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Working with Sybase and SQL Server

I am a SQL Server DBA, and our management is considering an application that requires a Sybase backend database.

Sybase is not my forte. I would like to know if you had the chance of working with both and what will be challenges ahead to maintain them?

Actually that is a common question that many SQL Server DBAs ask. Obviously as a SQL Server DBA you are familiar with Transact SQL. Now that makes life far easier for you because Sybase essentially uses the same Transact SQL. In addition, as Sybase and SQL Server have a common pedigree, the server environment have more and less the same look and feel. For example, master, model and other system databases are the same. There are some variations in terms of new stored procedures and tools introduced by both Sybase and SQL Server over years but in no time you will be able to pick them up.

One difference that I am sure that you are aware is the fact that Sybase runs on virtually every operating system around in addition to Windows. The most common one being the Unix environment. If you are considering getting Sybase in, and I suspect it is going to be on a Unix platform, say Solaris or Linux, then you will have to understand and be familiar with Unix. UNnix is not an easy O/S and was not designed with user friendliness in mind. However, once you start learning Unix and feel at home with it, then you will be OK.

The important thing is to understand how Sybase interacts with an operating system like Unix in terms of configuration of shared memory, swap space, number of engines etc). On tools front, Sybase comes with a tool called "Sybase Central" which is similar to SQL Server nterprise Manager. In addition, Embarcadero offers a GUI tool called DBArtisan that many people use and find it very convenient both as a monitoring and DBA utilities tool.

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This was first published in December 2003

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