According to Darryl Salas, principal consultant with Sybase, Apples new, powerful G5 Xserve and Mac OS X "Panther" Server software together provide the scalability and processing power that can support enterprise-grade applications for enterprise resource planning, heavy-duty transaction processing, and document- and content-management functions.
Xserve customers will be able to take advantage of Adaptive Server Enterprise 12.5.1 features including scalable logging, parallel recovery and index sampling as well as the means to establish temporary databases per application or per login. These features enable Adaptive Server to handle large data sets and high data volumes on all the computer platforms that it supports, according to Sybase officials.
The most important Panther enhancements for database processing are the support for asynchronous disk I/O and the increase of addressable memory from 2GB up to 4GB, Salas said. These features are essential for large scale transaction processing and make Mac OS X 10.3 Server "a superior alternative to the Microsoft Windows OS" in enterprise applications, Salas said.
Sybases benchmark tests indicate that its Adaptive Server running on the G5 Xserve can provide faster data throughput and lower per-transaction costs compared to Windows servers, Salas said. The Dublin, Calif.-based company has yet to release its final benchmark test results.
These ASE features and the G5 performance improvements will encourage large enterprises to seriously consider Apple servers for important transaction processing applications, Salas said. "I have seen [that] this is already starting to happen," he said.
Sybase ASE 12.5.1 is available now with prices starting at $1,495.
The improved transaction-processing capabilities of Panther Server were essential to make a Mac server a more attractive platform for data-intensive applications such as document management, said Jim Small, president of MindWrap Inc., a developer of document management applications based in Flint Hill, Va.
MindWrap develops its products for multiple platforms. But the availability of Sybase Adaptive Server running on the Mac platform will be an attractive option for companies that are implementing major new document-management systems, especially in small- and medium-sized businesses, Small predicted.
With the Macs historic focus on the content-creation market, MindWrap products were offered to earlier versions of the Mac OS. But the addition of asynchronous I/O support was really essential before enterprises would consider the Macintosh for applications that require heavy data throughput, Small noted.
The release of the G5 Xserve, coupled with a highly-scalable database such as Sybase Adaptive Server, will lend greater credibility to the Macintosh platform in corporate applications, said Jean Bozeman, enterprise server analyst with International Data Corp. in Mountain View, Calif.
Apple is going to see if it can "get more traction in the high-performance computing space beyond its traditional constituency of companies that have always had a whole lot of Macs," Bozman said.
For example, Apple led off its G5 server announcements at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco Tuesday with a presentation on a supercomputer application based on 1,100 clustered Power Macintosh G5 machines developed by the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blackburg, Va.
University officials said the group spent a little more than $5 million to produce a supercomputer that runs at 10.28 teraflops, making it the third fastest supercomputer in the world. The two faster supercomputers cost between $250 million and $350 million to build.
In the past, Apple has "been a little cautious talking about this in terms of how far they can expand from their traditional customer base," Bozman said. Perhaps that attitude has changed. She said that Apple would be more aggressive in promoting the G5 Xserves potential for high-performance database applications.