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Sybase FAQ: 2/19 - ASA

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Part6 - Part7 - Part8 - Part9 - Part10 - Part11 - Part12 - Part13 - Part14 - Part15 - Part16 - Part17 - Part18 - Part19 )
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Archive-name: databases/sybase-faq/part2
Version: 1.7
Maintainer: David Owen
Last-modified: 2003/03/02
Posting-Frequency: posted every 3rd month
A how-to-find-the-FAQ article is posted on the intervening months.

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    0.0    Preamble
    0.1    What is ASA?
    0.2    On what platforms is ASA supported?
    0.3    What applications is ASA good for?
    0.4    When would I choose ASA over ASE?
    0.5    Does ASA Support Replication?
    0.6    What is ASA UltraLite?
    0.7    Links for further information

0.0 Preamble

I make no claims to be an ASA expert!  I am beginning to use it more and more,
and as I use it I am able to add stuff with more authority to this list.  All
of what is here is very general.  I am pressing people to help write some more
meaty parts.   There is nothing here on how to recover from crashes that must
happen, or equivalent sections for those in the the ASE part.  Performance and
Tuning would be a good section!  If anyone out there knows of a good ASA faq,
then send it to me, and I will get it added.  This is a resource that will help
us all.  Come on all you TeamSybase/TeamPowerbuilder people, you must know 
something on the subject <g>.  It is unlikely that this is going to grow into a
particularly useful resource unless I get some serious help!


0.1 What is ASA?

ASA is a fully featured DBMS with transactional integrity, automatic rollback
and recovery, declarative RI, triggers and stored procedures.

While it comes out of Sybase's "Mobile and Embedded" division, it is NOT
limited to "small, desktop applications". There are many ASA implementations
supporting over 100 concurrent users. While not as scalable as ASE, it does
offer SMP support and versions for various Unix flavors as well as Netware and
NT/w2k. Multi-gigabyte databases are commonly used.

ASA offers a number of features that are not to be found in ASE:

  * row level BEFORE and AFTER triggers
  * long varchar and BLOB up to 2 gigabytes
  * varchar up to 32k
  * declarative RI with cascade actions
  * all character and decimal data is stored var-len, using only the space
    it needs

ASA is designed to be low-maintenance:

  * File size automatically grows
  * self-tuning
  * re-uses space from deletes

ASA also includes:

  * Java stored procs
  * Stored procedure debugger (I am not sure what sort of debugger, just that
    it has one.)


0.2 On what platforms is ASA supported?


  * Windows 95/98/ME, NT, 2000, CE
  * Novell NetWare
  * Solaris/SPARC
  * Solaris/Intel
  * Linux (RedHat)
  * HP-UX


0.3 What applications is ASA good for?

ASA seems to have a number of niches.  It is generally good at OLTP and can be
used as a basis for a general database project.  There are certainly examples
of implementations supporting 100 or more users.

A major area for ASA databases is with applications that need to distribute the
database with the application as a general storage area for internal
components, but the database is not a major part of the deliverable.  Sybase
themselves have done this with the IQ meta data storage.  Prior to release 11
of IQ, the meta data was stored in an ASE database.  Now, with IQ 12, the meta
data has moved to being stored in ASA.  This makes the installation of IQ into
production environments much simpler.

ASA has excellent ODBC support, which makes it very attractive to tools
oriented towards ODBC.


0.4 When would I choose ASA over ASE?

  * Ease of administration,e.g., self-tuning optimizer, db file is an OS file
    (not partition).
  * Lower footprint - runs on "smaller" machines.
  * Lower cost, ASA is definitely cheaper than ASE on the same platform.
  * Want to use SQL Remote (asynchronous replication)
  * More complete SQL92 implementation.


0.5 Does ASA Support Replication?

In short, yes.  ASA comes with SQL Remote, an asynchronous replication server.
  SQL Remote is intended to be used in applications where the replication is
not intended to happen immediately.  In fact, it may well be hours or even days
before the databases are synchronised.  This makes it ideal for the roaming
salesman type apps where the guy is on the road all day and then dials in from
home, hotel or beach front to re-synch his pay price list with the master


0.6 What is ASA UltraLite?

UltraLite is a version of ASA that runs on handheld devices.

Windows 95/98, NT, 2000, CE
Palm Computing platform
WindRiver VxWorks
Symbian EPOC


0.7 I'm interested, where can I find more info?

Breck Carter has a very useful page at that is
full of detail.

General information can be found about ASA at:

It is a bit of a marketing page but there are some pointers to white papers

A very well written reviewers guide can be found at

The page has a link to a pdf document that contains lots of useful information.

User Contributions:

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM