Easysoft Release ODBC-ODBC Bridge for Windows 10

As we have just released our ODBC-ODBC Bridge for the Windows 10 platform, we thought we'd take this opportunity to write a blog about the product to describe what you'd use it for.

The majority of our products are "single tier" ODBC drivers, which connect an application to a particular database. For example, our SQL Server ODBC driver connects an application to a SQL Server database. The ODBC driver is called single tier because it communicates directly with the database.

The ODBC-ODBC Bridge, however, is a multiple tier ODBC driver with both a client and a server component. The ODBC-ODBC Bridge sits in between the application and (third party) ODBC driver, passing on ODBC API calls made by the application. The ODBC-ODBC Bridge client is the ODBC driver for the application. The ODBC-ODBC Bridge server acts as the application to the target ODBC driver.

So why would you need to introduce this extra data connectivity layer?

The ODBC-ODBC Bridge provides a cross platform / cross architecture mechanism for an application to work with an ODBC driver. Initially, this was used as a solution for customers who needed to use an ODBC driver that was not available on their application's platform. For example, the customer's application ran on Linux, but the target ODBC driver was only available on Windows.

More recently, the most common use for the ODBC-ODBC Bridge is when a customer is using a 64-bit application, but their ODBC driver is 32-bit only (or vice versa). An ODBC driver is a library, and the architecture of an application and the libraries it uses must be the same. Typically, users are first made aware of this requirement when their attempt to connect to a database fails with the error "The specified DSN contains an architecture mismatch between the Driver and Application". This is an error generated by the ODBC Driver Manager included with Windows, and with the new release of the ODBC-ODBC Bridge, this is a problem that can now be solved with on Windows 10. (The ODBC-ODBC Bridge is also available on earlier versions of Windows, starting with Windows 2000.)

On Windows, the ODBC-ODBC Bridge includes both a 64-bit and a 32-bit pair of clients and servers. The 64-bit client provides a 64-bit ODBC driver to the application. The 32-bit server provides a 32-bit application for the 32-bit ODBC driver. The client and server can coexist on the same Windows machine and communicate by using an architecture neutral mechanism, which means it does not matter to the ODBC-ODBC Bridge whether the client is talking to a 32-bit or a 64-bit server.

To take a common example, you want to connect a 64-bit application to a MDB format Access database, but the ODBC driver for your database is 32-bit. You would install the Windows version of the ODBC-ODBC Bridge on your machine, and would accept the default installation option of installing both the client and server. Finally, you would configure a 64-bit ODBC-ODBC Bridge client data source in ODBC Administrator that pointed to your 32-bit Access data source. Your 64-bit application could then connect to the 32-bit ODBC driver, totally unaware of the middleware that was facilitating this integration.

(Similarly, a 32-bit ODBC-ODBC Bridge client can talk to a 64-bit server, if your situation is opposite to the one illustrated by the previous example.)