BACKGROUND:aRenDeeco, Inc., is a Calgary, Alberta-based software development and consulting company specializing in cutting-edge Web and client/server development and services. Its main product focus is in providing low cost, yet highly effective tools for professional developers using Java, PowerBuilder, Visual Basic and various C/C++. aRenDeeco's consulting practice also revolves around the previously mentioned technologies with particular emphasis on Java, PowerBuilder and Power++.

PLATFORMS: Intel Pentium machines with WinNT and Win95.

PROBLEM SOLVED: aRenDeeco needed a high-performance, easy-to-install and maintain database with full rollback, SQL, referential integrity and programming (stored procedures/triggers) support. Sybase Adaptive Server Anywhere 6.0 provided the necessary solution.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Sybase Adaptive Server Anywhere 6.0 is performing very well. In the future, we expect to use the multi-processor support. We also expect to more fully use the Java objects/language capabilities.

STRENGTHS: The number one benefit of Adaptive Server Anywhere 6.0 is that it gives us a high-performance database that is self-maintaining. We don't need database administrators to do routine maintenance. Secondly, the product's full support for SQL and related aspects (i.e., a very powerful set of integrity options, including the expected referential integrity) and features such as cascade update/delete and auto-increment fields, create a versatile product. Another important benefit is the new support for Java. We can now have Java objects as columns, including all the expected Java language/object features. This allows us to have full object-oriented capability in a relational database. It is important to us that all the Java capabilities are available when accessing it through any tool. The new features are backward compatible with older tools and even easier and more powerful with Java tools. Adaptive Server Anywhere 6.0's scalability is another key benefit. We run it on very small machines (286s) all the way up to Pentium machines. Previous versions run on 8088s under DOS. When we need higher performance in the future, our current version of Adaptive Server Anywhere 6.0 will run with multiple processors with no changes in software.

WEAKNESSES: The biggest weakness is marketing. Sybase has a "higher-end" product (Adaptive Server Enterprise) that prevents them from really marketing the advantages of Adaptive Server Anywhere 6.0. As a result, many of our customers are hesitant to use it. The other weakness is that this is the first release of Java objects. In the current release, we can only have Java objects at the column level. We would like to have Java objects at the table level (one object instance per table) and at the database level.

SELECTION CRITERIA: One of the most important reasons we chose Adaptive Server Anywhere is total cost for the performance.

DELIVERABLES: Adaptive Server Anywhere 6.0 stores data in all shapes and sizes. It stores data for all our programming now and in the future, including traditional accounting/management data and Web pages. We also use it to store the data of many of our customers.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The vendor provides proactive support on news groups. The actual developers spend time on these news groups answering questions. Having contact with actual developers and a series of professionals has been the best part of working with the vendor.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is excellent for any programmer or database administrator. We ran the product easily, referring only to the documentation provided.

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