May 13, 2010

Further quick SAP/Sybase reactions

Raj Nathan of Sybase has been calling around to chat quickly about the SAP/Sybase deal and related matters. Talking with Raj didn’t change any of my initial reactions to SAP’s acquisition of Sybase. I also didn’t bother Raj with too many hard questions, as he was clearly in call-and-reassure mode, reaching out to customers and influencers alike.

That said,  

Raj also spoke glowingly of SAP’s in-memory database technology and the potential for Sybase of same — until I asked a follow-up question. At that point, he confessed that he didn’t really know much about about SAP’s in-memory database technology yet. As I said before, I believe SAP is fairly sincere about its belief that its in-memory database technology will conquer the world — but this is a naive and poorly-founded opinion even so.

One tidbit I did get is that SAP’s in-memory database technology is not just son-of-T-REX. A Korean (Raj thinks) company SAP had acquired is also in the mix. Raj also had the impression SAP’s in-memory technology can do rows, columns, or hybrid structures. On the one hand, that makes sense. On the other, it’s not a perfect fit with what Hasso Plattner said last year.


13 Responses to “Further quick SAP/Sybase reactions”

  1. GP on May 13th, 2010 1:29 pm

    I work for a investment bank which apparently has a large Sybase ASE/IQ foot print apart from other RDBMS products.

    * In my opinion there nothing that is preventing porting of SAP on Sybase ASE in terms of technology. If SAP can work on SQL Server and Oracle then it will work on Sybase too
    * You have mentioned Row Level locking some where in your post. The Data Only Locked (DOL) tables as implemented in Sybase is better than Oracle or SQL Server. In DOL Tables index structures are not locked. In most cases the contention is on Index pages and not on the data pages
    * MVCC — This could a concern in certain class of applications. The “Read Committed” as implemented in Oracle is different from Sybase/MS SQL Server. Reads block writes because of the shared locks. Also Writes block Reads too. SQL Server has partially solved this problem with (nolock) and “snapshot isolation”. There are ways to mitigate these in Sybase but it is not via MVCC (BTW: I meant Multi Version Concurrency Control)
    * Sybase ASE CE (Clustered Edition) is still in infancy. It will be some time before it can be a viable alternative to Oracle RAC
    * Sybase IMDB: This got released just few months back. Since SAP is also a player in this market not sure if Sybase IMDB will eventually become be killed
    * Sybase IQ still has some features which we like. How ever will non appliance products survive in the Big Data world is some thing to be seen
    * In terms of core DBMS functionality I think Sybase can still compete with Oracles and SQL Servers of the world. It is still simple to manage compared to Oracle (Apparently SQL Server is had made things easy by improving on legacy Sybase weaknesses). What is the missing are the bells and whistles of the recent years. Will there be enough traction from this sale for Sybase to invest in their products is some thing to be seen.

  2. Mike King on May 13th, 2010 4:25 pm

    SAP gets an enterprise db(ASE), the best mobile small footprint db(ASA), mobile apps, really strong middleware, a CEP entrant, columnar db(Sybase/IQ), a well managed company, earnings growth, a bevy of strong engineers, some tools and a bunch of other stuff w/ minimal overlap.

    I find it interesting that no one complained about the 100% overlap when Oracle bought BEA yet some complain about the 5% overlap of this deal. Why do we coddle Oracle when most customers hate them?

  3. Curt Monash on May 13th, 2010 4:55 pm

    Interesting, but false. For one thing, BEA itself complained mightily.

  4. Anurag on May 13th, 2010 6:35 pm

    Mike, “strong engineers, some tools” – couldn’t have said it better myself. 🙂

  5. LTubia on May 14th, 2010 4:48 am

    Not all products from Sybase overlap and empower SAP ones in the same way.
    In overall terms Sybase adds much more value to SAP tools, than drawbacks could arise from overlapping.
    For example, Business Objects universes against relational row oriented data sources many times mean performance issues, but Sybase IQ will offer a new choice for BO ecosystems, just for those customers that don’t need DW appliances but wish better query performance than standard relational repositories actually offer.

  6. Mike Pilcher on May 14th, 2010 6:20 am

    My gut on this is the aquisition is less DBMS oriented and more mobile. I have written in some detail here – I would be interested to get your views.

  7. Curt Monash on May 14th, 2010 8:18 pm


    The party line is that this is about mobile first and foremost. Everybody believes that. That said, you are (as I expect you would be) being unfair to IQ. In particular, IQ has a kind of ILM story that isn’t bad.

    Historically, IQ hasn’t show the kind of compression that column stores are capable of if they focus. So that’s a plus for you. I need to recheck my notes and see if I think they have the potential to graft that in.

  8. Technical basics of Sybase IQ | DBMS2 -- DataBase Management System Services on May 17th, 2010 1:19 am

    […] in February. Since then, I’ve been slow about posting based on those briefings. But what with Sybase being acquired by SAP, Sybase having an analyst meeting this week, and other reasons – well, this seems like a good […]

  9. Herbie on May 19th, 2010 2:02 pm

    Sybase was a good option for HP, that now has Oracle as a big competitor in hardware scenario. Is Ingres a DBMS option for HP ? How long time Ingres will be an independent DBMS product?

  10. Mike Pilcher on May 22nd, 2010 3:27 am


    I may be unfair on IQ, which would imply bias. It is possible to be both biased and right. I have been part of technology companies that acquired technology similar to IQ, Sybase would have been one, along with MDI or a number of others. I think most of the time you lose either the passion for development, which I would say was not the case with IQ in the early days, the rest of the time you lose the Product Marketing skills and sales knowledge. Software is usually a subtle technology and losing the ability to talk about the USP’s, the customer references, and the scars of where and when a product works is as terminal as losing the developers. I believe SAP made the right call after BO passing the sales reines to the BO team. It’s too late to pass the IQ reins, they lost those folk in the ’90’s.


  11. Curt Monash on May 22nd, 2010 5:57 am


    I believe those dispassionate IQ salesmen sold more columnar DBMS in 2009 than your company’s salesmen have in its entire history.

    But that’s from memory on SAND installations, so I could be wrong.

  12. Sybase SQL Anywhere | DBMS2 -- DataBase Management System Services on July 17th, 2010 8:13 pm

    […] both fell on hard times; Sybase built a whole mobile technology division around SQL Anywhere; and the whole thing just got sold for billions of dollars to SAP. Chris Kleisath recently briefed me on SQL Anywhere Version 12 (released to manufacturing this […]

  13. SAP将以58亿美元收购 Sybase | 钱五哥の共享空间 on October 5th, 2010 2:58 am

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