The Future Of Sybase Database ASE

Sybase, at one point one of the most popular and forward thinking databases of its time is now called : SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE).

Having been a popular relational enterprise database management system, Sybase customers appreciated the speed of transaction processing, among other features such as high availability, data security. The most prominent of the features being its overall low TCO (Total cost of ownership).

Since the acquisition of Sybase by SAP. In recent years, it appears that the direction for Sybase has seemingly changed. SAP, it appears is pushing its favorite HANA and positioning SAP’s cloud strategy as the next big database
products leaving pure Sybase users in a fix.

Looking at the collateral information being published by SAP, it appears that Sybase is no longer a key component of SAP’s future product roadmap. In fact, looking back, the enhancements being offered with the Sybase product have been relatively small since the past few years.


SAP Sybase ASE migration to GCP


While it may seem a bit odd and many might dismiss this off, it is actually pretty clear if you note that there have been no major announcements or discussions involving Sybase within SAP and then, why would you not talk
about something you are proud of or investing money into? Below are some of our observations :


1. End of Mainstream Maintenance (EoMM) for Sybase ASE.

SAP published the Note 1922006 – “EoMM Dates for Adaptive Server Enterprise 15.0.3, 15.5, 15.7, and 16.0 – SAP ASE.” The note, states that the EoMM for ASE 15.7 is 12/31/2020 and for ASE 16.0 is 12/31/2025. It further
clarified that the EoMM is to put an end to any & all patches and enhancements. However, it is not (yet) the end of support.


2. Sybase innovation has lagged

The last major release (16.0) of Sybase did not showcase any new innovations and none appear to be in the pipeline or being planned for Sybase products. All the changes are just small and trivial incremental improvements for existing features. From the discussions and the general direction of the company, it appears that SAP seems more inclined to focus on migrating to HANA, the cloud, or both. The modality being the SAP Transformation Navigator – which is rather being used as a tool to guide digital transformation – Thus, directing the focus entirely away from Sybase.


3. Huge Layoffs at SAP including developers and support staff.

SAP, in large numbers went through massive layoffs in March-2019, the numbers showed a skew towards retaining HANA and ABAP developers and letting go of more Sybase folk. Here is the article:


4. SAP does not have a product promotion strategy for Sybase.

When marketing resources and promotion wanes for a certain product or product line, it is immediately apparent. Thus, when the comparison of the amount of resources and marketing invested by SAP for other product lines v/s Sybase ASE is taken into consideration, it is very clear that there has practically been no real effort to promote or sustain Sybase ASE products.


5. The technology community’s interest in Sybase is non-existent.

Sybase has thousands if not, tens of thousands of deployments ranging from large to medium to small businesses. Many of Sybase customers include institutions like banks, technology firms and even wall street. A report from
Thomson states : Over 30,000 customers worldwide use SAP Sybase solutions, and 90% of the top 50 banks, as well as security firms, use this solution. Also, Wall Street identified it as the #1 database solution for a few years.

We performed some independent research and looked at quite a few publications, activities and requests for major and minor information about Sybase in user groups and communities as well as doing deep searches of Google. There are practically no event materials as such for Sybase in the more than a year at this time.



The nature of things that might be coming:

Clearly, our intention is not to malign SAP, nor do we seek to spark any anti-Sybase sentiments and we are neither inciting any actions, however all we are doing is reflecting back to the current state of industry and comparing it to
actions that we see provide very clear and present apparent reasons based on the above.

We feel that customers will need more innovation from Sybase if SAP were to want to keep Sybase on and grow that ecosystem. However, that also means providing Sybase customers and the Sybase product the needed resources.

It may be very likely that customers might have to come to terms with the degraded or depleted quality of Sybase support as soon as this year. This might also come with steep, additional fixed licensing costs.

For many customers, it might also be a good thing, with the advent in cloud and cloud technologies there are a myriad of database systems that have become much affordable and offer very attractive incentives that might even
wipe off long term licensing costs, costs of having to backup and even offer much discounted support, all without having to make any changes to the application itself.

Therefore, Relax – Your database and the deployment will be Safe.

Organizations are choosing to replace SAP-provided databases with third party databases that are fully compatible with Sybase and the applications that use the Sybase database. These databases not only come with included support but also have the potential to save more than 50% on costs when compared to their existing databases and infrastructure. The cost of having self-managed and self-tuning capabilities more than makes up for the decision from not only a cost perspective but also from a flexibility, maintainability and management perspective.

The other option of staying with Sybase might result in having to move to SAP Hana. Note that, this move might actually involve migration/upgrades & turn out to be more expensive since it may come with steep increases on licensing & other costs. There are high chances it might even require new hardware among other requirements including finding and training the appropriate talent and maintaining skill levels. Your organization may then end up depending on SAP consulting to provide this sort of assistance. This consulting itself can quickly escalate to be a huge fixed cost in addition to any other requirements that SAP might impose since you will be locked in for a period of time.

Acumen Velocity is a global team of application and technology experts that are skilled to support the broad range of Sybase & many other database and data platform offerings. Our services span many data & database environments across companies like Capital One Bank, CBS Radio, United Health, Honda, US Federal government etc. Our global team is very well versed with the associated technology stacks that support the data and database operations and services.

We offer ongoing monitoring support and migration solutions for Sybase applications and Sybase in combination with SQL Server, Oracle enterprise applications both to cloud and on-premise or private cloud as per client requirements.

Our proprietary migration utility is packed with features to make cross database conversion and migration as painless and seamless as possible. Having done this with both Large and small companies, we understand the complexities and constraints that come with legacy applications and database technologies. Our work for the last 20+ years has been to help transition environments into better and efficient enterprise architecture so that the operational overhead of managing & paying for a physical infrastructure is no longer a hinderance. Best of all, we also enable you to access insights from your data via our data platform solutions and analytics using industry standard tools that are interoperable and integrate seamlessly.