SQL Server vs. Sybase: Which is better?

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Difference between SQL Server and Sybase

In the fiercely competitive world of database software with various brands coming up as the next big thing in data management, two names often come up in contention with each other are Microsoft’s SQL Server and Sybase Adaptive Server. Each software has its own strengths and drawbacks of course, but on the whole they appear to be similarly equipped to handle a wide variety of uses–even with some overlap. In any case, a closer look at the two is worth considering and here we look at the SQL Server 2000 and the Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise 12.5.

SQL Server

Supported Platforms

SQL Server works only on the Windows platform although it does offer pretty extensive support for other allowable platforms - allowing the use of Windows 9x, Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows CE. Sybase offers supports for virtually every platform out there including the Windows-based ones, AIX, HP-UX, Linux Intel, Sun Solaris and many more.


It is actually quite difficult to make a performance comparison between the two as both are really quite capable systems at the core. In addition, the performance that you will realize is greatly dependent upon a considerable number of factors, among them the experience levels of the developers and the administrator. In any case, both systems can be used effectively for building stable and reliable RDBMS.

Varieties, Licenses And Pricing

One of the main advantages of SQL Server over Sybase is its cost. SQL Server 2000 comes in at quite a bit cheaper than Sybase, which may be an important factor for some users. That being said, Sybase does offer excellent value for the money given its extensive feature set and wider compatibility, so cost may yet still be a secondary factor.

SQL Server is available under two licenses: the Processor license and the Server/per-seat client access license. Each processor license can only be used for a single CPU, although unlimited client access is allowed. The Server/per-seat client access license on the other hand requires licenses for the server as well as each client.

Sybase actually comes in two main varieties: ASE Workplace and ASE Enterprise. Both of these are available two licensing options: the Processor license and the Server/Networked Seat. The processor license is currently offered only for the LINUX platform, with only the Server/Networked Seat licenses available for other platforms.


SQL Server

  • Works only on the Windows platforms (with support for Windows 9x, Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows CE)
  • Can be used in for stable and efficient RDBMS systems
  • More affordable price
  • Offers Processor and Server/per-seat client access licensing options


  • Offers support for all platforms (with support for Windows platforms, AIX systems, HP-UX systems, Linux Intel, Sun Solaris and more)
  • Can also be used for RDBMS applications
  • Available in two varieties: ASE Workplace and ASE Enterprise
  • Offers two licensing options: Processor license and Server/Networked Seat


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