Sybase Updates Database, Adds Row-Level Locking

Sybase Inc. added its Adaptive Server Enterprise database to the ranks of databases with row-level locking. The Emeryville, Calif., company announced last month that version 11.9.2 of Adaptive Server Enterprise is available on Unix and Windows NT platforms.

By locking rows of data that are in use, a database prevents two or more users from modifying the same row simultaneously. Many application vendors use the technique instead of page-level locking, which Sybase supported in previous versions. "You can take those tables with high concurrency and use row-level locking for better throughput," says Jim Griffin, a senior product manager for Sybase. The new version supports both row- and page-level locking.

Existing versions of most other enterprise databases already supported row-level locking, which gave them an edge in integration with enterprise software applications, such as enterprise resource planning.

Other features in the new version include improved access to index statistics, the ability to list index keys in descending order, support for up to 31 columns in an index and improved dynamic SQL performance through the use of "lightweight stored procedures" that bypass some catalog activity. Also, users can now customize the order in which databases are recovered. Improvements in log record processing, too, promise to speed up the recovery process.

The new features in 11.9.2 are helping Nationsbank Corp. cope with its recent merger with Bank of America Corp., according to Greg Barnard, a senior database administrator and vice president with Bank of America.

For the past three years, Nationsbank was using Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise in its interest rate trading application, which requires real-time replication among 20 database servers on three continents. Already, the system has experienced "contention" with existing server loads. With the merger, system capacity will have to expand by 300 percent.

In search of a solution, Nationsbank participated in the Sybase beta test. "So far what we’ve found is 11.9.2 is solving our contention problems," Barnard says. "We’re very excited about that. I feel we’ve only touched the surface with the capabilities of 11.9.2."

In another announcement, Sybase introduced a suite based on the database, called Enterprise Data Studio. Scheduled to be available by the end of the year, the suite includes Adaptive Server Enterprise 11.9.2, Replication Server, Replication Agents and Direct Connects, for connecting to data in heterogeneous sources, including mainframes.