November 25, 1996 10 AM ET

Sybase OLAP plan may get the boot
By Juan Carlos Perez

  Sybase Inc., which may be close to killing its long-standing "Highgate" OLAP project, will announce next week an upgrade to its IQ database that could help fill that gap.

At DB/Expo in New York, Sybase will release Version 11.1 of IQ, a database server optimized for accessing and analyzing data warehouse stores faster than traditional RDBMSes (relational DBMSes).

Version 11.1 will feature new hardware support, enhanced cache memory management and other improvements designed to boost IQ's query speed by as much as 60 percent, sources said.

IQ can be used to perform interactive queries for decision support--a task that was to be the specialty of Highgate. As a result, there's much speculation regarding the fate of that project.

"The Highgate project is progressing slower than anticipated, and Sybase is working actively with ROLAP [relational online analytical processing] vendors like Microstrategy to more closely integrate Sybase IQ with OLAP," said Sanju Bansal, chief operating officer at Microstrategy Inc., in Vienna, Va. "Our relationship has definitely heated up in the last 30 to 60 days."

Microstrategy's DSS suite of products comprises middle-tier servers that turn relational data into multidimensional views for OLAP. Microstrategy partners with many major RDBMS vendors, including Sybase, to offer ROLAP solutions.

"I haven't heard anything about Highgate in about a year," said Richard Finkelstein, president of Performance Computing Inc., a consultancy in Chicago. "There's no one talking about it, no one promoting it."

David Hsieh, vice president of middleware marketing for Sybase, declined to comment on the status of Highgate. He acknowledged that OLAP is a key part of Sybase's decision-support strategy, adding that those efforts will continue to grow through partnerships.

"With the rapid acceptance of Sybase IQ in the marketplace, we're being pressed by customers to embrace and integrate OLAP technologies," said Hsieh. "As a company that believes in open solutions, Sybase is working with a number of vendors to marry our technology strengths with others."

IQ's forthcoming enhancements, including support for Hewlett-Packard Co. and Digital Equipment Corp. servers in addition to Solaris and AIX, should help bolster the OLAP efforts for users.

"Speed is important in this business, for sure," said Ray Lackey, systems and database manager for Statistics Canada, a federal government office in Ottawa.

Sybase IQ 11.1 Features

  • Enhanced cache memory
  • Improved support for SQL operators such as "groupby" and "IN"
  • Support for HP-UX and Digital Unix

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