Sybase to face Informatica, IBM in data integration

Database vendor Sybase is gathering its various data integration products into a software suite and touting it for use with its own databases and those from other companies.

The company Monday officially announced the Sybase Data Integration Suite at its annual TechWave user conference in Las Vegas. The event runs through Thursday.

The suite, which will initially comprise existing products that perform data replication, data federation, real-time event messaging and data search, will be released early in the fourth quarter, Kathleen Schaub, vice president for Sybase's Information Technology Solutions Group, said in an interview before the show.

Schaub said the products will be integrated 35 different ways -- "some superficial, some quite deep" -- and feature common tooling and user interfaces.

Schaub said the suite is an outgrowth of Sybase's "unwired enterprise" strategy, which helps customers manage data even as it becomes more dispersed throughout a company. By contrast, another database vendor, Oracle, has long based its solutions on helping enterprises manage data through consolidation.

"It's a good move on Sybase's part," said Joe Buhl, a senior database administrator for Wire One Communications. The Miamisburg, Ohio audio and videoconferencing service provider has used Sybase's Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) on Solaris 9 servers as its main database since 2000, as well as Replication Server 12.6 for disaster recovery. And it is considering a proof-of-concept test with the real-time messaging product to connect up with its JBoss-based JMS messaging platform.

"Some of their products, as with any company, don't make sense for us," Buhl said. "But ASE and Replication Server have been really, really solid software products for us."

Replication Server is the most popular component of the suite, with several thousand existing customers, according to Schaub. She acknowledged that many corporations aren't looking for the entire suite of features yet.

"In the next year or two, most data integration projects will continue to be individual ones," she said. "But users can buy one component today, and as their needs rise, they can add other parts."

Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) features, which Sybase acquired through its June purchase of Germany-based Solonde, will be available in a later version due late in 2007, Schaub said. That will put Sybase in competition with players such as IBM, which bought Ascential last year, and, most directly, with Informatica, which offers the competing PowerCenter set of products. But Sybase said its product set is both comprehensive and easier and cheaper to set up.

"No one else has brought out a suite per se. IBM is probably the farthest along -- they have a number of apps -- but their approach is more services-based," Schaub said. "Clearly, some services will be required, but our direction is to create tooling and technologies that are relatively low-cost and self-managing."

Schaub also said the data integration suite will offer an alternative to enterprise application integration technology, an approach she called generally "cumbersome and expensive."

At Techwave, Sybase is also expected to announce version 10 of its SQL Anywhere mobile and edge database. The database, which has been deployed more than 10 million times, has 200 new features and enhancements, the company said, including materialized views, intra-query parallelism, snapshot isolation and built-in high-availability data mirroring.

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