A Comparison of SQL Server 2000 With Sybase ASE 12.5

Wednesday Apr 23rd 2003 by Alexander Chigrik
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Price, performance, product limitations - how SQL Server 2000 stacks up against Sybase ASE 12.5.

Introduction

Often people in newsgroups ask about some comparison of Microsoft SQL Server and Sybase Adaptive Server. In this article, I compare SQL Server 2000 with Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise 12.5 (Sybase ASE 12.5) regarding price, performance, platforms supported, SQL dialects, and products limits.

Platform comparison

SQL Server 2000 only works on Windows-based platforms, including Windows 9x, Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows CE. In comparison with SQL Server 2000, Sybase ASE 12.5 supports all known platforms, including Windows-based platforms, AIX-based systems, HP-UX systems, Linux Intel, Sun Solaris and so on.

Hardware requirements

To install SQL Server 2000, you should have the Intel or compatible platforms and the following hardware:

Hardware Requirements
Processor Pentium 166 MHz or higher
Memory 32 MB RAM (minimum for Desktop Engine),
64 MB RAM (minimum for all other editions),
128 MB RAM or more recommended
Hard disk space 270 MB (full installation),
250 MB (typical),
95 MB (minimum),
Desktop Engine: 44 MB
Analysis Services: 50 MB minimum and 130 MB typical
English Query: 80 MB

Sybase ASE 12.5 supports Windows-based platforms, AIX-based systems, HP-UX systems, Linux Intel, Silicon Graphics, Sun Solaris and so on.

To install Sybase ASE 12.5 under the Windows-based platforms, you should have the following hardware:

Hardware Requirements
Processor Pentium or Pentium compatible CPU
Memory 48 MB minimum for the Sybase ASE 12.5,
plus memory for the operation system and other programs.
Hard disk space
Adaptive Server 12.5 110MB
jConnect 4.5 4.5MB
jConnect 5.5 4.5MB
jutilities (Cascade Gateway, jisql, Ribo) 6MB
jConnect documentation 0.5MB
Open Client/C 133MB
Monitor Client Library 4MB
Monitor Server 12.5 3.5MB
Historical Server 6MB
Adaptive Server plug-in for Sybase Central 13MB
Enhanced Full-Text Search 70MB
EJB Server 420MB

To install Sybase ASE 12.5 under the AIX-based systems, you should have the following hardware:

Hardware Requirements
Processor IBM RISC System 6000 32-bit,
IBM RISC System 6000, Model S70, 64-bit
Memory 64 MB for the Sybase ASE 12.5 (for IBM RS/6000 32-bit),
92 MB for the Sybase ASE 12.5 (for IBM RS/6000 64-bit),
plus memory for the operation system and other programs.
Hard disk space
Adaptive Server 12.5 235MB
jConnect 4.5 5.5MB
jConnect 5.5 5.5MB
jutilities (Cascade Gateway, jisql, Ribo) 6MB
jConnect documentation 8MB
Open Client/C 12.5 115MB
Language Modules (Server 12.5) 2-7MB per language
Language Modules (Open Client 12.5) 3-6MB per language
Monitor Client Library 12.5 7.9MB
Monitor Server 12.5 4MB
Monitor Historical Server 12.5 6MB
Enhanced Full-Text Search 75MB

To install Sybase ASE 12.5 under the HP-UX systems, you should have the following hardware:

Hardware Requirements
Processor HP 9000/800 32-bit, HP 9000/800 64-bit
Memory 64 MB minimum for the Sybase ASE 12.5 (for HP 9000/800 32-bit),
90 MB minimum for the Sybase ASE 12.5 (for HP 9000/800 64-bit),
plus memory for the operation system and other programs.
Hard disk space
Adaptive Server 12.5 191MB
jConnect 4.5 4.5MB
jConnect 5.5 4.5MB
jutilities (Cascade Gateway, jisql, Ribo) 6MB
jConnect documentation 6MB
Open Client/C 12.5 244MB
Language Modules (Server 12.5) 2-7MB per language
Language Modules (Open Client 12.5) 3-6MB per language
Monitor Client Library 12.5 4MB
Monitor Server 12.5 3MB
Monitor Historical Server 12.5 6MB
Enhanced Full-Text Search 70MB
EJB Server 32-bit platforms only 420MB

To install Sybase ASE 12.5 under the Linux Intel platform, you should have the following hardware:

Hardware Requirements
Processor Pentium II, 230 MHz or higher
Memory 50 MB minimum for the Sybase ASE 12.5,
plus memory for the operation system and other programs.
Hard disk space
Adaptive Server 12.5 115MB
Sybase Common package 100MB
Open Client/C 12.5 120MB
Language Modules (Server 12.5) 2-7MB per language
Language Modules (Open Client 12.5) 3-6MB per language
Enhanced Full-Text Search 65MB
Sybase-esql 4MB
Sybase Openserver 45MB

To install Sybase ASE 12.5 under the Silicon Graphics platform, you should have the following hardware:

Hardware Requirements
Processor MIPS IV or higher
Memory 32 MB minimum for the Sybase ASE 12.5 (for SGI IRIX 32-bit),
64 MB minimum for the Sybase ASE 12.5 (for SGI IRIX 64-bit),
plus memory for the operation system and other programs.
Hard disk space
Adaptive Server 12.5 245-270MB
jConnect 4.2 5MB
jConnect 5.2 5MB
jutilities (Cascade Gateway, jisql, Ribo) 6MB
jConnect documentation 8MB
Open Client/C 12.5 117-130MB
Language Modules (Server 12.5) 2-7MB per language
Language Modules (Open Client 12.5) 3-6MB per language
Monitor Server 12.5 3.9MB
Monitor Historical Server 12.5 6.8MB
Sybase Central 13MB

To install Sybase ASE 12.5 under the Sun Solaris, you should have the following hardware:

Hardware Requirements
Processor Sun Solaris 32-bit, Sun Solaris 64-bit
Memory 66 MB minimum for the Sybase ASE 12.5 (for Sun Solaris 32-bit),
92 MB minimum for the Sybase ASE 12.5 (for Sun Solaris 64-bit),
plus memory for the operation system and other programs.
Hard disk space
Adaptive Server 12.5 155MB
jConnect 4.5 4.5MB
jConnect 5.5 4.5MB
jutilities (Cascade Gateway, jisql, Ribo) 6MB
jConnect documentation 0.5MB
Open Client/C 12.5 SDK 183MB
Language Modules (Server 12.5) 2-7MB per language
Language Modules (Open Client 12.5) 3-6MB per language
Adaptive Server Monitor Server 12.5 3.5MB
Monitor Historical Server 12.5 6MB
Monitor Client Library 12.5 4MB
Enhanced Full-Text Search 70MB
EJB Server 32-bit platforms only 420MB

Software requirements

SQL Server 2000 comes in six editions: Enterprise, Standard, Personal, Developer, Desktop Engine, and SQL Server CE (a compatible version for Windows CE) and requires the following software:

Operating System Enterprise Edition Standard Edition Personal Edition Developer Edition Desktop Engine SQL Server CE
Windows CE No No No No No Yes
Windows 9x No No Yes No Yes No
Windows NT 4.0 Workstation with Service Pack 5 No No Yes Yes Yes No
Windows NT 4.0 Server with Service Pack 5 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Windows NT 4.0 Server Enterprise Edition with Service Pack 5 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Windows 2000 Professional No No Yes Yes Yes No
Windows 2000 Server Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Windows 2000 Advanced Server Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Windows 2000 DataCenter Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Windows XP Professional No No Yes Yes Yes No

Sybase ASE 12.5 requires the following software:

Platform Operating System Version Required Patches
Windows-based Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 6 or higher
AIX-Based AIX 4.3.3 (32-bit) Maintenance Level 7 or later
AIX-Based AIX 5.1 Not Necessary
HP-UX HP-UX 11.0 64-bitDevLibs, HPUXEng64RT, Integ-Logon,
KernDev, MiscDiag, OnlineDiag,
UXCoreMedia, Y2K-1100, PHCO_13808,
PHCO_13809, PHCO_14733, PHCO_14786,
PHCO_14810, PHCO_15219, PHCO_15220,
PHCO_15221, PHCO_15235, PHCO_16021,
PHCO_16253, PHCO_16305, PHCO_16341,
PHCO_19047, PHCO_19391, PHNE_14479,
PHNE_16636, PHSS_18066, PHSS_18072,
PHSS_21950, PHSS_22217, PHSS_22272
Linux kernel-2.2.14-5.0 Not Necessary
Silicon Graphics SGI IRIX 6.5 (32-bit and 64-bit) Not Necessary
Sun Solaris Solaris 8 (32-bit and 64-bit) patches 108434-04, 108435-04, 108528-12,
108827-12, 108991-18, 109210-12, 109384-02,
111177-06, 110648-13, 112138-01

Performance comparison

It is very difficult to make the performance comparison between SQL Server 2000 and Sybase ASE 12.5. The performance of your databases depends rather on the experience of the database developers and database administrator, than on the database's provider. You can use both of these RDBMS to build stable and efficient systems. It is possible to define the typical transactions, such as those used in inventory control systems, airline reservation systems, and banking systems. After defining these typical transactions, it is possible to run them under different database management systems working on the different hardware and software platforms.

TPC tests

The Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC.Org) is an independent organization that specifies the typical transactions (transactions used in inventory control systems, airline reservation systems and banking systems) and some general rules these transactions should satisfy.

The TPC produces benchmarks that measure transaction processing and database performance in terms of how many transactions a given system and database can perform per unit of time, e.g., transactions per second or transactions per minute.

The TPC organization made the specification for many tests. There are TPC-C, TPC-H, TPC-R, TPC-W and some old tests, such as TPC-A, TPC-B and TPC-D. The most popular test is the TPC-C test (OLTP test).

At the moment this article was written, SQL Server 2000 held the top TPC-C by performance results with Distributed Partitioned Views-based cluster systems. See Top Ten TPC-C by Performance Version 5 Results

At the moment this article was written, SQL Server 2000 held the top TPC-C by price/performance results. See Top Ten TPC-C by Price/Performance Version 5 Results

Note. Because most organizations really do not run very large databases, the key points on which SQL Server 2000 won the TPC-C benchmarks do not really matter to the vast majority of companies.

Price comparison

One of the main Microsoft SQL Server 2000 advantages in comparison with Sybase ASE 12.5 is that SQL Server is cheaper. SQL Server 2000 is currently available under two licensing options:

  • Processor license.
  • Server/per-seat client access license (CAL).

The processor license requires a single license for each CPU in the computer running SQL Server 2000 and includes unlimited client access. You can buy this license when you do not know the number of the clients (for example, if your users will connect to SQL Server 2000 through the internet). This license usually is cheaper than Server/Per-Seat CAL when there are many users connected to SQL Server databases.

The Server/per-seat client access license (CAL) requires a license for the server and licenses for each client device. You can use this licensing option when the customers do not need access beyond the firewall and the number of clients is low (for example, 10-20 users for SQL Server 2000 Standard Edition or 30-40 users for SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition).

Licensing Options SQL Server 2000 Standard Edition SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition
Processor $4,999 per processor $19,999 per processor
Server/Per-Seat CAL with 5 CALs - $1,489
with 10 CALs - $2,249
with 25 CALs - $11,099

Sybase ASE 12.5 is currently available as two main products:

  • ASE Workplace
  • ASE Enterprise

ASE Workplace includes machines running Windows NT, Netware, or SCO Unix with four or fewer CPUs. ASE Enterprise includes machines running Windows NT, Netware, or SCO Unix with more than four CPUs. For other platforms, the classification into ASE Workplace or ASE Enterprise is dependent on Total Processing Factor (TPF), which is based on the maximum number of CPUs that a box can support multiplied by the processing power (in megahertz) of each CPU. Machines that have a TPF of 2000 or less are considered ASE Workplace while those above 2000 are considered ASE Enterprise.

Sybase ASE 12.5 is currently available under two main licensing options:

  • Processor license.
  • Server/Networked Seat.

The processor license is available under the ASE Enterprise 12.5 for LINUX only. For other platforms, only the Server/Networked Seat licenses are available.

Licensing Options Sybase ASE Workplace 12.5 Sybase ASE Enterprise 12.5 Sybase ASE Enterprise 12.5 for LINUX
Processor Not available Not available $24,995 per processor
Server $995 $3,995 $2,995
Networked Seat $195 $795 $595

Note. This is not a full price comparison between SQL Server 2000 and Sybase ASE 12.5. It is only a brief comparison. Discounts may apply and the prices can be increased or decreased in the future. See Microsoft and Sybase to get more information about the price of their products.

Features comparison

Both SQL Server 2000 and Sybase ASE 12.5 support the ANSI SQL-92 entry level and do not support the ANSI SQL-92 intermediate level. In the Features comparison section of this article I want to make a brief comparison of the SQL Server T-SQL with Sybase T-SQL dialect and show some SQL Server 2000 and Sybase ASE 12.5 limits.

Microsoft T-SQL vs Sybase T-SQL

Microsoft SQL Server and Sybase ASE have a common heritage because, until version 4.2, Microsoft simply licensed Sybase's database server software. So these products had one kernel. After version 4.2, these products have diverged. Microsoft has produced versions 6.0, 6.5, 7.0, and 2000 of Microsoft SQL Server, while Sybase has produced versions 4.8, 4.9, System 10 and System 11 of Sybase SQL Server and versions 11.5, 11.9, 12, and 12.5 of Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise.

Because Microsoft SQL Server and Sybase ASE had one kernel, they have some similar features now. For example, the dialect of SQL supported by both Microsoft and Sybase is called Transact-SQL (T-SQL). To distinguish these dialects, we will call them Microsoft T-SQL and Sybase T-SQL accordingly. Both of these dialects are very similar, so the migration to SQL Server 2000 from the Sybase ASE 12.5 (or vice versa) can be made much easier than the migration to SQL Server 2000 from Oracle 9i or IBM DB2 v8.1.

This is the brief comparison of Microsoft T-SQL and Sybase T-SQL:

Feature Sybase T-SQL Microsoft T-SQL
Indexes B-Tree indexes B-Tree indexes
Tables Relational tables,
Temporary tables
Relational tables,
Temporary tables
Triggers login triggers,
AFTER triggers
AFTER triggers,
INSTEAD OF triggers
Procedures Sybase T-SQL statements,
SQLJ stored procedure (SQL
wrapper to a Java static method)
Microsoft T-SQL statements
User-defined functions SQLJ functions (SQL wrapper
to a Java static method)
Scalar functions,
Inline table-valued functions,
Multistatement table-valued functions
Indexed Views Not Supported Supported
Multiple Triggers Not Supported Supported
Arrays Not Supported Not Supported

SQL Server 2000 and Sybase ASE 12.5 limits

Some SQL Server 2000 and Sybase ASE 12.5 limitations:

Feature SQL Server 2000 Sybase ASE 12.5
database name length 128 30
table name length 128 30
view name length 128 30
column name length 128 30
index name length 128 30
triggers name length 128 30
procedures name length 128 30
defaults name length 128 30
rules name length 128 30
cursor name length 128 30
nested triggers levels 32 16
columns referenced by a view 4096 1024
columns per SELECT statement 4096 1024
max indexes per table 250 250
bytes per index 900 600 for 2K page,
1250 for 4K page,
2600 for 8K page,
5300 for 16K page
columns per index 16 31
parameters per stored procedure 1024 255
text of a stored procedure 250MB 16MB
nested stored procedure levels 32 16
nested subqueries 32 16
tables per SELECT statement 256 50
columns in GROUP BY, ORDER BY Limited only by number
of bytes (8060)
31

Conclusion

It is not true that SQL Server 2000 is better than Sybase ASE 12.5 or vice versa. Both products can be used to build stable and efficient systems and the stability and effectiveness of your applications and databases depend on the experience of the database developers and database administrator rather than from the database's provider. But SQL Server 2000 has some advantages in comparison with Sybase ASE 12.5 and vice versa.

The SQL Server 2000 advantages:

  • SQL Server 2000 is cheaper to buy than Sybase ASE 12.5.
  • SQL Server 2000 holds the top TPC-C performance and price/performance results.
  • SQL Server 2000 is generally accepted as easier to install, use and manage.

The Sybase ASE 12.5 advantages:

  • Sybase ASE 12.5 supports all known platforms, not only the Windows-based platforms.
  • More fine-tuning to the configuration can be done via start-up parameters.

Literature

1. SQL Server 2000 Books Online
2. How to Buy
3. Adaptive Server Enterprise
4. Installation Guide Adaptive Server Enterprise for Windows NT
5. Installation Guide Adaptive Server Enterprise for IBM RISC System/6000 AIX
6. Installation Guide Adaptive Server Enterprise for HP-UX
7. Installation Guide Adaptive Server Enterprise for Linux/Intel
8. Installation Guide Adaptive Server Enterprise for Silicon Graphics IRIX
9. Installation Guide Adaptive Server Enterprise for Sun Solaris
10. Top Ten TPC-C by Performance Version 5 Results
11. Top Ten TPC-C by Price/Performance Version 5 Results

» See All Articles by Columnist Alexander Chigrik

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