ODBC Driver 13.1 For SQL Server
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Thursday, 28 July 2016

A new ODBC driver for SQL Server adds support for always encrypted access.

While the preview version of the driver had support for SQL Server's Always Encrypted security feature, this did not make the version that was released with SQL Server 2016 RTW (Release To Web).

The missing elements from ODBC Driver 13 for SQL Server have now been included in version 13.1, which can now be downloaded. Alongside the support for Always Encrypted, the new version supports Azure Active Directory authentication.

The Always Encrypted support relates to SQL Server 2016 and Azure SQL Database. Data can be encrypted within the application, meaning SQL Server and/or Azure SQL Database only handles the encrypted data, and never sees plaintext values. If a SQL instance or host machine is compromised, an attacker can only access ciphertext of your sensitive data.

Azure Active Directory (AAD) support is another addition. AAD authentication provides an alternative to SQL Server authentication, and is used to centrally manage identities of database users. The ODBC Driver 13.1 lets you provide your AAD credentials in the ODBC connection string to connect to Azure SQL DB.

Another improvement in the updated driver is support for Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs). These let your web server use Unicode characters for the server name. The new driver lets you convert a Unicode serverName to ASCII compatible encoding (Punycode) when required during a connection.

The final improvement to the updated driver is support for AlwaysOn Availability Groups (AG). The documentation says that the driver quickly discovers the current AlwaysOn topology of your server infrastructure and connects to the current active server transparently.

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More Information

Download Location For ODBC Driver 13.1 For SQL Server

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 28 July 2016 )