Sybase Database Investments Pay Off

Sybase remains bullish on its database business after posting a 38 percent year-over-year increase in database license revenue, eclipsing estimated gains by Oracle, IBM and Microsoft in the relational database market.

Sybase's investments in database technology appear to be paying off.

In its second-quarter earnings call July 23, company officials announced that license revenue for Sybase database products grew 38 percent year over year, driven by adoption of Adaptive Server Enterprise and Sybase IQ.

Overall, Sybase's place in the RDBMS (relational DBMS) market remains small, at just 3.5 percent in 2007, according to estimates by IDC. While Oracle, Microsoft and IBM continue to hold the top spots in the relational database field, the year-over-year growth of Sybase's database business is more than double the 2007 revenue growth rates of those three vendors, as estimated by IDC.

"If you look at our database business, between ASE and IQ, when we grow license [revenue] 30-some percent year-over-year, I have to safely assume that we're taking shares from others," said CEO John Chen during the earnings call. "We are taking shares ... We are not going to grow 38 percent year over year [constantly], but it is a growing part of the business."

Part of the reason for Sybase's success in the past year is that the company has not stood still. In February, for example, the company released Adaptive Server Enterprise Cluster Edition, a version of ASE with clustering technology similar to Oracle Real Application Clusters. After the earnings call, Sybase Chief Marketing Officer Raj Nathan noted that knocking out incumbent vendors is not easy, so Sybase is also keeping an eye focused on its current customer base as well.

"We went to the base to improve both availability and scalability, especially as it relates today to distributed computing," Nathan said. "Right now, with the Cluster Edition, our target is [to] get the base because ... we believe that could be a sizable business for us over the next two years, just in that base itself. Clearly, because we have a cluster, it makes us more competitive against Oracle in competitive situations [as well]."

Chen admitted to being bullish on Sybase IQ during the earnings call, and said the company is relying on cost to compete in the data warehousing space against the likes of Teradata.

Sybase has also continued to build out its business analytics offerings with the release of RAP [Risk Analytics Platform]-The Trading Edition, which enables financial companies to capture and consolidate high volumes of market data feeds in real time to help deliver faster analytics performance.

"We are very effective in terms of competing, especially in economy like this," Chen said. "People like to just get the job done and data warehousing and business intelligence is a big market, analytics is a big market, everybody wants it around the world ... In addition to that, by adding things like RAP, it's really more a solution approach rather just raw engine."