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 Oracle ODBC Gateway Tips

Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonMarch 14, 2015

Question:  I want to connect SQL server to Oracle using the Oracle ODBC gateway.  What are the general steps to use the ODBC gateway to SQL Server from Oracle?

Answer:  Connecting Oracle to SQL Server using the ODBC gateway to very easy and straightforward and the following steps for the integration of MS SQL Server and Oracle:

1. Define a Data Source Name (DSN) for SQL Server

2. Create a Heterogeneous Services Initialization File

3. Alter your listener.ora file

4. Alter your tnsnames.ora file

5. Start the new Listener

6. Validate the connection to your DSN

7. Create a Database Link within Your Oracle Database

8. Select some data

This article on using ODBC gateway with Oracle may be helpful, and there is also these examples of linking Oracle to SQL Server:

ODBC and Network Performance

The Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) product was initially developed by Microsoft as a generic database driver. Its architecture has now been generalized and many different vendors are offering open database connectivity products that are based on ODBC. ODBC consists of more than 50 functions that are invoked from an application using a call-level API. The ODBC API does not communicate with a database directly. Instead, it serves as a link between the application and a generic interface routine. The interface routine, in turn, communicates with the database drivers via a Service Provider Interface (SPI).

ODBC has become popular with database vendors such as Oracle, and Oracle is creating new ODBC drivers that will allow ODBC to be used as a gateway into their database products. Essentially, ODBC serves as the "traffic cop" for all data within the client/server system. When a client requests a service from a database, ODBC receives the request and manages the connection to the target database. ODBC manages all of the database drivers, checking all of the status information as it arrives from the database drivers.

It is noteworthy that the database drivers should be able to handle more than just SQL. Many databases have a native API that requires ODBC to map the request into a library of functions. An example would be a SQL Server driver that maps ODBC functions to database library function calls. Databases without a native API (i.e., non-SQL databases) can also be used with ODBC, but they go through a much greater transformation than the native API calls.

Database connectivity using ODBC has a high amount of overhead in many Oracle applications. The inherent flexibility of ODBC means that the connection process to Oracle is not as efficient as a native API call to the database. Most companies that experience ODBC-related performance problems will abandon ODBC and replace it with a native communications tool such as the Oracle Call Interface (OCI). In sum, ODBC is great for ad hoc database queries from MS Windows, but it is too slow for most production applications.

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Note: This Oracle documentation was created as a support and Oracle training reference for use by our DBA performance tuning consulting professionals.  Feel free to ask questions on our Oracle forum.

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