SqlClient for the Entity Framework

This section describes the .NET Framework Data Provider for SQL Server (SqlClient), which enables the Entity Framework to work over Microsoft SQL Server.

Provider Schema Attribute

Provider is an attribute of the Schema element in store schema definition language (SSDL).

To use SqlClient, assign the string "System.Data.SqlClient" to the Provider attribute of the Schema element.

ProviderManifestToken Schema Attribute

ProviderManifestToken is a required attribute of the Schema element in SSDL. This token is used to load the provider manifest for offline scenarios. For more information about ProviderManifestToken attribute, see Schema Element (SSDL).

SqlClient can be used as a data provider for different versions of SQL Server. These versions have different capabilities. For example, SQL Server 2000 does not support varchar(max) and nvarchar(max) types that were introduced with SQL Server 2005.

SqlClient produces and accepts the following provider manifest tokens for different versions of SQL Server.

SQL Server 2000 SQL Server 2005 SQL Server 2008
2000 2005 2008


Starting with Visual Studio 2010, the ADO.NET Entity Data Model Tools do not support SQL Server 2000.

Provider Namespace Name

All providers must specify a namespace. This property tells the Entity Framework which prefix is used by the provider for specific constructs, such as types and functions. The namespace for SqlClient provider manifests is SqlServer. For more information about namespaces, see Namespaces.


The SqlClient provider for the Entity Framework provides mapping information between conceptual model types and SQL Server types. For more information, see SqlClient for Entity FrameworkTypes.


The SqlClient provider for the Entity Framework defines the list of functions supported by the provider. For a list of the supported functions, see SqlClient for Entity Framework Functions.

In This Section

SqlClient for Entity Framework Functions

SqlClient for Entity FrameworkTypes

Known Issues in SqlClient for Entity Framework

See also