Connect from RHEL5 to a MSSQLServer Database using ODBC

For a data warehouse project I’m working on, I like to add a MS SQLServer database as a datasource to OWB. So the first thing I need is an ODBC Datasource. No problem, but there just one small issue which makes the creation of this ODBC datasource a bit less “default”: My database is running on a linux machine. J
So, A few more steps are needed:

  • Check the unixodbc packages are installed
  • Install the KDE driver manager components for ODBC
  • Install and configure FreeTDS
  • Add the FreeTDS Driver to the ODDBC Configuration Files
  • Add the MSSQLServer Datasource

STEP 1: Check the unixodbc-packages are installed

[oracle@lnx-srv-dwh-dev ~]$ odbcinst -j
unixODBC 2.2.11
DRIVERS…………: /etc/odbcinst.ini
SYSTEM DATA SOURCES: /etc/odbc.ini
USER DATA SOURCES..: /home/oracle/.odbc.ini
[oracle@lnx-srv-dwh-dev ~]$

If the unixODBC packages aren’t installed, you can install them using yum or using the “rpms” located at the RHEL5 installation disks.

STEP 2: Install the KDE driver manager component for ODBC

This package will install the graphical “ODBCConfig” tool which we can use to add ODBC drivers and Data Sources. You can compare this tool with the “ODBC Data Source Administrator” in MS Windows.

[root@lnx-srv-dwh-dev rpm]# yum install unixODBC-kde-2.2.11-7.1.x86_64
Loading “installonlyn” plugin
Loading “rhnplugin” plugin
Setting up Install Process
Setting up repositories
rhel-x86_64-server-vt-5 100% |=========================| 1.4 kB 00:00
rhn-tools-rhel-x86_64-ser 100% |=========================| 1.2 kB 00:00
rhel-x86_64-server-5 100% |=========================| 1.4 kB 00:00
Reading repository metadata in from local files
primary.xml.gz 100% |=========================| 1.3 MB 00:02
################################################## 4235/4235
Parsing package install arguments
Resolving Dependencies
–> Populating transaction set with selected packages. Please wait.
—> Downloading header for unixODBC-kde to pack into transaction set.
unixODBC-kde-2.2.11-7.1.x 100% |=========================| 12 kB 00:00
—> Package unixODBC-kde.x86_64 0:2.2.11-7.1 set to be updated
–> Running transaction check

Dependencies Resolved

Package Arch Version Repository Size
unixODBC-kde x86_64 2.2.11-7.1 rhel-x86_64-server-5 594 k

Transaction Summary
Install 1 Package(s)
Update 0 Package(s)
Remove 0 Package(s)

Total download size: 594 k
Is this ok [y/N]: y
Downloading Packages:
(1/1): unixODBC-kde-2.2.1 100% |=========================| 594 kB 00:02
Running Transaction Test
Finished Transaction Test
Transaction Test Succeeded
Running Transaction
Installing: unixODBC-kde ######################### [1/1]

Installed: unixODBC-kde.x86_64 0:2.2.11-7.1
[root@lnx-srv-dwh-dev rpm]#

STEP 3: Install and configure FreeTDS

FreeTDS is a set of libraries that allows your programs to natively talk to Microsoft SQL Server and Sybase databases. Those libraries will used to create an ODBC driver used to connect to our SQLServer database. You can download the software (freetds-stable.tgz) from
Following log shows the install and configuration steps:

[oracle@lnx-srv-dwh-dev freetds]$ pwd
[oracle@lnx-srv-dwh-dev freetds]$ ls
[oracle@lnx-srv-dwh-dev freetds]$tar zxvf freetds-stable.tgz

[oracle@lnx-srv-dwh-dev freetds]$ cd freetds-0.64/
[oracle@lnx-srv-dwh-dev freetds-0.64]$
[oracle@lnx-srv-dwh-dev freetds-0.64]$ ./configure –with-tdsver=7.0 –prefix=/usr/local/freetds

config.status: creating include/config.h
config.status: executing depfiles commands
[oracle@lnx-srv-dwh-dev freetds-0.64]$ make

make[1]: Entering directory `/tmp/freetds/freetds-0.64′
make[1]: Nothing to be done for `all-am’.
make[1]: Leaving directory `/tmp/freetds/freetds-0.64′
if test ! -f PWD; then cp ./ PWD; fi
[oracle@lnx-srv-dwh-dev freetds-0.64]$ su
[root@lnx-srv-dwh-dev freetds-0.64]# make install

make[2]: Nothing to be done for `install-exec-am’.
/bin/sh ./mkinstalldirs /usr/local/freetds/etc
if test ! -f /usr/local/freetds/etc/freetds.conf; then \
/usr/bin/install -c -m 644 ./freetds.conf /usr/local/freetds/etc/freetds.conf; \
if test ! -f /usr/local/freetds/etc/locales.conf; then \
/usr/bin/install -c -m 644 ./locales.conf /usr/local/freetds/etc/locales.conf; \
make[2]: Leaving directory `/tmp/freetds/freetds-0.64′
make[1]: Leaving directory `/tmp/freetds/freetds-0.64′

STEP 4: add the FreeTDS driver to the ODBC Drivers-file

Edit the “/ect/odbcinst.ini” file and add following lines:
Description = v0.64 with protocol v8.0
Driver = /usr/local/freetds/lib/
Setup = /usr/local/freetds/lib/
FileUsage = 1

[root@lnx-srv-dwh-dev etc]# pwd
[root@lnx-srv-dwh-dev etc]# cp odbcinst.ini odbcinst.ini.ori
[root@lnx-srv-dwh-dev etc]# vi odbcinst.ini
Description = ODBC for PostgreSQL
Driver = /usr/lib/
Setup = /usr/lib/
FileUsage = 1

Description = v0.64 with protocol v8.0
Driver = /usr/local/freetds/lib/
Setup = /usr/local/freetds/lib/
FileUsage = 1

As an alternative you can add the driver using the “ODBCConfig”-tool;

STEP 5: Add an MSSQLServer Datasource:

Start de” ODBCConfig” Administration Tool
Click the “System DSN”-add
Click the “Add”-button
Select the “FreeTDS”-driver
Click “OK”

Fill in the datasource properties

As an alternative, you can add the datasources to the “/etc/odbc.ini”-file

[oracle@lnx-srv-dwh-dev etc]$ pwd
[oracle@lnx-srv-dwh-dev etc]$ cat odbc.ini
Description = my SQLServer Test Database
Driver = FreeTDS
Servername = mySQLTestServer
Server =
Address =
Port = 1433
Database =
TDS_Version = 8.0
Language = us_english
TextSize =
Domain =
PacketSize =

STEP 6: Test the brand new datasource!

Use the “isql”-tool to connect to our database.

[oracle@lnx-srv-dwh-dev etc]$ isql -v mySQLTest myusername mypassword
| Connected! |
| |
| sql-statement |
| help [tablename] |
| quit |
| |

STEP 7: What’s next

From now on we can use this ODBC datasource in an Oracle Heterogeneous Service which we need when adding the SQL Server as a Source in Oracle Warehouse Builder.


2 thoughts on “Connect from RHEL5 to a MSSQLServer Database using ODBC

  1. 1 of the files don’t exist after doing the make install – it all installs fine but the file doesnt exist/usr/local/freetds/lib/libtdsodbc.soI have had this problem installing freetds all day…any ideas?

  2. Dude thank you so much. I’ve been trying to use MSSQL as an ODBC source for my ejabberd install. Something just wasn’t right with my UnixODBC config, and now it magically works. w00t!!

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