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We are pleased to announce the community technology preview of Microsoft ODBC Driver 13 for SQL Server on Windows and Linux, supporting Ubuntu, RedHat and SUSE distributions! The updated driver provides robust data access to Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Azure SQL Database via ODBC on Windows and Linux platforms.

Always Encrypted for Windows and Linux

You can now use Always Encrypted with the Microsoft ODBC Driver on Linux and Windows. Always Encrypted is a new SQL Server 2016 and Azure SQL Database security feature that can help prevent sensitive data from being seen in plaintext in a SQL Server instance. It lets you transparently encrypt the data in the application, so that SQL Server will only handle the encrypted data and not plaintext values. Even if the SQL instance or the host machine is compromised, an attacker gets ciphertext of the sensitive data. In order to use the Always Encrypted feature, you have to use a supported driver such as ADO.NET or the ODBC 13 Driver for SQL Server Preview to encrypt the plain text data then store the encrypted data inside SQL Server 2016 CTP2 and above or Azure SQL Database. Similarly, you will use a capable driver like the new ODBC driver or ADO.NET to decrypt the data.

Internationalized Domain Names for Windows

Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) allow your web server to use Unicode characters for server name, enabling support for more languages. Using the new Microsoft ODBC Driver 13 for SQL Server on Windows Preview, you can convert a Unicode serverName to ASCII compatible encoding (Punycode) when required during a connection. This conversion is enabled by setting the property serverNameAsACE to true. Otherwise, if the DNS service is configured to allow the use of Unicode characters, use the default serverNameAsACE property value of false.

Linux ODBC drivers add Ubuntu support

The preview ODBC drivers for Linux now supports Ubuntu, RedHat and SUSE. This is Microsoft’s first ODBC Driver for SQL Server release supporting Ubuntu. You can now enjoy enterprise level support while connecting to SQL Server from Ubuntu. It also updates the drivers to unixODBC driver manager 2.3.1 support.

Learn more

The ODBC driver is part of SQL Server and the Microsoft Data Platform’s wider interoperability program, with drivers for PHP 5.6, Node.js, JDBC, and ADO.NET already available. Look for more features in coming releases as we continue to build out support for Linux in our ODBC driver.

We invite you to explore the latest the Microsoft Data Platform has to offer via a trial of Microsoft Azure SQL Database or by trying the new SQL Server 2016 CTP.

For more information see documentation on the Microsoft Developer Network.

Questions? Join the discussion of the new driver capabilities at MSDN and stackoverflow. If you run into an issue or would like to make a suggestion, let us know via Connect.