Data Access in Visual C++
Since 2011 Microsoft has aligned on ODBC as the standard for native applications to connecting to SQL Server databases. For more information, see the FAQ. For modern native C++ applications running on Windows, the preferred way to connect to SQL databases is to use the ODBC Driver 11 for SQL Server on Windows.
C++ programs can also connect to databases hosted in Azure. For more information, see SQL Database.
For low-overhead local database instances, you can use SQL Server 2014 Express LocalDB which does not require an instance of SQL to be running. C++/CLI libraries can use either the native ODBC drivers or ADO.NET as well as Azure data services for .NET. For more information, see Data Access Using ADO.NET (C++/CLI) and Accessing Data in Visual Studio.