Sybase ASE, Oracle9i Support Mac OS X

Performance on Apple's Mac platform is boosted; IBM may also port DB2 database to 'Jaguar'.

Dedicated users of Apple Computer Inc.s Mac OS who have been forced to switch platforms to move to an enterprise-level database soon will not have to switch.

Sybase Inc. this week will begin shipping Version 12.5 of its ASE (Adaptive Server Enterprise) database with support for Mac OS X Version 10.2, which was code-named Jaguar. That follows the release late last month of a version of Oracle Corp.s namesake database that will enable developers to use Jaguar.

Officials at IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., said they are in high-level discussions about whether to port their DB2 database to Mac OS X, but no decision has been made.

Enterprises running Mac OS for their database often reach a point where databases such as FileMaker Inc.s FileMaker Pro arent robust enough to run large, enterprise applications that they had developed on Mac OS. That led to switching to databases on Unix or Windows platforms and losing a lot of the ease of use and functionality they were accustomed to on Mac OS, said Obul Kambham, CEO of systems integrator Effigent Inc.

"Mac customers, they prefer to stay on the Mac platform," said Kambham, who plans to use ASE for the Macintosh internally and with his customers. "Now with Sybase [support], were seeing a lot of people continue developing Mac applications on the platform."

Oracle, of Redwood Shores, Calif., made available the Oracle9i Database Release 2 Developers Release on Mac OS X late last month. The release on the Oracle Technology Network lets Apple developers tap into Jaguar running Apples Xserve servers, officials said.

Sybases new ASE version runs on Mac OS X 10.2 and will support major features of the latest Mac OS release, said Sybase officials, in Dublin, Calif. These include supporting Apples Rendezvous technology to provide zero configuration. Rendezvous allows for dynamic registration of the server, automated discovery of clients and re-configuration of the database any time server configurations change.

Other OS X features available in the new database software include support for Net-SNMP so network administrators can monitor the status of the database remotely through SNMP-compatible products such as Hewlett-Packard Co.s OpenView and for the Aqua interface for better usability, Sybase officials said.

Kambham, in San Jose, Calif., tested a beta version of ASE for the Mac and found that it outperformed applications he had running on other databases by as much as two to three times.

"We saw the performance on the Mac platform blow us away," Kambham said. "That got us interested in taking a serious look at Sybase on the Mac platform."

Along with the general release, Sybase is also releasing a Developers Edition of ASE for Mac OS X to allow developers to build and test applications. It is available for free download at the Sybase Web site.

The Mac version of ASE 12.5, while not requiring Apples Xserve server, is aimed at customers that would use the new enterprise server line from Apple, officials said. In particular, the Xserve adds high-bandwidth I/O handling that is important for running enterprise-class databases such as ASE.