Microsoft's replacement for ODBC, called OLE-DB, has been embraced by every major database software maker except Oracle, the company announced this week. Oracle has refused to endorse the Microsoft technology, though it will unofficially supply OLE-DB tools for its database servers. Oracle says that OLE-DB is too generic to support the important features in its own database servers.
OLE-DB is designed to offer a single API for accessing multiple data types, regardless of their origin. The original ODBC specification provided this type of functionality for relational databases, but OLE-DB extends that to support other data types such as spreadsheets, email, and word processing documents. Additionally, OLE-DB is built on a COM base, making it firmly Microsoft-centric. The first interface for OLE-DB was an ODBC-compatibility layer.
Oracle issued a statement explaining its refusal to embrace OLE-DB.
"Microsoft’s strategy with regard to OLE DB ensures that Microsoft’s tools, by using OLE DB to access the database, will never be best of breed for taking advantage of advanced database features and applications. In addition OLE DB will always be slower than a native interface because it provides an additional layer on top of the database which is never equal to accessing the database directly. Finally, it will lock users into the Windows environment."
Microsoft seemed unsurpassed by Oracle's decision.
"Oracle is focused on connectivity to Oracle databases. We are focused on connectivity to a broad spectrum of databases," said David Lazar, another product manager at Microsoft. "As a database and tools vendor, they feel they have an end-to-end solution."
IBM, Sybase, Informix Software, Computer Associates, Intersolv, Tandem, and Object Design have all endorsed OLE-DB and are supplying OLE-DB interfaces to their products to developers