EDIT (10/6/2017): OLE DB is being undeprecated. Read more about it here.
ODBC is the de-facto industry standard for native relational data access, which is supported on all platforms including SQL Azure. Cloud is universal and in order to support all client applications connecting from any platform to the cloud, Microsoft has been fully aligned with ODBC on SQL Azure, as ODBC is the only set of APIs that are available on all platforms including non-Windows platforms. From our surveys, cross-platform support is one of the main reasons indicated by our partners for aligning their applications with ODBC. The other reason often mentioned in the surveys is the ease of programming with ODBC. The interfaces are simple and straight forward. With this alignment, C/C++ developers can now focus on one set of APIs for all their native client applications. This will also make porting applications to cloud more seamless.
The commercial release of Microsoft SQL Server, codename “Denali,” will be the last release to support OLE DB. Support details for the release version of SQL Server “Denali” will be made available within 90 days of release to manufacturing. For more information on Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policies for Microsoft Business and Developer products, please see Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ. This deprecation applies to the Microsoft SQL Server OLE DB provider only. Other OLE DB providers as well as the OLE DB standard will continue to be supported until explicitly announced.
We encourage you to adopt ODBC in the development of your new and future versions of your application. You don’t need to change your existing applications using OLE DB, as they will continue to be supported on Denali throughout its lifecycle. While this gives you a large window of opportunity for changing your applications before the deprecation goes into effect, you may want to consider migrating those applications to ODBC as a part of your future roadmap. Microsoft is fully committed to making this transition as smooth and easy as possible. In order to prepare and help our developer community, we will be providing assistance throughout this process. This will include providing guidance via technical documentation as well as tools to jump start the migration process, and being available right away to answer questions on our forum.
Update (October 19, 2011): In an effort to assist you with your planning, we have developed a tool that can scan your source code and provide a report showing the impacted code. This tool identifies and reports the lines of code that reference OLE DB APIs and provide a summary of the overall code impact. You can obtain this tool by sending an email by clicking 'Email Blog Author' link under the 'Options'. It will be available until April 18, 2012.
Please bookmark and revisit this site to see more tools and documentation updates.
For information on how to migrate your applications, please refer : http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh967418.aspx
To see Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) or to submit technical questions, please log onto: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/sqldataaccess/threads
For more on SQL Server and Microsoft’s commitment to interoperability, see: http://blogs.technet.com/b/dataplatforminsider/archive/2011/08/29/microsoft-s-commitment-to-interoperability.aspx
Sr. Program Manager - SQL Server Data Platform,
Note: This blog post was updated on September 13th, 2011 to reflect that the time frame for OLE DB support in SQL Server Code Name “Denali” will be made available within 90 days of release to manufacturing. We are committed to supporting features in SQL Server Code Name “Denali” through the product’s lifecycle as per Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy.