Additional Data Providers
There are more data providers than just the two just covered. The beauty of the data provider system is that the interfaces required to implement a data provider are part of the .NET Framework itself. This means that any vendor that wants to create a managed wrapper around their own data source can do so quickly and easily using the established interfaces and guidelines for data access. As a result, many different providers have popped up and more are appearing every day.
The Oracle .NET Data Provider (ODP.NET)
Oracle has created its own managed provider that
exposes all the Oracle client functionality that you might expect,
as well as some extra bonuses such as the ability to use
The Microsoft .NET Data Provider for Oracle
With the release of version 1.1 of the .NET Framework, programmers are now able to reference System.Data.OracleClient.dll , Microsoft's own OCI client implemented as a managed provider for .NET. This provider gives you access to a host of features such as transactions, CLOBS, BLOBS, and many more. As mentioned earlier, it is up to you whether you choose Oracle's provider or Microsoft's provider. They are functionally quite similar, so it probably boils down to choosing the support you want: Oracle's or Microsoft's.
The .NET ODBC Data Provider
The ODBC data provider is a wrapper for the
older database connectivity standard ODBC (Object Database
Connectivity). The ODBC provider used to be an optional download,
but it is now included with the 1.1 version of the .NET Framework.
The only real guideline for using ODBC is that you should use it as
a last resort. If there is any other way to get at your data, you
should use that. If you can use OLEDB, SQL, Oracle, or even XML,
you should use one of those
The mySQL .NET Data Provider
mySQL is a popular (free) database that is used on Unix and Windows systems alike. It is an extremely powerful, fast alternative to some of the bigger commercial databases, such as Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle.
Several different managed providers allow
managed access to mySQL from the .NET Framework, including some
commercial projects and a free provider found on SourceForge. A
project on SourceForge.net, formerly referred to as ByteFX.Data,
has been merged with the mySQL project and is now the official
managed client provider for mySQL. You can find updates on this
project on the mysql.com website. You can keep up to date on the
latest news from the SourceForge.net site at