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Sybase Reports Record Earnings, Updates Adaptive Server

The company's flagship relational database product now offers in-memory capability for sensitive transaction-based operations.

Sybase Chairman and CEO John Chen said Thursday that Sybase experienced in the fourth quarter of 2009 the best quarter in its history for revenues and earnings.

Overall, Sybase's license revenue was up 5% for the year, with all sources of revenue totaling $1.17 billion, up 3%. Strong license revenues produced by the core system were a major contributor, as well as messaging revenue, up 12%, which reached a record $196.6 million. Part of the gains came from data handling partnerships with mobility partners Verizon, Samsung, IBM, and SAP.

On Wednesday Sybase launched Release 15.5 of Sybase Adaptive Server, its flagship relational database product, which offers the option of being run as a high performance, in-memory system.

Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) enjoyed solid growth in 2009 in an economic climate that proved daunting for most relational database vendors, according to Terry Orsborn, senior manager of product marketing for ASE. The core system added 884 new customers in 2009, he added.

The database management firm wants to maintain the pace in 2010 and is adding the ability to run a version of Sybase in the memories of a server cluster, boosting throughput by six to eight times the processing of a regular database implementation depending on drawing data from disk. The In Memory Database or IMDB is an optional add-on to the core system at a price of $20,000 per CPU, Orsborn said in an interview.

In-memory systems are often used for trading systems, where fractions of a second pay dividends, or other sensitive transaction-based operations where response times to customers are kept as short as possible.

"We're not the first one to market with in-memory technology. We've had the benefit of hindsight" of how competitors provided the technology, said Raj Rathee, ASE product manager, in an interview. The IMDB option can be administered by existing Sybase database administrators, without requiring them to learn a new system, he claimed. IDC's database analyst Carl Olofson termed the IMDB option "transparent in-memory database management" in the announcement.

Oracle and IBM have added separate in-memory systems to their product list to accomplish the same goal. Oracle offers the TimesTen in memory system, while IBM acquired SolidDB to produce an in-memory option.

In addition to in-memory capability, the 15.5 release also features integration with IBM's Tivoli Storage Manager, allowing Adaptive Server Enterprise to be automatically backed up to any form of storage supported by the Tivoli Storage Manager. The integration opens a wider selection of storage options for backup purposes for Sybase users, said Rathee.

Sybase also sells a leading column-oriented system, Sybase IQ, used in data warehouse analytical applications, and the mobile system SQL Anywhere. Those results were not detailed.

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