Sybase Takes On Oracle with Clustering Technology

Sybase wants to challenge the capabilities of Oracle's Real Application Clusters feature with Adaptive Server Enterprise Cluster Edition.

Sybase is challenging Oracle's Real Application Clusters feature with some clustering technology of its own.

The latest version of the company's Adaptive Server Enterprise product, ASE Cluster Edition, aims squarely at Oracle RAC by attempting to cut the complexity associated with deploying a database application across a shared-disk server cluster.

The product utilizes new technology the company calls Virtualized Resource Management, which Sybase officials said eases the configuration and deployment of workloads across cluster nodes and provides a logical view of physical cluster resources that can be dynamically changed by the user.

" ASE Cluster Edition implements a shared-disk cluster architecture like Oracle RAC, but the key difference is the way that we've implemented it; in particular, the way we've implemented the management interface and some of the technology underlying that," said David Jonker, senior product marketing manager for the ASE group.

Rather than rely only on database sessions for workload management, ASE CE's Virtual Resource Management technology abstracts the physical cluster into logical units, taking into account both database sessions and other cluster parameters, according to Sybase officials.

"You can take resources from each of the physical nodes within the cluster and add it to this logical cluster, and it's got its own set of resources and it's got its own rules for failover; it's got its own rules for load balancing," Jonker said.

Users can effectively create different service levels for their applications all within the cluster and then manage them through one interface, he added.

"We've built in this capability where ... you can say, -at 4 p.m., I want to take this node offline. So make sure all of the connections are migrated off of that node by 4 p.m.,' Jonker said. The software will start working through those processes so that users can actually take it offline and maintain it, he said.

"Once that maintenance is done, you can actually bring that node back online and the connections will actually slowly migrate over," he said.

At the TechWave conference last year, Sybase CEO John Chen declared that the OLTP database market had been decided, and said the company would seek to differentiate itself by focusing on technology. Revenue from the company's database business grew 16 percent year-over-year for the fourth quarter, according to the company's latest earnings report.

Although the company's share of the database market is small compared to Oracle, IBM and Microsoft, promises of high-availability in the new version of ASE may propel Sybase further in the market, Forrester Research analyst Noel Yuhanna said.

"ASE Cluster Edition puts [Sybase] ahead of Microsoft and IBM in high availability, which clearly reflects a strong commitment by Sybase to increase its adoption and meet growing customer requirements," Yuhanna said.

"Enterprises want zero downtime. Oracle RAC and Sybase ASE Cluster Edition are the only two solutions on the distributed platform" that offer tight integration with the database management system, he said.

"The need for high availability to support critical applications is important, and Sybase ASE Cluster Edition clearly makes a strong case for a must have functionality," he said.

The Cluster Edition is available for ASE 15.0.1 on RedHat Enterprise Linux 4, 5 (X86-64), SuSE Linux 9, 10 (X86-64), and 64-bit Solaris SPARC 8, 9 and 10.