In my coverage of SAP’s Sybase acquisition, I noted that SQL Anywhere is a best kept secret among more than 20,000 developers who relish its ease of embedding and minimal database administration. Now Sybase is about to release its next version, SQL Anywhere 12, with ambitions to add to its claimed ten million users worldwide using SQL Anywhere-powered applications. Geospatial features, key to mobile applications, will feature prominently.
Major software product releases carry a load of expectations: buyers expect substantial feature enhancements, and this version does not disappoint. Sybase has added a hierarchical copy node capability that allows the deployment of read-only copies (and an optional mirror server for high availability) to balance broad demands for reading and reporting in global deployments, and automatic load balancing is part of the package. New centralized administration capabilities permit governing of synchronization, record and replay, and remote upgrade and troubleshooting. And Sybase is extending its leading smartphone support – it’s remarkable that Apple, with its well-deserved reputation for poor enterprise support, has not more aggressively promoted this. It’s likely that an effective promotion would provide a substantial jolt to Sybase’s revenues and increase Apple’s enterprise footprint. For that matter, either RIM or Microsoft could benefit in the same way – SQL Anywhere supports their platforms well too.
The other key advance in this release comes with Sybase’s growing data type expertise, most notably with geospatial capabilities. The emerging location-aware application community will find great support here: the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standard, SQL/MM, SQL ORM for dynamic query generation, and more. Linking searches to Google maps for viewing is supported – see this Sybase blog post for an example. In addition, full text search can be extended to Word or PDF file attachments.
These developments, and the new sales organization that will arrive with the completion of SAP’s acquisition, should vault Sybase further into the lead in mobile application development. With its already expansive following and existing strength in health care, retail, financial services and government markets, and marquee customers with large deployments such as the 2010 US Census, China Customs, and Pepsi Bottling Group, SQL Anywhere is poised to extend its leadership further.
Disclosures: Sybase is a client of IT Market Strategy.