Database Vendors Discuss the Entity Framework and LINQ at TechEd

Last Friday at TechEd in Orlando I was joined by a core set of database vendors and provider writers in a chalk talk focused on plugging 3rd party databases into the ADO.NET Entity Framework and LINQ.  After a brief overview of the provider architecture, including extensions ADO.NET Data Providers need to implement into order to plug into the framework, each of the vendors got 5-10 minutes to discuss their experiences working with the framework.  Jonathan Bruce from DataDirect Technologies highlighted the broad reach provided by their DataDirect Connect for ADO.NET, including access to Oracle, DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, and Sybase.  Bill Hillis from Sybase talked about the two different “ProviderFests” Microsoft hosted in Redmond to assist vendors in getting their providers to work with the Entity Framework, and the usefulness of the sample provider Microsoft provided as source code to provider writers. Alex Keh from Oracle confirmed that they have been working with Microsoft on the Entity Framework, and Jason Short from VistaDB, who we had just spoken with in the demo booth the day before, talked about the benefits of expressing queries as expressions rather than incurring the overhead of string manipulation.  But Brent Gross from IBM stole the show with a live demo of some of the 101+ LINQ to Entities samples against DB2 using an early build of their provider extended for the Entity Framework.  In addition to demoing LINQ against their DB2 provider, Brent announced support for LINQ and the Entity Framework through their Informix Data Provider.  MySQL was originally scheduled to attend but had to cancel due to scheduling problems, though Reggie Burnett demo’d LINQ and Entity SQL through their MySQL Data Provider at the MySQL conference in Santa Clara in April, and in August Robert Simpson provided a download of his SQLite provider updated to work with the August CTP release of the Entity Framework. Attendees at the Chalk Talk were particularly enthusiastic about having a common query language across the different databases, through either Entity SQL or LINQ to Entities.

David Sceppa was also there, and invited ADO.NET Data Provider writers interested in LINQ and the ADO.NET Entity Framework to contact him at


Mike Pizzo
Architect, Data Programmability