OLE DB is Microsoft's data interface.

It can work with most any data format.

OLE DB can work with data from:

* All major databases such as SQL Server, Oracle and MS Access.

* Excel spreadsheet data.

* Text files.

* Web data and Email data.

* Others

Data Stores

A Data Store refers to any data that can be accessed through OLE DB.

Data Providers

A Data Provider is a program written to interface with a Data Store.

A Data Provider can transform the raw data into a row/column format
that can be used by a program.

Most Data Providers also provide for data manipulation, using tools such as SQL.

Some common data providers:
Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0 Jet databases like MS Access
MSDASQLMicrosoft OLE DB Provider for SQL Server For SQL Server databases
Microsoft OLE DB Provider for Oracle For Oracle databases
Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers For Excel sheets and Text Files

Data Consumers

A Data Consumer is a software program that communicates with a Data Store.

The Data Consumer sees all data in a row - column format.

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