Sybase to enter cloud through mobility

A recent report noting some big Sybase wins with its mobility platform represents an interesting twist for a company that's best-known for databases. What does this mean for Sybase's influence on the cloud-computing market?

James Urquhart
James Urquhart is a field technologist with almost 20 years of experience in distributed-systems development and deployment, focusing on service-oriented architectures, cloud computing, and virtualization. James is a market strategist for cloud computing at Cisco Systems and an adviser to EnStratus, though the opinions expressed here are strictly his own. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET.
James Urquhart
2 min read

A recent report noting some big wins in the mobile-platform space by former database powerhouse Sybase has some interesting observations about what this means for the company's role in the cloud-computing market. Since 1998, Sybase CEO John Chen has been redirecting the company's efforts toward mobility, which he claims is now paying off big time.

Most interesting to me, however, is Chen's claim that cloud computing means a big opportunity for his mobile-platform business. As the article notes:

Sybase's mobile platform may provide a cloud-based lifeline for the likes of SAP, Microsoft, and Oracle, providing those legacy enterprise application vendors an entry into the mobile-computing world of the future.

Two things fascinate me about that statement:

  • Sybase's big play into cloud computing seems to be from the "client side" in the form of mobile access to applications in the cloud, not the data center side as some might expect.
  • It may be that mobility-platform vendors are some of the biggest winners from the cloud-computing movement, as there is a lot of "work" to be done between the service and the device for most cloud applications.

Yes, many cloud applications will be architected with mobility in mind (especially support for the Apple iPhone), and yes, Sybase seems to be targeting more "traditional" Web and client-server applications, but in general, there is infrastructure that enables mobile phones to connect with cloud back-ends (e.g. 3G/4G, the Apple Store, etc.), and cloud computing could be a huge boon to mobile "glue" vendors that address the opportunity.