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To be honest, this is the first time when I’ve been frustrated much much more than excited looking through the session catalogue of the forthcoming great SAP technology event  (you may see it here if you want to be frustrated too:  https://sessioncatalog.sapevents.com/go/agendabuilder.sessions/?l=130&locale=en_US).

Please tell me that I’m wrong – tried to find sessions on ASE – found none (search engine error I hope).  Made me upset – but not really surprised as I’ve got used to this rather methodical neglect.

What made be really upset is when I came across this session:

ES34650 In-Memory Database Proof Points for Customers with Oracle 12c Theater Presentation
In-memory database processing allows customers to achieve high performance with analytical types of queries. The Oracle implementation of an in-memory database provides customers with the performance expected in a way that is easy to implement, transparent to the user, and fully integrated with all other databases features.

Are you serious?  Oracle has at last released a flavour of in-memory database that approaches ASE IMDB (with a delay of … a decade?).

SAP gives Oracle the platform to talk about this ground-breaking step forward and keeps philosophically quiet about “things important in life”.  What about ASE IMDB “proof points?”  Are there any?  How many of SAP users know  that the platform exists in ASE long before it has been introduced into Oracle?  Will it continue to be buried behind the gloss of the real SAP favourite – HANA – to the extend that ASUG technology summit will advertise Oracle products and meticulously avoid talking about similar (better? more mature?) products from its ex-Sybase factory – because it threatens to obscure the gloss of its favourite bright kid (737 sessions out of 1560 somehow related to HANA and 0 to ASE)?

I’ve come across this rather distressing negligence about a year ago when attending Melbourne SAUG conference.  Oracle was there – talking gleefully how Oracle has much better chances than any of its competitors (SAP inclusive) to offer real in-memory DBMS platform.  To me this looks like a cancerous development in the soft tissue of SAP marketing brain.  The problem is – no one seems to care.

Not sure what to say.

I feel sad.

Andrew

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7 Comments

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  1. Avinash Kothare

    Looks like non-HANA database (ASE/ASA/MAXDB….) days ( or may be years at the most ) are numbered.

    Going by the indications, HANA seems THE preferred product for SAP.  SAP has almost bet the whole company on it.   So  it will not matter how good ASE was/is. It may not matter how good all ex-Sybase products like Replication Server, PowerBuilder, PowerDesigner. …. etc. were/are.

    Hopefully good features of these will get absorbed/morphed into HANA and related product family.

    Change is the only constant thing,  so welcome it with open arms !

    Avinash

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  2. Mike Willett

    Nicely put Andrew.

    From talking to SAP personnel over the last 2 years, you can see they’re very focussed on putting HANA at the forefront of their products.

    For many of us with man-years of effort invested in ASE code, which would take a good few years to migrate to another technology HANA isn’t an option.

    SAP now has an array of DB technologies – ASA, ASE, IQ, HANA (all with slightly different varients of SQL), where as Oracle invests in just one technology. By concentrating on one product they can really invest and expand that product to cover all markets. In much the same way Linux wasn’t necessarily the best Unix variant – its advantage is that by everyone developing/improving just one OS its gains stability, speed and features.

    Personally, for many people already using a db, I don’t think there are enough advantages in using in-memory databases. If you need low-latency then a cache will be better and if you have bottlenecks on disk (especially on SAN), then adding more memory to your machine will be cheaper than moving database technologies. I’m not suggesting there isn’t a market for them, but personally it seems rather niche.

    As you say

              “The problem is – no one seems to care.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

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    1. Jeff Tallman

      *** The below is just my personal opinion and does not reflect the corporate position.   I say that not because it is contrary – in fact, there is evidence to suggest it is aligned – however, just saying this is my opinion only – individually ***

      Actually, Oracle has multiple DBMS’s – MySQL (yep -remember!), TimesTen (one of many IMDB’s they aquired along with Tangosol) – but yes, their main DBMS bread & butter is the Oracle DBMS.  Everything else exists just to drive customers to the main DBMS…..sound familiar??

      However, let’s take a look at the real issue – the future of ASE.   If you look at the market for DBMS, you will see that most of the current focus of DBMS is around analytics – few (if any) of the NoSQL movement – for example – is based on OLTP.   It would be silly for ASE to try to adopt a position in the analytics space – as it lacks the basic DBMS support for it (e.g. columnar storage, SQL primitives) not to mention analytics specifics such as analytics functions.   However, when you look at the alternative – OLTP – and more specifically XOLTP, there is a need for a solution such as ASE.    For mixed workload users, one would think that they would need to make a choice whether OLTP or analytics is the true focus – however, in my experience, most true mixed workloads are less about hard core OLTP and more around OLAP/reporting capabilities – and therefore a decent OLTP capability is all that is required …..and to the extent that HANA supports OLTP and analytics – it likely is the best solution for mixed workload from SAP.

      I also would not characterize ASE’s IMDB as a true in-memory database.   Personnally, it is more of a cache optimization for disk-based storage.    But that is a topic for a different discussion.

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      1. Mike Willett

        I agree with much of what you say. If ASE isn’t aiming for the analytics space or the mixed workload space, and is only aiming for XOLTP space then it presents users like us (ie those with mixed work loads) with a dilemma on where to move our db technology to. (Moving to HANA with its own SQL dialect isn’t an option)

        After 20 years work with developers, the choice of which db technology to use has never focused on whether the load is OLAP, OLTP, analytics or mixed. In fact its a question I’ve never heard asked.The focus for a manager – is cost, ease of finding staff, robustness, supportability, development kits, tools. Perhaps my experience is unusual.

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  3. Chris Baker

    I will be demonstrating A4A/AFA at one of the booths.  This is a solution targeted at reporting applications written on ASE with SPs and allows a proxy ASE to use CIS to push the DML in the SPs to execute directly on the replicated OLTP data in HANA.

    Come and find me there.

    Chris

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  4. Andrew Melkonyan Post author

    The problem is not in the shift in market towards analytic.  The problem is in visibility and the priorities of the company responsible for that visibility. 

    SAP has targeted to push itself into the position of #2 in database market (after Oracle?  Microsoft?).  Instead, SAP will most probably become responsible for dragging its Sybase products into DBMS limbo.  For SAP this is not a big deal – it has never been database oriented company.  Running on ASE or running on Oracle/Microsoft – is of no difference as long as SAP application portfolio keeps thriving.  With this type of policy there is little surprise that the traditional ASE market will start shrinking faster and faster. 


    Have anyone heard of MSSQL/Oracle clients hesitating whether to move to ASE or keep running on MSSQL/Oracle?  Is it because ASE is lacking in functionality MSSQL/Oracle can offer?  Or is it because with Sybase’s dissolution into SAP it has been completely effaced?  I do not know who in SAP decision making chain has decided to stake the future of SAP DBMS on HANA but that decision has not been too carefully weighed.  Can HANA even get close to the functionality and maturity Sybase portfolio of ASE/RS/IQ/ASA has to offer???  Whoever is responsible for that decision has definitely done a lot of damage to the traditional DBMS market.  If Oracle speakers grin at SAP’s #2 babble presenting Oracle DB products at SAP technology events – that should definitely be a huge warning sign to everyone – definitely to SAP policy makers.  Excuse me but if no one at SAP understands what this is all about than the problem is not with a product but with wrong people steering the ship into wrong direction.  As to ASE’s lack of analytic functions – this is a dribble.  If MSSQL can incorporate analytic functionality into its DBMS – because the market is hungry for that – so may ASE with its rich and ready arsenal of analytical functionality in its record breaking analytic engine.  It’s all a matter of company priorities. 


    Btw, did anyone check what HANA means in Russian language?  I encourage you to undertake this linguistic exercise.

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    1. Mike Willett

      Again – I have say its exactly what we’ve been saying here for the last few years.

      The London financial companies were once all based around Sybase ASE.

      Oddly analytics feature heavily quite heavily it their requirements – Sybase have told us that if we want analytics and other features we should migrate off ASE. So we have a choice of migration to IQ or IQ ? That’s an easy choice.

      In banking the most requested new features in db’s that are being talked about are versioning or temporality of data. In a few years  general purpose db’s without this will be dead in the water.

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