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Sybase charges into application server wars

Sybase ehances Java support in EAServer 3.6.

Expanding on its history in the database arena, Sybase has entered into the ultra competitive application server fray.

No longer widely considered a tier one database company, Sybase's J2EE based, EAServer is the company's biggest bid to date to reposition the company as an e-business platform vendor.

“Organisations are moving aggressively into the Web,” George Khouri, general manager, Sybase Middle East, told Arabian Computer News. “The financial segment in particular is seriously into e-business and EASever offers the latest in Java support. We’re going to be the first company in the region to ship products supported by [Java 2 Enterprise Edition.]”

The full J2EE support contained within Sybase’s Enterprise Application Server 3.6 will enable local developers to build portable Internet applications.

Full e-business story

Although earlier versions of EAServer had some J2 capabilities, the latest release implements the entire Java 2 specification.

In conjunction with the forthcoming PowerBuilder 8.0 development toolset, recently released in beta version, Sybase aims to deliver the full e-business platform story.

PowerBuilder 8 due for delivery sometime next year adds Web development capabilities to already existing client/server programming functionality.

However, before local developers can take advantage of the extensive Java functionality ingrained into EAServer, Sybase has to raise the level of Java awareness and development within the region.

In the Middle East, Sybase is operating on a per project basis, bundling the product with technical, training and professional services, to enable local users to take advantage of write once, run anywhere functionality of Java.

“We have to ensure that we develop the local skills in the market, both amongst the local application developers and end users,” said Khouri.

“[Companies] have to start developing for the multi-tier Web environment. There needs to be more enterprise application development. But the concept and benefits of Java will help to close that gap,” he added.

Intense Competition

With IBM, Oracle and Sun, with iPlant all planning a big push on application servers and their corresponding development tools, competition is going to be intense.

For the most part application server technology remains a rarity in the region, but according to Khouri the middleware capabilties of application servers to connect legacy data to the Web, will mean more organisations in the region seriously considering this technology in the coming months.

“The competition in the application server market is very intense,” said Khouri. “But Sybase will shine as it’s totally open to hardware, databases and it supports the open object model of application development, supporting CORBA, COM and DCOM and Java.”

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