Sybase delivers Panther-ready database

Sybase Inc. will continue to add an enterprise sheen to the Mac environment this week with the unveiling of the next version of Sybase ASE (Adaptive Server Enterprise) 12.5.1 at the MacWorld Conference & Expo, in San Francisco.

Last year, Sybase became the first ISV to offer its enterprise-class RDBMS for the Mac OS X platform.

Other companies also announcing enterprise-level products at the show include CryptoCard Corp., one of the first token-based authentication solutions for OS X Version 10.3, a.k.a Panther, and CodeTek Studios Inc., designers of a virtual desktop for users managing multiple projects simultaneously.

Version 12.5.1 of Sybase ASE offers significant support for and leverage of the new Panther operating system including support for asynchronous disk I/O.

"Now that Panther supports asynchronous I/O an application can go about its business while one thread is issuing an I/O request," said Steve Olson, technical director of engineering at Sybase.

Sybase is also taking advantage of Panther's ability to allow a single process to address as much as 4GB of memory, thus allowing Sybase ASE to increase performance by putting more data in its buffer caches.

A Sybase plug-in to Panther's Server Admin tool will allow users to administer the Sybase server along with the Apple Computer Inc. provided services, said Olsen.

"People who are not necessarily a DBA (database administrator) could administer this," he said.

Version 12.5.1 for the Mac, as well as for other platforms, also will see a major upgrade to its XML capability. The release provides native XML support and will give users the ability to stream XML out of the database by converting it from a relational format to XML. Users will also be able to store XML documents and query them through X-Path and X-Query, W3C standard query language.

To improve performance, Olsen said, the newest version also creates multiple temporary databases as opposed to the older version that used only a single temporary database file.

"This is a way of enhancing our concurrency in a heavily used system. It is a huge win for us," said Olsen.

Sybase ASE 12.5.1 is available now. Pricing starts at US$1,495.

Sybase isn't the only software company now targeting Apple in the enterprise. Also at the show is CryptoCard, a provider of one-time use passwords sent to either a smart card, hardware token, or software token. The authentication system is targeted at corporate VPNs, networks, and portals.

Its current PC-based customers include Deutsche Bank, Rothschild Bank, Ciena, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Fujitsu, Telstra, and NASA, among others.

The hardware and software authentication system is available now and is priced at $499 which includes the authentication server, a choice of ten smart cards, hardware tokens or software tokens, and one year of free support.

Also unveiling a new product at the show is CodeTek Studios which will launch VirtualDesktop 3.0. VirtualDesktop will allow Mac users to create as many as 100 separate environments or windows for managing multiple projects simultaneously.

The Panther compatible software will support Expose, Apple's windows management tool, and Apple X11 GUI. Other features include "focus follows mouse," which brings to the foreground any window where the mouse is placed and user-defined desktops and hotkeys.

VirtualDesktop will be available by the end of the month. Pricing is US$40 for new users and a US$15 charge as an upgrade.

The question of whether these types of products will be enough to interest enterprise-level IT in the Macintosh platform has already been answered for Sybase.

"We have gotten a very substantial amount of new business because of the Mac. There's no overlap between our traditional IT customer base, so all the Mac customers are brand new sources," said Darryl Salas, principal consultant at Sybase.