Get Started with Microsoft ODBC Driver for SQL Server on Linux
How to Download and Install ODBC for Linux
If you want to access different databases from a single application on Linux, you may need to use ODBC. ODBC stands for Open Database Connectivity and it is an industry-standard interface for database access. In this article, we will explain what ODBC is, why you need it, how to download and install it on Linux, how to use it, and some common issues and troubleshooting tips.
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What is ODBC and Why Do You Need It?
ODBC stands for Open Database Connectivity
ODBC is an application programming interface (API) that allows applications to communicate with various database management systems (DBMS) using SQL as the database access language. ODBC consists of four components: an application that calls ODBC functions, an ODBC driver that implements the ODBC API and communicates with a specific DBMS, a driver manager that loads and unloads drivers and passes function calls from the application to the driver, and a data source that contains the information needed to connect to a DBMS.
ODBC allows you to access different databases from a single application
With ODBC, you can write an application that can access data from different databases without having to know the details of each DBMS. For example, you can use ODBC to access data from SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, MongoDB, and many other databases. This way, you can avoid writing different code for each database and reduce the complexity and maintenance cost of your application.
ODBC has many benefits, such as interoperability, portability, and performance
Some of the benefits of using ODBC are:
Interoperability: ODBC enables applications to work with different databases across different platforms (Windows, Linux, macOS) and languages (C/C++, Java, Python, etc.).
Portability: ODBC allows applications to be easily moved from one platform or database to another without requiring major changes in the code.
Performance: ODBC drivers are optimized for specific databases and can provide fast and efficient data access.
How to Download ODBC for Linux
There are different versions and distributions of ODBC for Linux
The official Microsoft website provides various versions of the Microsoft ODBC Driver for SQL Server on Linux. The latest version is 18.2.2 as of June 2023. The previous versions are 17.10.4 (June 2022. ), 17.7.2 (June 2021), and 17.6.1 (June 2020). You can also find other distributions of ODBC for Linux, such as unixODBC, iODBC, FreeTDS, and Easysoft.
You can download ODBC for Linux from the official Microsoft website or from other sources
To download the Microsoft ODBC Driver for SQL Server on Linux, you can visit the official Microsoft website and choose the version and distribution that suits your needs. You can also download the driver from other sources, such as GitHub, Packagecloud, or your Linux distribution's repository.
You can choose between TGZ file, RPM package, or DEB package depending on your Linux distribution
The Microsoft ODBC Driver for SQL Server on Linux is available in three formats: TGZ file, RPM package, or DEB package. The TGZ file is a compressed archive that contains the driver files and can be extracted to any location on your Linux system. The RPM package is a binary package that can be installed using the rpm command on Red Hat-based distributions, such as CentOS, Fedora, or Oracle Linux. The DEB package is a binary package that can be installed using the dpkg command on Debian-based distributions, such as Ubuntu, Debian, or Linux Mint.
How to Install ODBC for Linux
You need to have a driver manager, such as iODBC or unixODBC, installed on your Linux system
A driver manager is a software component that manages the loading and unloading of ODBC drivers and passes function calls from the application to the driver. You need to have a driver manager installed on your Linux system before you can install and use the ODBC driver. The most common driver managers for Linux are iODBC and unixODBC. You can install them using your Linux distribution's package manager or by downloading them from their respective websites .
You need to verify the package signature (optional) and install the ODBC driver using the bash shell
Before you install the ODBC driver, you may want to verify the package signature to ensure its authenticity and integrity. You can do this by downloading the public key from the Microsoft website and importing it into your system's keyring. Then, you can use the gpg command to verify the signature of the downloaded package.
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To install the ODBC driver using the bash shell, you need to follow these steps:
Navigate to the directory where you downloaded the package.
If you downloaded a TGZ file, extract it using the tar command: tar xzvf msodbcsql-18.2.2.tar.gz
If you downloaded an RPM package, install it using the rpm command: sudo rpm -Uvh msodbcsql-18.2.2.x86_64.rpm
If you downloaded a DEB package, install it using the dpkg command: sudo dpkg -i msodbcsql-18.2.2.amd64.deb
Verify that the installation was successful by running the odbcinst command: odbcinst -q -d -n "ODBC Driver 18 for SQL Server"
You need to define the ODBC data sources and driver in the configuration files
After you install the ODBC driver, you need to define the ODBC data sources and driver in the configuration files. A data source is a logical name that represents a connection to a database. A driver is a software component that implements the ODBC API and communicates with a specific DBMS.
The configuration files are located in different directories depending on your Linux distribution and driver manager. For example, if you use unixODBC on Ubuntu, you can find them in /etc/odbcinst.ini (for drivers) and /etc/odbc.ini (for data sources). You can edit these files using any text editor or use command-line tools, such as odbcinst or odbc_config.
The configuration files have a similar structure: they consist of sections that start with [ and end with ], followed by key-value pairs that specify various parameters. For example, this is how you can define a data source named MyDSN in /etc/odbc.ini:
[MyDSN] Driver = ODBC Driver 18 for SQL Server Server = myserver.database.windows.net Database = mydatabase UID = myuser PWD = mypassword Encrypt = yes TrustServerCertificate = no
You can find more details and examples of the configuration files in the