It's likely that SAP will eventually de-emphasize its own MaxDB, which is used by many customers to support SAP applications, in favor of Sybase's ASE (Adaptive Server Enterprise), Monash said. "That would be an incentive for further [SAP] investment in ASE."
Meanwhile, Business Objects currently partners with rivals to Sybase's IQ columnar database. "It should be possible for IQ to remain independent, in co-opetition with everybody else, but there's some risk that [it] will get swept up in SAP's grander strategies," Monash said.
SAP could also be overreaching in its embrace of in-memory database technology, which it will gain more of from Sybase, Monash said. "Building [databases] is hard, and it's very easy to think that a niche database technology is more broadly applicable than it really is. SAP is showing signs of having made that error. If they impose that error on Sybase, that would be unfortunate."
One user took a measured view of what may come.
"Those of us interested in continuing our Sybase database careers are anticipating the indication that SAP is interested in allowing the existing Sybase database strategy not just to continue, but flourish, and grow," said Kevin Sherlock, a database administrator and member of the Team Sybase user organization. "Hopefully some of that comes with integration into the SAP core suite, and a sharing of SAP's in-memory technology within the two engineering groups."
It's unlikely, though, that SAP will out-and-out jettison many Sybase products, according to analyst Ray Wang, partner with Altimeter Group.
"There's really no reason for a software vendor to kill a product unless there's not enough people [paying for] maintenance," Wang said. "That's not the case with the Sybase stuff."
However, Sybase customers should brace themselves for potentially higher license fees, as SAP hiked prices for Business Objects products and discounted less, Wang said.
But SAP inherits Sybase's challenges as well as a set of potentially lucrative products.
Sybase has "a failed strategy" for educating users about its technology, said one long-time user, who asked for anonymity. "The main reason people move off Sybase products today is because they can't find the people."
There could be logistical bumps in the road as well after the merger is completed, evidenced by the temporary but disruptive troubles SAP experienced when migrating Business Objects customers to its own support systems.
One of those users wasn't pleased by SAP's announcement.
"Between Business Objects buying Crystal, then SAP buying [Business Objects] we've had quite a few years of upheaval. I was looking forward to getting some products that actually work well together, and they go and buy another company," a poster wrote on the unofficial Business Objects Board. "I guess we'll see how it turns out."