CEO John Chen sees open source in Sybase's future

CEO John Chen sees open source in Sybase's future

Summary: I recently talked with Sybase CEO John Chen [watch the video] about a variety of subjects, including his notion of the "unwired enterprise," how the database business will evolve more toward an open source foundation, RFID, doing business in Asia, and reporting security vulnerabilities. Chen told me that Sybase is "attempting to change the open-source business model a little bit.

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TOPICS: Open Source
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chen.jpgI recently talked with Sybase CEO John Chen [watch the video] about a variety of subjects, including his notion of the "unwired enterprise," how the database business will evolve more toward an open source foundation, RFID, doing business in Asia, and reporting security vulnerabilities. Chen told me that Sybase is "attempting to change the open-source business model a little bit." Rather than open sourcing its software, however, Sybase has a free version of its high-end database for Linux that will only work on a single-processor machine, storing a maximum of 5GB of data and using a maximum of 2GB of RAM.  It's a good way for Sybase to attract SMB customers, who may at some point upgrade to the fully-enabled, revenue generating version, but it's not freeing up the source code. 

But, Chen admitted that five years out, it's very likely that some of Sybase's database products and middleware would be open sourced, and revenue would come from support and maintenance, as well as value-added options, such as handling unstructured data, search, EII, federated databases, analytics and compliance reporting.  "It's Just at the beginning...open source is good for everyone...and allows some level of community building and standardiztion so everybody can add value if they know how to," Chen said.  Regarding doing business in Asia, Chen cautioned, "If you do it right, there is a lot of good return for your shareholders and a huge market, and if you do it wrong could really kill your own value."

Topic: Open Source

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  • Only with limitations

    Unfortunately, Sybase only support commercial Linux distributions - read expensive. This is another example of software vendors forcing you down a commercial Linux path.

    We've used Sybase extensively over the years, on Solaris. We're transitioning to MySQL on Solaris, so that both the OS and the database are free. And we get much better performance on our workloads into the bargain.

    If Sybase had the same restricted version free for Solaris (especially Solaris x86) we would probably have stuck with Sybase.
    ptribble
    • Just plain stupid

      Better performance on MySQL on Solaris, as opposed to Sybase.... A database that runs more of half the trades on Wall street.... With hundreds of concurrent users... A database technology that has done a million transactions a second benchmark...

      The comparison is just plain stupid. I am willing to bet my life that you will NEVER get MySQL to perform faster that Sybase ASE (and probably Sybase SQL Anywhere will also outperform it) on the same hardware.

      If you're prepared to put your money where your mouth is, how about publishing some comparitive tests, with both sets of db configurations?

      Then, about the "expensive" distributions: How do you think software vendors are going to support 157 flavours of Linux? Wouldn't it be in any organizations interest to narrow this down to the real contenders, not the pretenders?

      Linux isn't just for small fries, large corporations run the O/S. Let's forget the "revolution" and allow people to do some business, for Torvald's sake....

      My 2 cents...
      rudi_z
      • Correction

        million transactions a minute, sorry bout that... Got carried away...
        rudi_z
  • not any time soon...

    Seeing how other open source solutions that have solid reputations are already established it will take years of hard core marketing to even compete.

    If Sybase is still super expensive and overloaded with uneeded features - and it lacks other common open source features.

    Don't forget that wireless is insecure so that they will will have to PR their way out of this at the same time.

    They are fighting the wrong battles at the wrong time.
    avitar.net
  • Open source is more than code

    It's one thing to release the source code of a DBMS, as CA has done with Ingres and SAP has done with OpenDB in giving it to MySQL. But without a champion for the ongoing project and a community of committers and reviewers, there's no future for the project.

    Releasing the source code of a 20-year old product is just a way to abandon the product and say that you are no longer going to invest in its ongoing development. After all that time, it's pretty certain that no one can make much sense of the code anyway.
    twasserman1