Use Managed Database Providers

DataDirect Connect for .NET's native managed database providers for Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, and Sybase improve data-access performance, reliability, and scalability.

DataDirect Connect for .NET 2.1 supplies dedicated providers for Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, and Sybase databases to give you high-performance data access that's easy to use (see Figure 1). The providers are similar to the OLE DB and SQL Server providers that come with VS.NET, but you'll gain several benefits by moving to DataDirect Connect's providers.

Extensions to the DataDirect providers support database-specific features. For example, the Oracle provider supports a variety of connection-string properties that give you additional control over the environment. The Oracle provider also allows you to use the ROWID pseudo column and to return a rowset from a stored procedure. All the providers support tracing functions you can control through either object references or environment variables. The tracing capability can be invaluable for support.

DataDirect stresses that its providers use 100-percent managed code—that is, no code outside of the .NET Framework. This provides additional security and reliability by reducing opportunities for hacking. The DataDirect providers all support connection failover: The connection object retries on failed connect attempts and can even work through a list of servers when attempting to connect. The connection failover capability works with client-side load balancing, which instructs a connection object to select a server randomly from a list of candidates in order to spread the database workload among multiple servers. These and other capabilities can increase your application's scalability greatly.

If you use the OLE DB or SQL Server providers already, moving to DataDirect Connect's providers is simply a matter of adding a reference to your project, adding a Use statement for the new provider's namespace, and replacing the names of your OLE DB classes with the new provider names. All the OLE DB training material translates easily to the DataDirect Connect providers, and DataDirect's thorough documentation is complete with C# and VB.NET samples for all databases. The documentation does a particularly good job of showing how to translate Oracle data types into .NET data types. DataDirect's customer support staff is knowledgeable and helpful.

The only drawback with DataDirect is that you must change all your data-access class names if you change database platforms. However, this is probably a minor consideration for most applications, particularly those using a tiered architecture. You should definitely consider DataDirect Connect for complex applications with scalability and security concerns. The developer time you can save through its strong support for native database functionality and tracing can translate into significant savings.

DataDirect Connect for .NET 2.1
DataDirect Technologies
Phone: 800-876-3101; 301-468-8501
Price: Contact vendor for pricing.
Quick Facts: Replaces OLE DB providers with highly scalable and secure native providers.
Pros: Good support and performance capabilities.
Cons: Changing database platforms requires code changes.


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