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Sybase to support business apps

Sybase will add new technology to an upcoming release of its database server software to better support popular shrink-wrapped business applications.

Making good on a promise made to its users earlier this year, Sybase (SYBS) today said it will add new technology to an upcoming release of its database server software to better support popular shrink-wrapped business applications.

The technology, called row-level locking, will allow Sybase's forthcoming Adaptive Server database to better support applications from PeopleSoft, SAP, and other makers.

Adaptive Server 11.5, now in beta test, is scheduled to ship this fall.

Sybase's competitor Oracle already supports row-level locking. Microsoft's forthcoming update to its SQL Server database, code-named Sphinx, will include row-level locking support for the first time. Sphinx is due by mid-1998.

Sybase has taken heat in the past for not supporting row-level locking, and instead favoring a page-level locking scheme. Locking is used to ensure that only one user at a time can update a given database record. Row-level locking secures a single database entry, or row, during updates, while page-level locking secures a series of rows.

Sybase officials have in the past said they believed page-level locking to be a better design, and have argued that few applications require row-level locking, which is more resource-intensive.

However, applications such as SAP's R/3 require row-level locking. That left Sybase off the list of R/3 supported databases, and generated criticism from users, analysts, and investors, who claimed that Sybase lost business because of its technology direction.

Adaptive Server Enterprise 11.5, which will debut on September 16 along with other new Sybase technologies, is the keystone of Sybase's new component-based technology architecture announced in April.

The new architecture, dubbed Adaptive Component Architecture, is a multitiered framework that includes new database technology for storing Java, ActiveX, and CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) components, along with the Jaguar CTS transaction middleware and new development tools.

The goal of the new product line--in addition to reigning the company's revenue growth--is to allow developers to build a single application that can run on client systems, application server middleware, or the company's database server, as well as support multiple object and relational data types.

Adaptive Server with row-level locking support will ship first to application software vendors. It will be generally available in the first quarter of next year, the company said.

Sybase, is on the comeback trail following a series of money-losing quarters. Last month, the company posted its third consecutive profitable quarter, but missed analyst expectations as revenues continued to fall.