Sybase is preparing to release in mid-September a major new version of its database software, ASE (Adaptive Server Enterprise) 15. The update focuses on greater security and scalability features, with significant advances in areas such as encryption and manageability, according to the company.
One key feature in ASE 15 is a new query processing engine intended to lower users' operating costs and improve performance. Customers are no longer using databases only for transactional processing; increasingly, they're simultaneously running analytics software to mine stored information. ASE 15's new engine is designed to handle the performance demands of mixed workload environments running both OLTP (online transaction processing) and DSS (decision support systems) applications.
In a white paper posted on its Web site, Sybase details its host of optimisation changes to the engine, which include new hashing and data partitioning techniques, technology to help shape complex queries so that they can be executed faster and parallel query features enabling simultaneous use of multiple processors so that hardware will be used more efficiently. Such changes can save money by reducing staff resources and time needed to maintain Sybase databases.
Data security is another focus area. ASE 15 introduces a new on-disk encryption system intended to protect data without requiring application modifications. It also includes a permission-based security system for encryption keys, providing them only to designated users.
Sybase's current ASE architecture, version 12.5, debuted in 2001 and received its last serious overhaul 18 months ago, to version 12.5.2. ASE 15 has been in beta testing for more than a year. The new version is scheduled for a formal launch on September 12 and will begin shipping to customers that week, according to Raj Nathan, senior vice president of Sybase's information technology group. An ASE 15 version of Sybase's free, more limited database, ASE Express for Linux, will follow within 90 days, he said.
In the RDBMS (relational database management systems) market, Sybase is a small player struggling against giants. Research firms Gartner and IDC each estimate Sybase's 2004 market share at around 2 percent or 3 percent, compared to the commanding 30 percent to 40 percent shares held by market leaders IBM and Oracle (Microsoft trails distantly in third but still holds a comfortable double-digit market share.) Still, Dublin, California-based Sybase has a strong foothold in the financial services and banking markets -- the company claims its software processes over half of Wall Street's stock trades.