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2011: an interesting year for Sybase databases

Gravity sucks.

An unfortunate fall (or rather, an unfortunate landing) caused me to break a shoulder bone a few weeks ago, greatly complicating any activity requiring active involvement of my right arm or shoulder. Turns out there’s a lot more of those activities than you’re normally aware of… Anyway, things have improved a bit by now (thanks for asking) although I’ve been forced to learn more about ruptured muscles and ligaments than I ever desired.

(there’s an upside in every downside though , and in the process, I discovered the Google BodyBrowser – quite an interesting tool to figure out what body component is keeping you awake with pain signals in the middle of the night. Even if you’re healthy it’s still pretty cool. Check it out at But I digress.)

Making the best of my somewhat handicapped situation got me to focus more on reading than on anything else for the past month. (I have this mail folder labelled “MUST-READ” for interesting stuff I come across that I really need to read, but somehow that folder just keeps filling up. The information age is great with all that interesting and highly relevant material you can find quickly, but digesting it still takes old-fashioned time. Why do I never hear about a solution for that problem? But I digress again.)

Anyway, after catching up on some outstanding material I realised that 2011 promises to see quite some interesting stuff happening in the Sybase database arena.

First, ASE (Adaptive Server Enterprise, Sybase’s mission-critical OLTP database) will be making its debut as the database powering SAP’s Business Suite (formerly known as R/3) later this year. This should be great news for everyone with a stake or interest in ASE, as this constitutes a major endorsement of ASE. It also validates ASE’s long-standing approach towards resource-efficiency, low TCO, and high OLTP performance. In my opinion, SAP’s embracing of ASE as the database engine for their main product can only strengthen ASE as a platform. Hopefully, at some point this translates into a richer ecosystem around ASE, more ISVs certifying their applications on ASE, and more demand for ASE skills. Furthermore, a fresh ASE release will likely appear somewhere in 2011, featuring an interesting range of new features and functionality. Stay tuned for more details.

Another bright spot in the sky is the upcoming version 15.3 of Sybase IQ, our analytics database. As you may have heard, the beta version of IQ 15.3 was released a while ago. Loosely put, IQ 15.3 can use multiple cluster nodes to process a single query. Previously, when an IQ cluster node received a query, it had to process it entirely by itself. However, in IQ 15.3, capacity from other cluster nodes can also be used to process that query. This allows IQ to put the hardware’s computing power to maximum use, making IQ a more flexible, powerful and efficient analytics engine. I must admit I didn’t get round to trying out IQ 15.3 myself yet (an issue temporarily inhibiting my typing ability, which I may have mentioned), but I’m certainly eager.

Other good news around IQ are the announced plans to provide closer integration between Business Objects (also an SAP company) and IQ. While no specifics have yet been announced, the prospect of BOBJ specifically optimised for IQ (or the other way around) feels quite compelling: this combination would really deliver on the promise to extract value from data in less time.

Interesting smells are coming out of the SQL Anywhere kitchen, too. Some recent blog posts indicate some interesting ideas around cloud-enabled database processing. While I’m usually not much into SQL Anywhere (I’m really an ASE guy), this did attract my attention. I’ll be closely following what the SQL Anywhere folks will be serving up, and I recommend you do the same.

And finally, another recommendation: be careful with that gravity stuff. It can pull you down really hard. 


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