Sunday, January 2, 2011

why sybase still popular on Wall Street, again

Despite many people complaining and predicting the decline of sybase on Wall St, sybase continues to be the database of choice in everyday decisions.

Protection -- Sybase was built for Wall Street. It doesn't have major shortcomings for Wall St.
Protection -- sybase is considered robust enough.
Protection -- sybase tuning is much easier than Oracle, according to an Oracle employee
Protection: performance -- One veteran, a data warehousing expert, found bcp much faster than Oracle or others. My DB2 trainer said for small tables (below 100 mil rows) sybase outperforms Oracle/DB2

Protection: legacy -- As explained in my blog, a lot of Wall St banks prefer stored procedures rather than embedded SQL in java/c/c#. They go to extreme lengths to externalize all embedded queries into stored proc. As a Wall St veteran puts it, to convert Sybase stored proc to Oracle is such a big effort it's like rewriting the app. I feel it's like rewriting from C to java

Unlike java/dotnet code, SQL is dense in business logic. About 99% SQL source code is pure business logic, but less than 25% of java code is business logic. To rewrite a single SQL from Sybase syntax to Oracle is often equivalent to rewriting a few java classes. Risky, test-intensive, fearful, complicated. Backward compatibility is hard to prove. Even embedded SQL use Sybase features, so converting to DB2 will require backward compatibility assurance as well.
 
New applications might use Oracle, DB2 or MSSQL.

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