This week's book giveaway is in the OCMJEA forum. We're giving away four copies of OCM Java EE 6 Enterprise Architect Exam Guide and have Paul Allen & Joseph Bambara on-line! See this thread for details.
Yes, JDBC is in most cases used to access DBs that are *not* on the local machine, but somewhere on a server. As long as that server is reachable via TCP/IP (meaning, there's no firewall in between that blocks the DB port) it should work fine.