Microsoft halting .Net link to Oracle databases

Deferring to other makers, Microsoft will discontinue its own software providing access from Microsoft .Net applications to Oracle databases.

Specifically, the company is deprecating OracleClient, the ADO.Net provider for Oracle shipped as part of the .Net Framework. The decision was made after discussions with customers and partners, said Himanshu Vasishth, program manager for ADO.Net OracleClient at Microsoft, in a blog post this week.

“We learned that a significantly large portion of customers use our partners’ ADO.Net providers for Oracle, with regularly updated support for Oracle releases and new features. In addition, many of the third-party providers are able to consistently provide the same level of quality and support that customers have come to expect from Microsoft,” Vasishth said.

“It is our assessment that even if we made significant investments in ADO.Net OracleClient to bring it at parity with our partner-based providers, customers would not have a compelling reason to switch to ADO.Net OracleClient,” he added.

OracleClient, or, specifically, System.Data.OracleClient, will be available in the upcoming .Net Framework 4.0 release, but it will be marked as deprecated, said Vasishth. Existing applications will continue to work and new applications using OracleClient will be supported. But warnings will be raised if the applications are compiled against .Net 4.0, he said. The company thus recommends using partner ADO.Net providers.

Some comments attached to Vasishth’s blog panned the plan.

“Eighty percent of our applications are using this provider and now you told me that I have to pay for a rubbish third-party provider,” one concerned commenter said. But another person stressed, “Third party doesn’t have to mean rubbish,” and indeed could mean faster fixes and feature additions.

One vendor looking to fill the gap is DataDirect Technologies.

“If you’re seriously considering a migration from OracleClient, remember this might be an unexpected opportunity to retrofit your current or planned applications and upgrade your .Net to Oracle experience,” said Jonathan Bruce, .Net program manager at DataDirect, in a blog entry. DataDirect’s ADO.Net Entity Framework provider for Oracle now is in a public beta phase of development.

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