ADO.NET is the latest data-access API from Microsoft. As its name suggests, it is an evolution of Active Data Objects (ADO), built as part of the Microsoft .NET Frameworks. ADO.NET presents a very different programming model from Microsoft''s previous data-access APIs. The old connected model, in which a client program maintained a connection with the server for the duration of the application; the new paradigm underpinning ADO.NET is a disconnected model where clients only hold connects for the minimum time necessary.
The .NET runtime and frameworks are also available for non-Windows platforms as a result of the Mono open-source project from Novell, which is committed to providing a compatible environment for developing .NET applications for cross-platform use.
As an integral component of the .NET Frameworks, it is the standard Data-Access method for developing database centric (SQL or XML) Windows Forms applications, Web Services, and other data consuming .NET components. The Mono project also includes a full implementation of the ADO.NET Frameworks that extends the data access benefits of ADO.NET to platforms such as Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris, AIX, and HP-UX.