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SQL Anywhere – Your Flight Mode Database Server

My name is Volker Stöffler and I am now, after working for more than 15 years in Sybase Professional Services, a member of SAP’s DTS Global Center of Excellence. I first got in touch with IT when the IBM Personal Computer was still brand-new, and it impressed me enough to study Information Science (also frequently referred to as Computer Science) at the University of Stuttgart. My professional orientation shifted from development to consulting over time, and my primary ambition is to not only support my clients in making technology work, but also to help them understand why it works the way it does.

When I started working with relational databases some 25 years ago, it didn’t take long for a certain RDBMS implementation to catch my eye. At that time it was known by the name Watcom SQL and over time it evolved into SQL Anywhere. I’m quite fond of this implementation and hope to inspire you with my enthusiasm.

When looking at the reason why, the short answer is: SQL Anywhere is cute. If ever there was a cute RDBMS, SQL Anywhere is it. If I have piqued your interest already and you’d like to find out for yourself, you can stop reading right now and see what I mean by downloading your free copy of the Developer Edition for the platform of your preference. The online documentation which you can download or read online includes a tutorial on how to get started.

If you want details on our dalliance, read on. This post is intended to explain why I am a fan of SQL Anywhere, combined with the expectation that you may share some of my reasons and follow me in choosing it as the platform of choice for your ad-hoc databases or as the platform for your database applications.

My top 8 reasons why I prefer SQL Anywhere and think it deserves your attention:

  • It is very straightforward to use, with few surprise factors except for an occasional “wow – that was simple” in the beginning.
  • It is available for and portable between most environments used in today’s IT landscapes.
  • It has a powerful and feature rich SQL dialect and is closely oriented on the ANSI SQL standard.
  • It gives you complete control over a full-featured RDBMS running on a minimum of infrastructure.
  • It scales up to a degree where SQL Anywhere may as well be just the amount of RDBMS you need.
  • It comes with a front-end that may replace the standard user interface of your current favorite RDBMS.
  • It provides interfaces to be called from popular scripting languages like Perl, Python or Ruby.
  • It integrates perfectly with the rest of your IT infrastructure through standard interfaces and won’t get mad if it catches you checking out another platform.

About the headline: Why “Flight Mode”? Most of us IT professionals and users are connected to IT infrastructure almost continuously. One of the exceptions is when we are boarding a plane and (literally and metaphorically) are above and beyond all clouds. Many of the devices you are allowed to take aboard and use there in flight mode are eligible platforms for SQL Anywhere, ranging in size and processing power from Notebooks or Ultrabooks via Tablet computers down to Smartphones. We can extend this situation to those where your central infrastructure is temporarily out of reach or the direct connection is too slow, expansive, unreliable or insecure to fit your needs, or where you simply want to utilize resources exceeding those granted to everybody on a system shared by a bigger community.

Still curious? Great – then this post has just served its purpose – to make you want to check back for future posts about SQL Anywhere where I will delve into:


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