This enterprise-caliber database software also is easy to install and easy to get up and running.
CRN Test Center reviewers installed the latest version, SQL Anywhere 11.0.1 Developer Edition, on a humble yet smooth-running Compaq Presario desktop with Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP Professional loaded. The installation initiated and finished without any of the variety of hiccups or headaches often encountered with database installs, in particular database installs on desktop operating systems.
There are new features in this version of SQL Anywhere. One new feature is the addition of Connection Properties for connecting to SQL Anywhere databases. A few new database properties also have been added, such as "Prepares," which will return the number of statement preparations performed for the database.
"Server Edition" is a new database server property. This function returns the type of database server license, with the following values: "Full Developer Evaluation," "Web Authenticated" and "Run Time."
A slew of new database utilities and enhancements have been made to MobiLink, which is a synchronization technology that developers can use to sync mobile devices to SQL Anywhere servers. One of the bigger upgrades is the ability, on Windows, to create services for the MobiLink Relay Server, the Relay Outbound Enabler and Volume Shadow Copy Service using the Service Utility.
MobiLink Synchronization Server also supports consolidated databases running on Microsoft's SQL Server 2008. Authentication in MobiLink also gets a boost: MobiLink clients now support authentication sign-client identities from Common Access Cards (CAC), which are smart cards used for system authentication.
SQL Anywhere 11.0.1 also comes with the SQL Anywhere Monitor, available last year in beta as a downloadable add-on. The monitor is a great way to garner information about the health and availability of SQL Anywhere databases and MobiLink servers. The monitor collects metrics and performance data from databases and MobiLink servers across an enterprise and provides a centralized way to view that data.
One of the most anticipated changes is the introduction of new editions. SQL Anywhere is available in three new editions: Workgroup, targeted to existing customers using SQL Anywhere in server environments; Standard, which comes with a High Availability option; and the Advanced edition, which supports an unlimited number of CPU sockets, has a Replication Server Agent, In-Memory Runtime and a FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) Security option.
The interface continues to improve. Sybase Central is the management console, allowing a database administrator to perform a variety of tasks in SQL Anywhere databases, on MobiLink, on QAnywhere, which is used in the development of mobile messaging applications, and UltraLite, also used for database-to-database synchronization, in particular with mobile environments.
From the console, it is easy to edit database schema or perform database maintenance. A series of user-friendly wizards guides an admin through an array of tasks. For example, in the Database Backup Wizard, a prompt opens up, listing all running databases. Just select the database to back up and choose where to archive it (disk or tape). Of course, maintenance tasks can be set to be scheduled.
With mobile platform development at an all-time high, Sybase's latest release is a boon for VARs in this market space. The enhancements all add to the reputation SQL Anywhere has as a robust and flexible environment. Sybase offers VARs extensive education, training and certification options. Other benefits include sales training and lead generation.
The help and support available even for free on Sybase's Web site are remarkable. There are a plethora of resources for VARs, including online books, downloadable tools and utilities, and a generous library of white papers and technical documents.
Sybase continues to be on the cutting edge when it comes to databases and integration with other technologies, such as RFID, mobile messaging and even in pricing. A five-user license for SQL Anywhere 11.0.1 for Windows lists for $599.99 without the partner discount. In comparison to some other database solutions, this is a relatively affordable product that offers so much in features and development capabilities. There are a number of support options: Standard support is available for an additional $132. Bronze, the next level up, is available for $1,000, and Silver support can be had for $4,000.