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Sybase vs. Oracle: Users speak out

Users respond to a recent column touting the merits of Sybase on Linux over Oracle as a database management system (DBMS). Some say Sybase is easier to manage; others claim Oracle is more stable and more powerful.

A recent column by Mich Talebzedah touting the merits of Sybase on Linux over Oracle as a database management system (DBMS) has our readers riled up.

Anil Mahadev is a DBA and tech writer whose company, based in India, manages Oracle, SQL Server, DB2 and Sybase databases. Having worked with both Oracle and Sybase systems, Mahadev finds that Sybase is "definitely easier to manage and use." He cited seven reasons to opt for Sybase, including programming advantages, startup time and ease of installation. He also concurs with Talebzedah's claim that switching from Sybase to Oracle is rarely worth the trouble.

"The migration process between these two databases is like hitting yourself in the head twice," Mahadev said.

Mahadev concludes with the statement that while Oracle is still the preferred platform for many beginning DBAs and developers, more experienced database enthusiasts have more freedom of choice. reader Ryan Putnam, a DBA and ETL admin at ISOSF, agrees that Sybase is easier to learn and use than Oracle. "It took me about a week to learn Sybase and a year to learn Oracle. Sybase's tools are much easier to use and they always seem to work," he said. He has found installation and day-to-day maintenance and tuning in Oracle systems to be more time-consuming. In addition, he prefers Sybase's development language.

"Transact-SQL is much easier to use than PL/SQL. PL/SQL is too complicated for what it offers," Putnam said. "I think I'll stick with Sybase."

In contrast, programmer Maike Dulk has developed many Oracle-based applications in the past and is now working with Sybase. "I used to work with SQL*Plus and PL/SQL," Dulk said. "I find Sybase TSQL very limited."

In addition, Dulk complains of performance problems with stored procedure calls and other features in Sybase 12.5.3 Server. She is reluctant to blame these fully on the environment, but said she had better experiences with Oracle and PostgreSQL.

Jim Bell, has been an Oracle DBA for many years and currently works for Lockheed Martin, also disagrees with the thrust of the article. He claims that those who find Oracle to be difficult to use simply lack training or experience.

"The fact is that Oracle on Unix is the most stable system in the world, particularly for large databases, and the most manageable," he said. "Most people who say Oracle is tough to manage do not know enough Oracle. If you truly understand the complexities of the Oracle database, you will find that Oracle is one of the most flexible and powerful databases in the world."

Bell went on to say that Sybase and SQL Server were too limited for large systems.

Do you have something to add to the debate over these two systems? If you have experience with both Sybase and Oracle, email us with your opinion!

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