Mitch Kertzman, chief executive of battered database supplier Sybase, kicked off the company's Sybase and Powersoft European user conference in Vienna in typically ebullient form this week, claiming Sybase is making a financial comeback.
Among the product announcements, a new version of the mobile database, SQL Anywhere, stole the show with its Java and object support.
Kertzman hammered home the mantra of the past 12 months, rejoicing in four successive quarters of net or at least operating profit.
Revenues remain a big concern, but Kertzmann sees the raft of forthcoming products as key to a more stable and prosperous future.
There were various announcements at the conference. Sybase boasted that it will be an official supplier to the 1998 football World Cup ? althoug, given IBM?s experiences at the Olympics, that may yet prove a poisoned chalice. It will supply World Cup Online, the official Internet/Online system, Info France 98, a system for international media coverage and Score, a collective group of event applications for the Organising Committee.
More significant, Sybase announced the beta release of Adaptive Server Anywhere 6.0, the successor to Sybase SQL Anywhere, its database for mobile and remote computing. It promises the industry?s first implementation of Java business and data objects directly to relational databases, and it exploitts symmetric multiprocessing systems to support more users with faster data access.
Terry Stein, vice president and general manager of Sybase Workplace Database Division, said: "Today's announcement will be followed up in the future with same capability across the entire Adaptive Server Family.?
Sybase is taking a far more conservative approach to product roll-outs than previously, running rigourous beta tests to ensure there is no repeat of earlier fiascos with hastily released technologies. Still, if it delivers in 1998, the Java components will enable industry standard objects to run directly in Adaptive Server Anywhere 6.0, providing far greater application portability than is currently offered.
In the new release, Adaptive Server Anywhere is extended to provide greater stored procedure support, enabling Java as a common development language for deploying logic at the client, the middle tier and the server.
Support for the JDBC protocol allows Java stored procedures to access SQL through the JDBC interface; and Java objects, including Java Beans components, can be stored in Anywhere to extend the range of data types available. Storing Java objects in the database enables developers to define an object once and deploy consistently across all tiers for application portability.
The SMP support is targeted at large user populations and databases in workgroups, remote offices and mobile scenarios, and the improved database caching reduces disk I/O, improving data access, claims the company.
There was a strong feeling among delegates that, while Sybase is looking more positive than for some years - especially compared to rival Informix - its database operation still needs to prove itself able to compete. There is an inherent dichotomy in the merged Sybase and Powersoft, illustrated by the fact that Sybase retains the Powersoft name for its user gatherings, that seems to reflect that the database strategy has to prove itself anew.
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