What is DSN?

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Data Source Name

DSN is the short version of Data Source Name. It refers to a structure of data that contains information with respect to a specified database that an Open Database Connectivity driver requires to link to it. DSN resides in the registry or exists separately as a text file. DSN contains details such as the directory, driver and name of a database. It can also contain a user’s password and ID depending on the kind of DNS. Usually, database developers generate separate DNS for every database. In order to link to specific database, a developer has to specify its DSN in the program. On the contrary, connections that do not have DSN require specifying of all necessary information in the program. DSNs are of three kinds. The first kind is user DSN, also known as machine DSN.

How DSN Works

The other kinds are system and file DSNs. The system and user DSNs are tied to specific computers and keep information within the registry. User DSNs enable access of a database by one user on a single computer whole a system DSN allows more users to access a single computer. On the other hand, a file DSN has information relevant to a text file in the .DSN extension format. It may be shared among users on different computers installed with the same drivers. Beyond being a database that connects meaningful names, DSNs have additional features that enable them to map addresses to names, map names to addresses, distribute databases and store records. Though DNSs are databases, they are more importantly, distributed databases. Within every DNS server is a small section of the host name. Each server is usually configures using a specified record that shows the server where it will find records that are not available within its section of the DNS server.