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Microsoft Kills Its Oracle Data Provider for ADO.NET

In a significant move for those who develop .NET applications targeting Oracle databases, Microsoft is removing the Oracle data provider from its ADO.NET roadmap.

Microsoft said this week it decided discontinue its System.Data.OracleClient because a significant percentage of its MVPs tend to use alternative third-party offerings. Himanshu Vasishth, the company's program manager for the ADO.NET OracleClient, made the announcement in a posting on the ADO.NET team blog.

Microsoft will still make System.Data.OracleClient available in .NET Framework 4, but it will be labeled as "deprecated," according to Vasishth. "This will have no impact to existing applications and these applications will continue to work as expected," Vasishth noted.

"Developing new applications which use OracleClient will be supported; however, warnings will be raised if the applications are compiled against .NET 4. Once compiled, no warnings or errors will be generated while running these applications. We strongly recommend customers to use our partners' ADO.NET Provider for Oracle instead of continuing to use Microsoft's OracleClient for new application development," he wrote.

Among those who offer such providers are DataDirect Technologies and Devart (formerly known as Core Lab). In addition, Oracle's provider, called Oracle Data Provider for .NET (ODP.NET), is a popular and viable option, said Andrew Brust, chief of new technology at twentysix New York.

"Oracle's own support for ADO.NET and Visual Studio itself has been generally quite good," Brust said in an e-mail interview. "There is a dedicated .NET team at Oracle, and they are good at what they do and quite apolitical."

Microsoft MVP Benjamin Day of Benjamin Day Consulting Inc. said Microsoft's decision makes sense. "Why should Microsoft bend over backwards to support connections to a competitor's database, especially if they have market research data points that say Microsoft customers lean toward Oracle's implementation rather than Microsoft's implementation?" Day said in an e-mail.

This also frees Microsoft from having to support .NET-to-Oracle versioning or performance issues, Day added.

Microsoft will continue to offer bug fixes and other critical updates in line with its support policy for the .NET Framework 4, according to Vasishth.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is executive editor, features, for Redmond Developer News. You can contact him at jschwartz@reddevnews.com.

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