After Record Year, Sybase Readies New Tools

Sybase readies a slew of products for mobile application developers.

Coming off a record year in terms of revenues, Sybase Inc. has some key products in the pipeline that will impact database developers and those who build and maintain mobile applications.

The company last month said it had its best year ever in 2007, with revenues exceeding just more than $1 billion. Dublin, Calif.-based Sybase also posted a healthy profit with net income of $168 million for 2007, up 26 percent over last year.

For the 2008 year, Sybase is predicting moderate growth. The company gave guidance of $1.075 billion to $1.090 billion in revenues for the year.

While Sybase remains a distant No. 4 in the database market behind Oracle Corp., IBM Corp. and Microsoft, customers in the financial services and telco sectors remain committed to the company's Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) product, says Noel Yuhanna, Forrester Research Inc. database analyst, in an e-mail interview.

"We find that enterprises are looking to deploy more of Sybase's databases, mainly because it offers strong reliability, security and ease of use," says Yuhanna. "[Sybase] continues to innovate around XML data store, shared-disk clustering, unstructured data management and database administration."

Mobile Tools and Platforms
While database software continues to post double-digit growth, Sybase is making major gains in the area of mobile tools, platforms and services. The company last year acquired Mobile 365, now called Sybase 365, to offer a gateway for wireless communications providers, SMS and MMS content, as well as enterprise services.

For developers building mobile applications, the company's subsidiary iAnywhere Solutions Inc. last month rolled out an upgrade to its M-Business Anywhere software. M-Business Anywhere is a mobile development suite that lets corporate developers deploy Web-based enterprise applications to mobile devices. As a component of the Sybase Information Anywhere suite, this mid-tier platform provides enterprise e-mail device security and application deployment to several vendors' device platforms.

Added to the M-Business toolkit is support for Windows Mobile 6, Windows Vista desktop and tablet, and the Symbian platform. The tool had previously supported Win32, Windows Mobile 5 and Palm devices.

In addition to improved performance the tool now offers a dynamic menu customization feature that allows a developer to quickly change or disable a menu or change the user interface for the clients using JavaScript, says Jadong Liu, a Sybase iAnywhere senior product manager.

"We allow you to basically move your desktop applications to mobile devices and offer that cross-platform," Liu says. However, it lacks support for one key enterprise mobile platform-Research In Motion's BlackBerry.

The tool is able to customize various PDAs and smart phones via an API. Says Liu: "It allows you to basically integrate with the native device features including peripheral support and portable printers, and interact with the Bluetooth or WiFi stack on the device."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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