The Reality of Connecting SharePoint to Oracle using BDC


A while back I had a customer ask about connecting SharePoint together with an Oracle data source, and using the BDC service to act as the intermediary in that exchange.

So What?

The reality is that unfortunately connecting SharePoint to Oracle isn’t as simple as connecting SharePoint to a SQL Server data source. In the latter case, SharePoint and SQL Server are designed with connectivity in mind – it’s built right in to SharePoint designer to be able to create BDC objects which can read/write SQL Server data. When it comes to Oracle, that story is not at all as clear. In fact, SharePoint Designer doesn’t do this sort of thing at all. However, all is not lost as there is in fact several ways to do this.

Now What?

As it turns out, there are 3 fairly difficult ways to do this by writing your own connector to a 3rd party data source (like Oracle)

  1. Manually create a BDC Model for Connecting to Oracle Databases from the beginning How to: Connect to an Oracle Database Using Business Connectivity Services
  2. Create a Web Service to provide an interface to the external data exposed in the database
  3. Use Visual Studio’s BDC Model project and write the code for Oracle connection. Please look at this blog post Business Data Connectivity Model – Finder Method

Alternately, there’s at least one pre-built tool out there that I know of that does most of the work for you. Unfortunately, it’s not free, so if you’re looking for easy and free, you’re out of luck.

The tool is called BCS Meta Man, and is made by a company called Lightning Tools. This tool supports Oracle and ODBC data connections.

Here’s some links for a better idea of what exactly this tool is and can do for you.

Hopefully this helps to clarify that things aren’t so easy when trying to connect SharePoint to Oracle (certainly not like they are with SP -> SQL Server).