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What Is an Adaptive Server Enterprise?

R. Kimball
R. Kimball

Adaptive Server Enterprise is a proprietary relational database management system developed by Sybase. A relational database management system organizes information in a manner so that many different computers may work together in a network. Sybase released the initial version of this product for UNIX operating systems in 1987 as Sybase SQL Server. The product’s name was changed to Adaptive Server Enterprise in 1996.

This particular relational database management system is used by enterprise class systems that support thousands of concurrent users. Many of the world’s banks and other financial institutions use Adaptive Server Enterprise as the database for their mission-critical systems. This database management system may be placed onto many different operating systems, such as UNIX, LINUX, Windows NT/200x, and MAC OS X. Since the system operates on diverse operating systems, it is used frequently for online transaction processing and electronic commerce across the Internet.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

In order to provide true client-server technology, a system must use a solid relational database management system. Client-server technology is where most processing is completed on the server machine when the client machine requests information from the server. Many experts believe Adaptive Server Enterprise was the first true client-server relational database management system. Other companies added client-server functionality as a part of their systems in the middle 1990s.

Processing throughout the Adaptive Server Enterprise is limited to two major processes. One process is used for storing or modifying data within the database, and a separate process is used for backing up data stored on the database. Other relational database management systems use multiple processes to store or modify data within their databases. Experts argue that reducing the number of processes allows a database to run more efficiently. When an organization is supporting large numbers of concurrent users and processing thousands of transactions a minute, small efficiencies may add up to big improvements in functionality for the system as a whole.

Open source database management systems are sometimes compared to Adaptive Server Enterprise, but even though both types of systems are relational database management systems, they were created for different markets. The open source systems were created for environments with a limited number of concurrent users processing a limited number of transactions each hour. Adaptive Server Enterprise was created for those organizations supporting a large group of users who process millions of transactions a day. As an organization considers which relational database system it will choose, total cost of ownership is a big factor. The total cost of ownership includes the license fee, maintenance costs, downtime, and number of employees needed to manage the system itself.

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