"We intend to nurture that culture of innovation at Sybase
and to do that we have to leave them alone"
SAP Australia managing director Tim Ebbeck
So Sybase is now part of the SAP empire.
The deal is being portrayed in the media as a mobile play, with Sybase bringing complex financial event processing, analytics and a mobile platform. SAP brings in-memory technology. As expected, SAP has been quick to emphasize that SAP remains committed to other leading database vendors.
Now I expect PR spin to feature in these announcements, but how can they play down Sybase's crown jewels - the Sybase IQ and RAP database platforms? And what happened to SAP's decade long down playing of Sybase as an analytic platform?
I guess the addition of SAP's in-memory technology into the arguement was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. I'd like to know if there is anyone not employed by SAP that thinks their in-memory technology is currently more than a niche capability at best.
In my mind, the end result of this acquisition is that the leading columnar DBMS player now becomes a decision to buy SAP. I think that this may lose them a few customers. Perhaps lost to the smaller columnar DBMS players like ParAccel and Vertica. How long they remain independent is anyone's guess. Personally, I think that in some strange way, this deal will make me take a closer look at the open source options. PostgreSQL, Ingres, or more niche technologies like One$DB and Hypertable.
In SAP's defence, I think that they are getting an excellent technology capability in Sybase. And it's not like SAP and Sybase are strangers as they have existing partnerships in mobile services (Sybase Mobile Workflow for SAP Business Suite and Sybase Mobile Sales for SAP CRM) and SAP Business One - to name just three.
Also, when you look across our region, there are additional potential benefits. For example, Sybase is doing well in China where smartphones are one of the hottest growth sectors. In Japan, the news is all about SAP attacking Oracle, and in India the move is not being seen as so important given Sybase's small user base there.
On balance, the deal is good for SAP's product line and Sybase's shareholders. The jury is out for us users.