Sybase Inc. is tackling TCO with the latest version of its enterprise database, Adaptive Server Enterprise 12.5.1, released next week.
New goodies are aimed at better manageability and at keeping the database up 24x7. One such self-management feature is dynamic sizing of caches, a capability that will spare DBAs (database administrators) from having to shut down and restart databases as tables grow and caches need to be resized.
Memory segment reshuffling in ASE 12.5.1 can also now be done without unplugging the database. Another anti-unplugging feature is transportable databases, which will mean that users can add data without service interruption, taking segments off and plugging them into another server in live mode, said Sybase officials, in Dublin, Calif.
All this is designed for what Sybase officials are calling higher operational scalability—in other words, more hands-off operation. Other new features that get the human out of the database include automated space management, automated resource management for adjustments of memory and disk need, automated job scheduler, and automatic maintenance of system internals.
Also new in ASE 12.5.1 is native support for XML and Web services; an LDAP directory that enables single sign-on; and the capability to create derived tables for SQL queries, which will let users create views on the fly, thus easing application development.
Jerry Schuman, president and chief technology officer of Versifi Technologies Inc., which is beta testing ASE 12.5.1, said that new manageability features and native XML support are the most relevant aspects of the update for his company and its customers. Versifi makes Web and wireless application and portal software that incorporates the ASE database.
Native XML support is important to Versifi because it negates the need to have separate applications for handling XML: a relational database engine, an XML parsing engine and other tools. That helps cut down not only on tools but also on staff training.
"Its a training issue," said Schuman, in Newport Beach, Calif. "Not that we dont support XQuery and XPath [XML querying standards]. We do those too. But youre doing more with less today, and you really do have to drive down TCO."
The single sign-on of LDAP will also help hack away at TCO as it shaves systems administrators security management tasks, Schuman said. "I dont know a systems administrator in the world who isnt sick of having to do sign-in and replication abilities in multiple places," he said.
Mike Harrold, membership director of the International Sybase User Group, said that the upgrades enhanced XML and Web services handling capabilities are going over big with members of the user group, many of whom work in enterprises that have increasingly less-technical workers aggregating data.
"Any time youre building a technology that allows a system to govern itself and minimize the need for human beings to make a decision on the fly, youre increasing availability of the system," said Harrold, in Columbus, Ohio.