Thursday, July 07, 2011

Discussions About Sybase's Embedded Mobile Database Business, Part 2

In Part 1 of this article I shared a conversation I had with Sybase's Tom Slee on mobile embedded databases and Sybase's SQL Anywhere.  One of the questions I asked him was where SQL Anywhere fits in the SUP (Sybase Unwired Platform) picture.  Tom said SQL Anywhere databases, syncing and integration technologies are all in SUP, but they are only a small subset of what SUP offers.

SQL Anywhere is often embedded in other ISV mobile solutions.  The end customer often does not even realize that Sybase technology is embedded in their mobile solution.   ISV partners will often develop all kinds of complex business rules, logic and code that accesses the SQL Anywhere database and utilizes the syncing technology, but it is buried in the application.  That is how my team used it.

SUP in turn is meant to be a complete end-to-end mobile middleware solution that connects back office databases to mobile applications.  Is is far more than just SQL Anywhere.  SUP includes all kinds of additional features to bring it all together in a manner that can be used by an IT organization, not just C++ programmers.

I also asked Tom how mobile application developers synchronize mobile applications that are developed in HTML5 and that use the SQL Lite database with back office systems.  He said simple mobile applications with limited syncing requirements could use web services, custom scripts or other custom developed syncing schemes.  He added that some mobile applications may store data, but have no need to sync with back office systems.  An examples could be a note taking application.  You may want to write notes and save them, but perhaps there is no need to sync the notes with an enterprise system.

When would a developer want to use HTML5, but use Sybase's SQL Anywhere database and syncing technologies rather than the free SQL Lite?  Tom said many enterprise class mobile applications need to synchronize data all day long in near real-time, with multiple databases, web services and ERPs.  Some of the data sources are dynamic and must be synchronized in near real time, others are static and need to be updated only weekly.  All of these different synchronization needs must happen seamlessly in the background and the mobile application must run smoothly whether online or offline.  This situation begs for a mature mobile middleware layer like SQL Anywhere.

To develop your own custom synchronization engine and middleware from scratch to efficiently and accurately manage complex synchronization scenarios is a huge and expensive task.  These are the kinds of situations that motivated me to become an ISV/OEM partner of Sybase and to use their SQL Anywhere technology years ago.  Those same kinds of motivations exist today.

The way I understand it is that software companies that want to develop mobile applications with embedded databases and syncing technology may prefer SQL Anywhere, but an IT organization looking to support all of their enterprise's mobility solutions and needs would look to SUP as their comprehensive mobile middleware solution.

Do you agree or disagree?  Is my understanding correct?  Please comment below if my understanding in incorrect.  THANKS!

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Whitepapers of Note

The Business Benefits of Mobile Adoption with SAP Systems
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Recorded Webinars of Note

3 Critical Considerations for Embracing Mobile CRM
The Future of Enterprise Mobility
The Latest m-Business Trends and How the Onslaught of Mobile Devices Affects Development Strategies
The Real-Time Mobile Enterprise:  The Benefits of Rapid, Easy Access
Syclo and SAP Deliver Mobile Apps on Sybase Unwired Platform

Kevin Benedict, Independent Mobile and M2M Industry Analyst, SAP Mentor Volunteer
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility analyst, consultant and blogger. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.