Sybase targets small business with database

Moving to address the specific needs of small enterprise workgroups and remote user e-business requirements, Sybase Inc. has released SQL Anywhere Studio for Workgroups.

The package is designed to bring enterprise-class database functionality to smaller business computing markets without the need to bring in IS specialists.

“Fundamentally what we have in the package is a suite of tools that a small enterprise can purchase, that gives them everything in one box to deploy a database for their enterprise,” said Chuck Lownie, director of product management at Sybase’s Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., office. “Our target, and our key to success, is that we deliver out-of-the-box performance. So ease of use and simplicity is absolutely key,” he said.

For those lacking full-time database personnel, be they small companies, corporate projects or departments within large organizations, SQL Anywhere Studio for Workgroups is a useful tool, according to users.

“It is really easy to administer remote sites for us; we do a lot of replication so we have servers out in offices where we don’t have any IT staff at all and we can send scripts to the database we can schedule jobs to run at different times,” said Larry Stavinoha, database programmer and analyst for Cunningham Lindsay in Dallas. Others agreed.

“Very importantly, from my standpoint, it made setting up a database server very easy…I don’t have the time to be a full-time DBA,” said Matt Keranen, a system analyst with an insurance and financial company in Orlando, Fl. “We have a lot of data, legacy apps, that were written in dBase. SQL is capable of reading those files directly. For me to take a lot of this legacy data and import it into the server was a one-step process,” he added.

Synchronization is also key to the product.

It is “synchronized specifically for the small enterprise, not necessarily the small and medium size business part, but the branch offices part where companies are rolling up the data and the transactions that occur in a branch office and rolling that to one back-end server,” Lownie said. He added that SQL Anywhere Studio for Workgroups has bi-directional synchronization to allow for a wide variety of combinations.

“You can have literally any combo of remote workgroups, branch offices, mobile users, even users using a handheld product, all synching back to a central data server,” Lownie said.

The product also fills a niche for mid-sized companies and projects that don’t require a large database.

“With the number of employees we have here and the amount of data, going to a large expensive system, say like an Oracle, would have been overkill …so after doing a little research I came up with SQL Anywhere which had all the client server type features that we needed, transactions, security and the like, but pretty much fit the size of what we needed,” Keranen said.

The package has several other key features. SQL Anywhere Studio for Workgroups has database functionality which includes full transaction processing and row-level locking and Java support script. The system also has multi-platform support including Windows, Netware, Unix and Linux.

Customers suggested a few things for their wish list for the next version.

“I would like to see the ability to schedule events, execute certain functions at certain times or based on certain events [like] user log-ins logs reaching a certain size,” Keranen said. Though he added, “the extension of the programmability with Java was a big bonus.”

“When I was first starting out to work with it I would have liked to see more wizards, if someone is new to an SQL type database, additional wizards would really help,” Stavinoha said.

SQL Anywhere Studio for Workgroups ( starts at US$999 for a five-user package.

Sybase in Emeryville Calif., is at 1-800-879-2273.

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