Sybase ships new database

At least for the year 2001, mark June as the month of databases. Sybase on Monday announced Version 12.5 of its flagship Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) database, and Red Hat last week said in an earnings call that it will bring to market an open-source database.

Sliding in during the last week of the month, the two companies are the latest in a flurry of June database releases.

In fact, of the top five database vendors as ranked by analyst house Dataquest, in San Jose, Calif., all have issued new releases save Informix, which was recently purchased by IBM Corp., and Microsoft Corp., which demonstrated its forthcoming version of SQL Server, code-named Yukon, at the TechEd developers conference in Atlanta.

Earlier this month, Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM and Oracle, in Redwood Shores, Calif., each brought to market new iterations of their databases.

In ASE 12.5, Sybase is keeping with the common themes of dynamic performance, enhanced data management, and security that its main competitors touted with their recent releases.

With ASE 12.5, database administrators (DBAs) can alter performance mechanisms -- such as load and resource allocation -- without rebooting the database. Sybase also enhanced the product's clustering capabilities by enabling two-node clusters in which both systems work simultaneously and either machine can pick up when the other fails.

Sybase also extended the data management functionality of ASE so that XML documents can be stored, indexed, and queried from the database.

The company also furthered its security with row-level access rules and encryption of communication between clients and servers.

"We're a little different from our competitors in that we don't view databases as one size fits all," said Tom Traubitz, Sybase's senior marketing manager for ASE.

Instead, Sybase offers separate databases for mobile, transaction processing, and data warehousing. ASE is the transaction processing database.

Although Sybase, much like Oracle, has been "reinventing" itself into an e-commerce platform provider, Dataquest's recent numbers showed it defended its market share turf, judging on revenue from new licenses for 2000. The previous year, Dataquest listed it with 3.3 percent; this year it weighed in at 3.2 percent. Sybase also surpassed Informix, which last year had 5 percent of the market and this year dropped to 3 percent.

Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft's rankings are status quo, with 33.8 percent, 30.1 percent, and 14.9 percent, respectively. All three, in fact, gained one or two percentage points.

With its database, Red Hat joins the open-source troops Great Bridge LLC, NuSphere, and Abriasoft.

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