Sybase SQL Anywhere 12 key to SAP's mobile plans

Sybase's new mobile database bolsters support for large-scale data synchronization

Sybase announced on Tuesday SQL Anywhere 12, the latest edition of its mobile database and one of the "crown jewels" SAP will acquire with its pending purchase of the company.

SAP announced plans to buy Sybase earlier this year for $5.8 billion. Since then, SAP executives such as co-CEO Bill McDermott have played a consistent tune, declaring mobile to be "the new desktop" and pledging that customers will be able to access the vendor's applications anywhere, anyplace, anytime.

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SQL Anywhere sits at the core of Sybase's Mobility Platform. A significant focus of version 12 is support for large-scale data synchronization, the process of getting information collected out in the field by workers with mobile devices back into the company's on-premises systems.

New tools help companies manage, monitor, and troubleshoot sync implementations. Customers can also run simulations of sync operations to check for problems before turning on the system.

Sybase has also added self-management capabilities, including automatic tuning of server threads that adapt the system to changing workloads, freeing up time for database administrators.

A new server scale-out feature, found in the Advanced Edition version of the product, allows the system to offload work to an array of read-only nodes.

Other features include integrated support for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and .Net Framework 4.0. SQL Anywhere 12 is scheduled for release in July, with pricing to be announced at that time, said Mike Paola, director of product management.

In addition, Sybase has added support for iPhones, along with BlackBerries and Windows Mobile.

Thanks to user expectations driven by the consumer world, SAP "is being pressured to deliver its software on different devices," said Redmonk analyst Michael Coté. "Sybase provides an interesting part of the middleware SAP needs."

SAP will "be obsessed with perfection" as it builds out its mobile strategy, Coté added. "They are not going to put up with the sloppy data handling you see in the consumer space. Sybase has that to offer them in the data handling, and more importantly, synchronization space."

Synchronization is "a huge issue" and hasn't become a commodity technology yet, he said.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com.

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