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Author's profile photo Rob Verschoor

SAP’s preferred ERP database: Sybase ASE

(originally published at in July 2011; moved to SCN in November 2012)

Earlier this year, I blogged that things were looking great for Sybase ASE, among other databases. About half a year later, this looks ever more true.
Now, I may rightly be accused of being somewhat biased towards ASE, but in this case I’m taking my cues from sources with significant credibility of their own.

First, IDC analyst Carl Olofson published a report titled “SAP and Sybase: A Marriage Made in Database Heaven”. Indeed, Mr. Olofson sees some very compelling value-adds around database technology now that SAP and Sybase are the same company.  (in the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that this IDC report is an independent IDC publication, and was not sponsored by SAP or Sybase)

The IDC report points out the value of Sybase ASE as SAP’s ERP database, and therefore as a major weapon against Oracle’s dominance of the SAP database tier. This has been pointed out before, but what is interesting is to see IDC describe ASE as SAP’s ‘preferred’ database for ERP – that’s music to the ears of everyone with a stake in ASE (more on that ‘preferred’ status below).  
Furthermore, Sybase IQ is seen as the preferred database to power BusinessObjects as well as non-100%-SAP enterprise data warehouses. Sybase Replication Server could be a key technology to move data into IQ as well as into HANA. That’s all good news when you have Sybase skills today.
Perhaps the most fascinating thought in the IDC report is that SAP’s in-memory HANA technology could make its way into ASE as well as IQ, thus making ASE and IQ stronger database platforms of their own. That would indeed be an enrichment for ASE and IQ. 
Mr. Olofson also makes an interesting non-technical point. SAP, primarily an application-oriented company, is good at selling on business level, whereas Sybase -more an infrastructure-oriented technology company- has always been best at selling to technologists. Combining these two approaches could result in significant market power.
The IDC report is available here.

Coming back to Sybase ASE: indeed, SAP’s message is that “ASE will be SAP’s preferred database for transaction environments” (here, ‘transaction environments’ means: SAP ERP). These aren’t my words, but those of Chris McClain who is SAP’s General Manager of Mobility and Sybase Solutions. This quote comes from his SAP ERP-on-ASE presentation at the recent SAPPHIRE conference (at; jump to 02:10 should you want to hear it for yourself). 
This is no small endorsement of ASE by SAP. Of course, SAP still supports all those other databases too, but now that SAP owns ASE, this brings unprecedented opportunities to optimally integrate SAP ERP with ASE. In addition, ASE is being positioned as a more cost-efficient database for ERP customers.
For a business-oriented customer base like SAP’s, that is perhaps the most important selling point of all.

For me, SAP’s statements about ASE being the preferred ERP database, echoed by the IDC report, is another confirmation that the core Sybase database products enjoy fantastic opportunities as part of SAP. The future does look great indeed.

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