July 17, 2010

Sybase SQL Anywhere

After Powersoft acquired Watcom and its famed Fortran compiler, marketing VP Tom Herring told me that the hidden jewel of the acquisition might well be a little DBMS, Watcom SQL. To put it mildly, Tom was right. Watcom SQL became SQL Anywhere; Powersoft was acquired by Sybase; Powersoft’s and Sybase’s main products 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 month), which seemed like a fine opportunity to catch up on prior developments as well.

The first two things to understand about SQL Anywhere is that there actually are three products:

and also that there are three main deployment/use cases:

Meanwhile, terminological weirdness includes:

I get the impression that there are two big markets for the Sybase SQL Anywhere family:

By way of contrast, the market for true embedded systems never took off as strongly for Sybase SQL Anywhere as it did for, say, pre-acquisition solidDB. Added together, this all seems to amount to ~ 10 million users overall, as per a slide deck Sybase graciously gave me permission to post.

Other market notes include:

Besides the above, the key points about Sybase SQL Anywhere are:

Sybase SQL Anywhere Version 12 seems to have a variety of performance improvements, of which the most interesting are:

Many SQL Anywhere features are of course missing in Sybase UltraLite, but geospatial datatypes are present.

Finally, it’s a natural conjecture that MobiLink is related to Sybase Replication Server – but that conjecture turns out to be wrong. That said, keeping Sybase’s various replication offerings straight is tricky.


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