I was wondering what your thoughts were on a shared data access layer in a SharePoint farm. I am well aware of the implications of accessing the SharePoint content databases directly - I am referring to a custom application database that is utilised within client SharePoint sites.
We implement this as a class library deployed to the GAC which is mainly utilised in Web parts.
In this scenario the code is thoroughly reviewed given that it will have full trust across the Web server.
As we move toward SharePoint 2010 I am interested to know whether this is considered good practice or whether there is an alternate approach that we are missing. If you are using a custom application DB, do you connect directly from your SharePoint solution or via a DAL?
Cheers in advance. Ben