Sybase Wraps Up Enterprise App Bundle

When a company with numerous products like Sybase Inc. (Emeryville, Calif., tries to sell more, a good marketing strategy can go a long way. Enter bundling, a way to package various products and sell them as one. Sybase recently announced a bundle called Enterprise Application Studio, a Web and client/server integration solution that comprises three existing products.

In Enterprise Application Studio, users get the Sybase Enterprise Application Server, the PowerBuilder development tool, and PowerJ, a Java-based development tool. This approach, says the company, will enable the integration of existing applications and data with new Web technologies. It will also gives developers the ability to build multitier complex applications.

The Enterprise Application Server incorporates the Jaguar component transaction server (CTS) and PowerDynamo, a Web page server. Jaguar provides single-point integration for heterogeneous back-office systems and Web content. It also delivers Web OLTP, dynamic publishing features, SSL encryption, and support for component models such as JavaBeans, HTML, COM and CORBA.

The ability to develop applications using PowerBuilder, a RAD tool that has been around for years and has a large following in the development community, and deploy them with Jaguar is a very attractive proposition for IT managers, according to Stephen Hendrick, vice president of application development tools for International Data Corp. (IDC, Framingham, Mass.).

"Building multitier applications is complicated, but if you have the tools and middleware that work synergistically, it makes your job easier," says Hendrick. "The other big factor is that Sybase is one of the few vendors to have coverage over all three tiers."

Guy Gardner, chief research and development scientist for Dynamic Healthcare Technologies Inc. (Maitland, Fla.), says using the alpha version of Enterprise Application Studio has enabled him to take his applications as is and give them real Java Swing codes. "If you want a real big enterprise application on the Web, PowerBuilder is definitely the choice, because it’s a lot more scalable than Visual Basic and similar programs because of its object-orientation abilities," says Gardner, who runs the Studio on a Windows NT platform. "The operation is a whole lot simpler than putting up Terminal Server and WinFrame."

Jaguar CTS, the main ingredient in the Enterprise Application Server, has been around since 1997; PowerBuilder, now at version 6.5, was originally created in 1991; and PowerJ has existed since 1996. These products are far from new in the Sybase catalog, but in bundling the three together, Sybase has targeted a large application development sector of the enterprise community, says IDC’s Hendricks. "It’s a useful packaging concept," comments Hendricks. "Sybase has an extensive range of products, and doing this [bundling] gives them compelling value."

"We see this as a shift from building an application to building a system that all works together and doing that very quickly, using existing systems," says Rob Veitch, director of business development for Sybase. "We’re at a phase where people will be looking to one vendor to solve their problems, and Sybase is focusing their technology on this."

For Sybase, this isn’t a one-shot deal. The company already has plans for future releases of Enterprise Application Studio, which have been code-named "Vineyard." Future versions are expected in the first half of 1999 and will include support for generating and parsing XML, and a redesigned interface for PowerBuilder.