ADO mostly uses OLE DB objects to connect to a data source. In ADO.NET, the Managed Provider objects connect to a data source. ADO.NET Managed Providers provide a multi-tiered, disconnected model for application development. Data Providers help create connections between a DataSet and a data source.
Data Providers link the DataSet to the data source and act as the intermediary between the two. The data source can be a SQL Server database or even XML documents. A Data Provider has three main components:
DataAdapter— These components are used for communication between the data source and the DataSet objects. The DataAdapter object is responsible for retrieving the data and loading the DataSet.