Driver for the ODBC Server. The ODBC Driver Catalog contains an extensive listing of ODBC Drivers. For example, the Microsoft ODBC Driver Pack is a collection of seven ODBC Drivers ready to be used or bundled with ODBC clients. A SQL Server ODBC Driver is included with Access, and Informix is working on an ODBC driver for Informix. To obtain an ODBC Driver Catalog, call the Microsoft Order Desk at (800) 360-7561. If you are outside the United States, contact your local subsidiary. To locate your subsidiary, see the Microsoft World Wide Offices Web site at:
http://www.microsoft.com/worldwide/Any ODBC client can access any DBMS for which there is an ODBC Driver. DBMS SERVER is a back-end or server DBMS, for example SQL Server, Oracle, AS/400, Foxpro, Microsoft Access, or any DBMS for which an ODBC driver exists.
How do these three components interact?The ODBC client uses a language or vocabulary of commands (which is referred to as "ODBC") to request data from, or to send data to, the back- end or server DBMS. However, the DBMS doesn't understand the ODBC client request until the command passes through the ODBC Driver for that specific DBMS. This ODBC driver is software that resides on the front-end. The ODBC driver translates the command into a format that the ODBC Server can understand. The ODBC Server sends the answer back to the ODBC Driver, which translates the answer into a format that the ODBC Client can understand.
What's so great about ODBC?First, application developers don't need to modify their applications to allow them to access data from several back-ends. As long as there is an ODBC Driver for a particular back-end, an ODBC-enabled front-end can access it. Second, one ODBC Driver for a particular DBMS allows any ODBC-enabled application to be an ODBC client.
Examples of ODBC in Use
Basic Questions and Answers
For more information about ODBC, please see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: 132131
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/132131/EN-US/ )ODBC Database Drivers 2.0 Supported Platforms
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/164370/EN-US/ )Word Development Tools and White Papers
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/163734/EN-US/ )Word Solution Migration Information on the Web
For more information about Informix, visit the following IBM Informix Web site:
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Article ID: 110093 - Last Review: July 2, 2010 - Revision: 2.0
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This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.