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Sybase Joins Complete In-Memory Database Vendors

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Sybase Joins Complete In-Memory Database Vendors

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Recently Sybase joined Oracle and IBM as the next database vendor to offer complete in-memory capability.  Version 15.5 of the Sybase ASE (Adaptive Server Enterprise) is the first version of Sybase's database system software that can be run entirely within working memory.  The option to run in-memory databases could make Sybase a tempting option for enterprises that have large transactional systems, like the financial sector.  An in-memory database is an effective way for those organizations to bypass the bottlenecks inherent in disk databases.

The option to run an ASE database completely in-memory can be made during the setup.  A single database system can run any combination of databases in-memory or on disk.  Sybase says the software has no limit on how much RAM can be used for the in-memory option.

The customers that participated in the beta testing of ASE 15.5 achieved three to four times more speed than their regular databases, according to Sybase.  The in-memory option has other advantages in addition to performance boosts.  Running a Sybase in-memory database does not require a unique API for the applications that run on it.  While many in-memory databases require specialized calls, ASE can be accessed via its standard T-SQL.  

ASE 15.5's other features include integration with IBM's Tivoli Storage Manager to help with automated backups, better support for temporary databases, and more efficient FastLZ compression technology.  15.5 is also the first version to have timestamps that  are accurate down to the microsecond. 

Sybase is not the first company to offer in-memory databases, but there haven't been many.  Oracle first offered its in-memory database in 2005 after it acquired the technology from a company called TimesTen.  IBM also got into the in-memory database game after an acquisition.  They started offering in-memory databases in 2008 after the acquisition of Solid.

The demand for high-performance, in-memory databases could grow over the next few years, especially in the financial sector where transactional systems handle up to 400k transactions per second.  Transactional systems will need to handle even more as certain industries continue their growth.  Government and corporate intelligence organizations also use in-memory databases to quickly analyze vast amounts of information.  Although it may be more expensive, in-memory is worthwhile for many organizations that can't afford the performance bottlenecks and high maintenance of disk-based databases.

Sybase ASE 15.5 starts at $1,495 for the Small Business Edition.

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