ODBC Configuration Files for non-Windows Users


This section only applies to non-Windows users.


ODBC Configuration Files 

ODBC configuration files are important for setting up connection parameters to our MariaDB server in a secure manner.  We have detailed descriptions of the configuration files below.



The .odbc.ini configuration file found within your home directory is used to store ODBC connection details to any ODBC-compliant database server, such as our MariaDB server. This file will identify which driver to use for the connection as well as user account information and connection parameters to the server.

All ODBC connections are to be defined within a single .odbc.ini file. Within this configuration file, each grouping of parameters is preceded by [GROUP_NAME]. This is the DSN or data source name. Stata or any other program you wish to connect to your database will require you to specify which dsn you want to use.

Do I need this file?

If you are going to use Stata or any other tool that relies on an ODBC connection, then yes you must have this file.

I don't have this file (on the Grid). How do I create one?

You may request a template or create your own with the following details

[ODBC Data Sources]
rcs_mariadb = RCS_MariaDB_ODBC_connection

driver = mariaDB
server = HOSTNAME
port = 3306
database = jharvard
user = jharvard
password = PASSWORD
sslmode = required

Please note that you will substitute jharvard and PASSWORD with your MariaDB username and password. For the other parameters such as HOSTNAME, please contact us at research@hbs.edu.

Once your .odbc.ini is ready, move it to your home directory and adjust file privileges to ensure no one else can read the file. On the Grid or on a linux or Mac local machine, you may prevent others from reading the file via the command:

chmod 700 ~/.odbc.ini

Can I use the same .odbc.ini on the Grid and on my local machine?

You will have different entries under driver and sslca depending on whether you are on the Grid or on your local machine. The parameter ssl-ca defines the path to your SSL CA certificate file. The path to the SSL CA certificate file will be different across machines as a result. Please contact us at research@hbs.edu for assistance. The parameter driver defines which ODBC driver to use. For driver with your Grid .odbc.ini file, we recommend using mariaDB as it will ensure you are using the drivers managed by RCS. On your local machine, however, you will need to either specify the path to your ODBC driver or to the correct listing within your odbcinst.ini file (see next section).



The odbcinst.ini configuration file found within your local home directory is used to store ODBC driver details. This file is used in conjunction with .odbc.ini (see section above).

Do I need this file?

If you are going to be using your local machine with Stata or any other tool that relies on ODBC connections, then yes you must have this file.

I don't see this file on my local machine. Is there an .odbcinst.ini file on the Grid to copy?

Yes, but you will need to modify it. More specifically, you will need to update the path to the ODBC driver.

The Grid file may be found at /etc/odbcinst.ini

The path to the drivers may be found within this file by reading it. As an example, you may read it by using the command cat /etc/odbcinst.ini. You will notice that there is an entry for [mariaDB] and lists the driver path as /usr/lib64/libmyodbc5a.so. You should copy this driver file to your local machine. Once you have copied odbcinst.ini to your local home directory, edit it such that the driver path under [mariaDB] points to the local driver file.