Connection Managers

There a numerous database connector packages that come with ETLBox. Add the connector package for the database that you want to connect with. So if you want to connect with a SqlServer, add the ETLBox.SqlServer pacakge to your project. For MySql, use ETLBox.MySql.

Database integration

Relational databases can be accessed with the DbSource and DbDestination. How to use the connectors will be explained in the next chapter Relational databases. But before you can use them, you need the right connection manager for you database. For Sql Server you would the SqlConnectionManager, for Postgres the PostgresConnectionManager, for MySql the MySqlConnectionManager, and so on. You get the idea.

NoSql databases are also supported. As they are based on different concepts than relation databases (e.g. document storage, key-value store or graph database) the connection and features to interact with NoSql databases can totally different to other databases.

Supported relational databases

These relational database are currently fully supported with ETLBox:

DatabaseNative supportOdbc supportRemarks
SQL Server+ OleDb support
Db2XLuw + z/OS + Cloud
SAP ASE (Sybase)
Microsoft AccessX
Other databasesX*Generic ODBC support
Custom connector****Own implementation

*: There is a limited support for other databases as well - you can use the generic Odbc or OleDb connection manager to access these databases. Please note that using these connections comes with some major limitations.

**: Using a CustomSource/CustomDestination or CustomBatchSource/CustomBatchDestination, you can create your own connectors using your own implementation logic.

Connection manager

Connection strings

To connect to your database of choice, you will need a string that contains all information needed to connect to your database (e.g., the network address of the database, user name and password). The specific connection string syntax for each provider is defined by the ADO.NET framework. If you need assistance to create such a connection string, have a look at   that provide example strings for almost every database.

Choosing the right manager

Some components (e.g. the DbSource or the SqlTask) can be used to connect via ADO.NET to a database server. They will need a ConnectionManager class to connect with the right database. The easiest way to create a connection manager is to create a new instance while providing the connection string for your database.

Here is an example creating a connection manager for Sql Server:

SqlConnectionManager sqlConn = 
    new SqlConnectionManager("Data Source=.;Integrated Security=SSPI;Initial Catalog=ETL;");

For other databases the code looks very similar. Please be aware that the connection string might look different. Here are some more examples:

MySqlConnectionManager mySqlConn
    = new MySqlConnectionManager("Server=;Database=ETL;Uid=eb;Pwd=123;");
PostgresConnectionManager postgresConn
    = new PostgresConnectionManager("Server=localhost;Database=ETL;User Id=eb;Password=123;");
PostgresOdbcConnectionManager oracleOdbc = 
    new PostgresOdbcConnectionManager("Driver={PostgreSQL UNICODE};Server=localhost;Port=5432;Database=ETL;Uid=eb;Pwd=123;");

Default ConnectionManager

Every component or task related to a database operation needs to have a connection managers set in order to connect to the right database. Sometimes it can be cumbersome to pass the same connection manager over and over again. To avoid this, there is a static ControlFlow class that contains the property DefaultDbConnection. If you define a connection manager here, this will always be used as a fallback value if no other connection manager property was defined.

Settings.DefaultDbConnection = new SqlConnectionManager("Data Source=.;Integrated Security=SSPI;Initial Catalog=ETLBox;");
//Now you can just create a DbSource like this
var source = new DbSource("SourceTable");

Connection string wrapper

When you create a new connection manager, you have the choice to either pass the connection string directly or you create an adequate ConnectionString object from the connection string before you pass it to the connection manager. The ConnectionString object does exist for every database type (e.g. for MySql it is MySqlConnectionString). The ConnectionString wraps the raw database connection string into the appropriate ConnectionStringBuilder object and also offers some more functionalities, e.g. like getting a connection string for the database storing system information.

SqlConnectionString etlboxConnString = new SqlConnectionString("Data Source=.;Integrated Security=SSPI;Initial Catalog=ETLBox;");
SqlConnectionString masterConnString = etlboxConnString.GetMasterConnection();

//masterConnString is equal to "Data Source=.;Integrated Security=SSPI;"
SqlConnectionManager conectionToMaster = new SqlConnectionManager(masterConnString); 

Odbc & OleDb Connections

The DbSource and DbDestination also work with Odbc connection. If you want to connect via Odbc or OleDb, you need to have a proper driver installed on the machine where ETLBox is executing. There is a difference between the “generic” Odbc/OleDb driver and the specialised Odbc driver. In short: if you want to connect to a database that is fully supported by ETLBox, use the Odbc/OleDb driver that has the database name in it.

Here is an example how you can connect to Postgres via ODBC:

PostgresOdbcConnectionManager postgresOdbc = 
    new PostgresOdbcConnectionManager("Driver={PostgreSQL UNICODE};Server=localhost;Port=5432;Database=ETL;Uid=eb;Pwd=123;");
DbSource source = DbSource (postgresOdbc, "SourceTable");

Warning: ODBC does not support bulk inserts like in “native” connections. The DbDestination will do a bulk insert by creating a sql insert statement that has multiple values: INSERT INTO (..) VALUES (..),(..),(..)

Generic Odbc and OleDb conenctions

As ETLBox has some database specific code in different components, you normally would choose an Odbc or OleDb connector that fits to your database. But if your database is not fully supported yet, you can try to use the generic Odbc or OleDb connection manager. Make sure you reference the Odbc or OleDb connector package.

Unfortunately, this connector will have some limitations.

  • if you use DbDestination or DbSource with this connector, you would need to pass a TableDefinition object. This object basically holds the table name and column names, because they can’t be automatically extracted from the database.
  • most ControlFlow components won’t work (e.g. IfTableExistsTask). But SqlTask will be likely to work with the generic connection manager
  • if you use special characters in your table or columns names, you need to set the quotation begin / quotation end properties QB & QE that fit to your database (e.g. “[” and “]” for Sql Server or “`” for MySql)

E.g. you can use the generic OleDb connection manager to connect with Sql Server via OleDb

You will need an OleDb connection string,.

var connString = @"Provider=MSOLEDBSQL;Server=;Database=ETLBox_DataFlow;UID=sa;PWD=YourStrong@Passw0rd;"
OleDbConnectionManager conn = new OleDbConnectionManager(connString);
conn.QB = "["; conn.QE = "["; //not always needed, only for special characters
SqlTask.ExecuteNonQuery(conn, , "INSERT INTO...");

You can also use this connection manager with the DbSource or the DbDestination component. But please note that this will only work if you pass the TableDefinition manually, like this:

var cols = new List<TableColumn>() {
                new TableColumn("Col1", "INT", allowNulls: false),
                new TableColumn("Col2", "VARCHAR(100)", allowNulls: true)
_sourcedef = new TableDefinition("TestTable", cols);
DbSource<MySimpleRow> source = new DbSource<MySimpleRow>(conn)
     TableDefinition = _sourcedef

Same for DbDestination - the property name is also TableDefinition there.

Connection management

Connection pooling

The implementation of all connection managers is based on Microsoft ADO.NET and makes use of the underlying connection pooling. Please see here for more details of connection pooling. This means that this actually can increase your performance, and in most scenarios you never have more connections open that you actually need for your application.

You don’t need to explicitly open a connection. ETLBox will call the Open() method on a connection manager whenever needed - where it relies on the underlying ADO.NET connection pooling that either creates a new connection or re-uses an existing one. Whenever the work of a component or task is done, the connection manager will return the connection back to the pool so that it can be reused by other components or tasks when needed.

Please note that the connection pooling only works for the same connection strings. For every connection string that differs there is going to be a separate pool

Reusing connection managers

By default, you can always reuse a connection manager as often as you like. ETLBox will always create a clone of the provided connection manager object, and in combination with the ADO.NET connection pooling it will be automatically decided if a new connection needs to be created or if an existing connection can be reused. You can modify this behaviour either by setting the LeaveOpen property to true or by starting a transaction.


This behaviour - returning connections back to the pool when the work is done - does work very well in a scenario with concurrent tasks. There may be a use-case where you don’t won’t to query your database in parallel and you want to leave the connection open, avoiding the pooling.

For this scenario you can use the LeaveOpen property on the connection managers.

var sqlServerConn = 
    new SqlConnectionManager("Data Source=.;Integrated Security=SSPI;");
sqlServerConn.LeaveOpen = true;


Each connection manager allows you to begin, commit or rollback a transaction. Usage is quite simple

SqlConnectionManager sqlServerConn = 
    new SqlConnectionManager("Data Source=.;Integrated Security=SSPI;");

//Run some sql or start a data flow 
if (success)

BeginTransaction let you optionally define the isolation level of the transaction. Most databases are using an isolation level comparable to Serializable or Snapshot as the default level. If you define a different transaction level for a transaction, make sure that your database does support this level.

If you are starting a transaction, the connection will stay open and connected with your database during the lifetime of the transaction. When starting a Transaction, the property LeaveOpen will be set implicitly to true, indicating that a transaction has been started and the connection needs to stay alive until the connection is either commit or rolled back. When using a transaction, the connection can’t be returned to the connection pool while the transaction is still alive.

Avoiding conflicts when using transactions

Here is a simple example where you want to use 2 connection managers: If you have a database table where you want to insert data within a transaction scope, while you want to read data from the same database, you will need two connection managers to avoid conflicts:

var sqlConnSource = new SqlConnectionManager("...");
var sqlConnDest = new SqlConnectionManager("...");

var source = new DbSource(sqlConnSource,"Table1");
var dest = new DbDestination(sqlConnDest, "Table1Copy");