I know just enough about database to get by - it's not normally within the scope of my job, but I think it's good for everyone to know a little bit. I'm trying to access some of the data in our DB here at work, which would be perfectly quick and easy if it were PL/SQL or SQL Server.

Unfortunately, this database is pretty ancient and uses a format called Unidata. I'm sure somebody here is more familiar with it than I am. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Unidata is what is known as a multi-valued database; I believe it is owned by IBM now. I've never accessed it via ODBC or OLE DB, but I've heard the drivers do exist. If that's true, you should be able to access it from the same tools you use to access PL/SQL or SQL Server. Excel would also work if all you want is to extract some data using simple queries.

  • I have used Excel to connect, but it's much more of a hassle than running a simple query if I'm in a hurry. Excel works much better for queries I run on a consistent basis and that I need in spreadsheet format automatically. So should I download the free version of SQL Server and attempt to access? – NoCatharsis Nov 24 '09 at 18:57
  • I don't think you can use SQL Server Management Studio to access an ODBC/OLE DB data source on its own; you'd have to use a SQL Server to create a linked server to the Unidata server. If you don't have one onsite that you can acccess, you could download SQL Server Express to your computer and create the linked server there. It might actually be more difficult to do that than the Excel option, though. – Ed Leighton-Dick Nov 25 '09 at 16:19
  • Owned by Rocket Software as of November. – Dan McGrath Dec 2 '09 at 0:03

UniData itself is still being developed along with modern tools for connecting to it via .Net, Java, OBDC, etc, etc.

UniData, UniVerse and associated tools are now owned by Rocket Software. There is a mailing list were you can get any questions answered about using or connecting with UniData. The U2 (which is what the product range is called) User Group has a link to the mailing list and many other resources for U2.

To tell you specifically how to connect/get data from it, I need to know more about what you want to do. It also depends on your current licensing arrange for the product.

Note: U2 User Group may be unavailable temporarily as they are moving hosting providers.

EDIT: Here is a slightly more direct link to the Rocket U2 site which talks about middleware for OBDC, JBBC, SQL, etc.


Can you connect to is via ODBC and then just use an ODBC tool?

  • I believe my connection is via ODBC (forgive my limited databasing knowledge). What are some tools to give it a try? – NoCatharsis Nov 24 '09 at 14:19
  • The database tool from Open Office can connect to an ODBC source. I've done that before and used it to look around, doing some simple select queries. I think you can also use Access if you have it, others have said the free version of the MS SQL server management studio will work as well, though I've neven done ODBC with it. – user26147 Nov 24 '09 at 22:09
  • Several things need to be setup to connect to it via ODBC. ODBC is NOT the recommended method of connecting to UniData if it can be helped. UniData is a Multi-Valued database (although it also supports SQL, if the database has some tables setup to use it only though.). UniData needs details on how to map the Multi-valued table structure before you can consider using ODBC tools. – Dan McGrath Dec 2 '09 at 0:06

The easiest way to deal with a Unidata file is to access it within its own environment. The query commands LIST or SORT can be used. If you use the native SELECT commands, it produces lists of keys instead of a table the way SQL does. Simple listings of the type LIST filename ALL can let you know what the data looks like. For access to outside programming environments, you can use "UniObjects" which are tailored for accessing Unidata or Universe files. Unidata has the ability to be used with ODBC and SQL, but needs a whole SQL database security setup to allow it.

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