Sybase Sets Stage for Data Management Growth in 2012 - an Interview with David Jonker

The first calendar year following SAP's acquisition of Sybase is coming to a close. David Jonker, director, product marketing - Data Management & Analytics, Sybase, discusses key product integrations, IT trends that loom large in Sybase's data management strategies, and the emergence of what Sybase describes as DW 2.0. 2011 has been "a foundational year," with effort focused on making Sybase technologies work with SAP and setting the stage for 2012, says Jonker. "We believe 2012 is going to be a big year for us on the database side."

Setting the Stage for 2012

In particular, on the data management side, 2011 has been an important one for integrating the products at the engineering level.  There has been a lot of effort for example on the ASE front to make sure ASE certified and optimized for the SAP Business Suite, says Jonker, explaining that the ASE 15.7 launch was largely about prepping for the SAP Business Suite. Sybase will be launching ASE for SAP Business Suite in 2012, and is now in the early adopter phase of that program, working with select customers in production

On the analytics side, there has been a similar process, and 2011 has been a year in which there has been effort and investment made in understanding the use cases for the various products, and in creating select integrations with the BusinessObjects technologies in IQ and creating optimizations that are unique to the marketplace, some of which will be seen early next year, such as around text analytics to leverage the capabilities in both. In addition, Sybase and SAP have been working on select accounts jointly with SAP HANA and IQ.

"2011 really has been a year of laying the foundation from a technology and a go-to-market perspective and understanding how the pieces fit together. It has been great. They have a large reach, and a large number of customers," says Jonker. "It is going to be a fantastic channel as we really ramp up for 2012 to push all of our data management products forward." Often the focus for the SAP acquisition of Sybase has focused on mobility but SAP has really embraced the data management strategy and is aggressive about growing the business, Jonker adds.

Big Data

In particular, says Jonker, Sybase sees opportunity both IQ and CEP in the area of big data technologies and the company is investing to be positioned well to help enterprises solve the challenges and seize opportunities that emerge in this area, he says. Big data is an area where IQ, HANA and CEP come together, bringing their unique attributes to help customers address big data, he says.

For example, on the unstructured data front, new capabilities in IQ with the 15.3 and 15.4 launches in 2011 around text analytics are combining with some of the BusinessObjects capabilities that deal with text analytics to create powerful new benefits, says Jonker. "Overall that strategy is coming together nicely."

And, from an IQ perspective, Sybase thinks 2012 will be a year where a lot of enterprises begin adopting big data technologies, says Jonker. They will also realize that as they move toward technologies like Hadoop that they are going to face challenges with how they integrate that with the other data management technologies they have and the investments they have already made, and the need to combine them in a cohesive way, he explains.

"We believe that there will be more of an emergence of new kinds of platforms - EDW (Enterprise Data Warehousing) 2.0 - is what we have been calling it internally. There is this idea that there is a need for a new platform," he says.

Sybase believes that there will be a new platform that will emerge that will be an outgrowth of the enterprise data warehouse platform essentially - a new platform that can handle big data and handle analytics. Early adopters right now are "hobbling things together," Jonker says. Organizations have Hadoop, they have some database technology, some older data warehouse, and they are adopting more analytics data mart-type technologies but all these components are "putting more complexity in an already complex IT environment," he says.  As a result, there will be a demand for a platform that helps bring that together and unifies all those elements and this is something that Sybase has been building to with its releases, Jonker notes.

Hadoop has "its place for certain stages of data analysis" but especially as an organization takes vast amounts of data and sifts through it to find relevant data points, they will then want to take those data points and bring them into an environment for advanced analysis and ultimately compare it with the rich data they have stored in transactional databases. "The core of their organization, their operations are stored in an enterprise database. The revenue, their cost, their expenses, their core assets - core operations are dependent on that. And any big data analysis needs to eventually marry the insights with the core of the operation." Sybase does not believe that Hadoop will replace the database, but Hadoop will become part of the overall IT environment and find its niche within it, he says.


2012 will also be a notable year for Sybase as it relates to cloud, says Jonker, and people can look forward to some significant announcements for Sybase data management in this area, he says.

There are challenges with how organizations manage data in the cloud, and how they do big data analytics in the cloud, he says. "We have been following that quite closely," he says, on the SQL Anywhere side with SQL Anywhere OnDemand Edition which went into beta earlier this year and will become generally available in 2012, and Sybase will also be focusing on its analytic strategy for the cloud in 2012.

There are challenges enterprises and SaaS vendors face - as they move applications to the cloud and Sybase has been working to address those challenges both on the analytics side as well as on the SaaS vendor side with SQL Anywhere OnDemand.

For example in the area of security, Jonker says, there are issues with how SaaS vendors deal with international customers and compliance with regional policies governing data management.

Some European customers and even some Canadian customers are "very leery" about putting their data with SaaS vendors that reside in the U.S. because of the Patriot Act and what it means to their data, he says. As the cloud grows in adoption, a lot of the security challenges and data laws will increasingly come to forefront, says Jonker, noting that with SQL Anywhere OnDemand, Sybase has been working to address how organizations can attain the benefits of the cloud or SaaS and, at the same time, comply with relevant national, regional, or state data laws.

These concerns are having a profound effect on the SQL Anywhere OnDemand, for which Sybase has a concept of a grid or mesh network with many different databases, says Jonker. Those databases can be moved around while also being careful about where they move. "You can actually work across different hosting providers and you can move databases across different hosting providers." As a result, a particular Canadian company may be hosted with a Canadian service provider, and a European company may be hosted by a different provider, and so forth. So while there is the benefit of the cloud, there is a transparency to the software-as-a-service vendor about where the data is, how it is managed and who has access to it, Jonker explains.

The Year Ahead

Taken together, Jonker says 2011 has been a foundational year, setting the stage for 2012.

In addition to the planned general availability of SQL Anywhere OnDemand, there will be the launch of ASE for SAP Business Suite, and an aggressive push on the concept of EDW 2.0 to help the market understand that a new approach to managing data as it relates to big data and analytics within the enterprise.  "We believe 2012 is going to be a big year for us on the database side."

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