Connecting to the database

The first step in any ODBC application is to connect to the database.

The first step in any ODBC application is to connect to the database. When you create the connection to a data source using ODBC, you use the name of the DSN that contains the details of the driver to use, the database host, and other basic information about connecting to the data source.

There are 4 steps your application needs to take to connect to a database:

  1. Call SQLAllocHandle() to allocate a handle for the ODBC environment. This handle is used to create connection objects and to set application-wide settings.

  2. Use the environment handle to set the version of ODBC that your application wants to use. This ensures that the data source knows which API your application will use to interact with it.

  3. Allocate a database connection handle by calling SQLAllocHandle(). This handle represents a connection to a specific data source.

  4. Use the SQLConnect() or SQLDriverConnect() functions to open the connection to the database.

When creating the connection to the database, use SQLConnect() when the only options you need to set at connection time is the username and password. Use SQLDriverConnect() when you want to change connection options, such as the locale.

The following example demonstrates connecting to a database using a DSN named ExampleDB. After it creates the connection successfully, this example simply closes it.

// Demonstrate connecting to Vertica using ODBC.
// Standard i/o library
#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
// Only needed for Windows clients
// #include <windows.h>
// SQL include files that define data types and ODBC API
// functions
#include <sql.h>
#include <sqlext.h>
#include <sqltypes.h>
int main()
    SQLRETURN ret;   // Stores return value from ODBC API calls
    SQLHENV hdlEnv;  // Handle for the SQL environment object
    // Allocate an a SQL environment object
    ret = SQLAllocHandle(SQL_HANDLE_ENV, SQL_NULL_HANDLE, &hdlEnv);
    if(!SQL_SUCCEEDED(ret)) {
        printf("Could not allocate a handle.\n");
    } else {
        printf("Allocated an environment handle.\n");

    // Set the ODBC version we are going to use to
    // 3.
    ret = SQLSetEnvAttr(hdlEnv, SQL_ATTR_ODBC_VERSION,
    if(!SQL_SUCCEEDED(ret)) {
         printf("Could not set application version to ODBC 3.\n");
    } else {
         printf("Set application version to ODBC 3.\n");
    // Allocate a database handle.
    SQLHDBC hdlDbc;
     ret = SQLAllocHandle(SQL_HANDLE_DBC, hdlEnv, &hdlDbc);
     if(!SQL_SUCCEEDED(ret)) {
          printf("Could not allocate database handle.\n");
     } else {
          printf("Allocated Database handle.\n");
    // Connect to the database using
    // SQL Connect
    printf("Connecting to database.\n");
    const char *dsnName = "ExampleDB";
    const char* userID = "ExampleUser";
    const char* passwd = "password123";
    ret = SQLConnect(hdlDbc, (SQLCHAR*)dsnName,
        (SQLCHAR*)passwd, SQL_NTS);
    if(!SQL_SUCCEEDED(ret)) {
        printf("Could not connect to database.\n");
    } else {
        printf("Connected to database.\n");
    // We're connected. You can do real
    // work here

    // When done, free all of the handles to close them
    // in an orderly fashion.
    printf("Disconnecting and freeing handles.\n");
    ret = SQLDisconnect( hdlDbc );
    if(!SQL_SUCCEEDED(ret)) {
        printf("Error disconnecting from database. Transaction still open?\n");

    SQLFreeHandle(SQL_HANDLE_DBC, hdlDbc);
    SQLFreeHandle(SQL_HANDLE_ENV, hdlEnv);

Running the above code prints the following:

Allocated an environment handle.
Set application version to ODBC 3.
Allocated Database handle.
Connecting to database.
Connected to database.
Disconnecting and freeing handles.

See Setting the locale and encoding for ODBC sessions for an example of using SQLDriverConnect to connect to the database.


  • If you use the DataDirect® driver manager, you should always use the SQL_DRIVER_NOPROMPT value for the SQLDriverConnect function's DriverCompletion parameter (the final parameter in the function call) when connecting to Vertica. Vertica's ODBC driver on Linux and UNIX platforms does not contain a UI, and therefore cannot prompt users for a password.

  • On Windows client platforms, the ODBC driver can prompt users for connection information. See Prompting windows users for missing connection properties for more information.

  • If your database does not comply with your Vertica license agreement, your application receives a warning message in the return value of the SQLConnect() function. Always have your application examine this return value to see if it is SQL_SUCCESS_WITH_INFO. If it is, have your application extract and display the message to the user.