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Posted Apr 24, 2003

A Comparison of SQL Server 2000 With Sybase ASE 12.5 - Page 4

By Alexander Chigrik

Features comparison

Both SQL Server 2000 and Sybase ASE 12.5 support the ANSI SQL-92 entry level and do not support the ANSI SQL-92 intermediate level. In the Features comparison section of this article I want to make a brief comparison of the SQL Server T-SQL with Sybase T-SQL dialect and show some SQL Server 2000 and Sybase ASE 12.5 limits.

Microsoft T-SQL vs Sybase T-SQL

Microsoft SQL Server and Sybase ASE have a common heritage because, until version 4.2, Microsoft simply licensed Sybase's database server software. So these products had one kernel. After version 4.2, these products have diverged. Microsoft has produced versions 6.0, 6.5, 7.0, and 2000 of Microsoft SQL Server, while Sybase has produced versions 4.8, 4.9, System 10 and System 11 of Sybase SQL Server and versions 11.5, 11.9, 12, and 12.5 of Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise.

Because Microsoft SQL Server and Sybase ASE had one kernel, they have some similar features now. For example, the dialect of SQL supported by both Microsoft and Sybase is called Transact-SQL (T-SQL). To distinguish these dialects, we will call them Microsoft T-SQL and Sybase T-SQL accordingly. Both of these dialects are very similar, so the migration to SQL Server 2000 from the Sybase ASE 12.5 (or vice versa) can be made much easier than the migration to SQL Server 2000 from Oracle 9i or IBM DB2 v8.1.

This is the brief comparison of Microsoft T-SQL and Sybase T-SQL:

Feature Sybase T-SQL Microsoft T-SQL
Indexes B-Tree indexes B-Tree indexes
Tables Relational tables,
Temporary tables
Relational tables,
Temporary tables
Triggers login triggers,
AFTER triggers
AFTER triggers,
INSTEAD OF triggers
Procedures Sybase T-SQL statements,
SQLJ stored procedure (SQL
wrapper to a Java static method)
Microsoft T-SQL statements
User-defined functions SQLJ functions (SQL wrapper
to a Java static method)
Scalar functions,
Inline table-valued functions,
Multistatement table-valued functions
Indexed Views Not Supported Supported
Multiple Triggers Not Supported Supported
Arrays Not Supported Not Supported

SQL Server 2000 and Sybase ASE 12.5 limits

Some SQL Server 2000 and Sybase ASE 12.5 limitations:

Feature SQL Server 2000 Sybase ASE 12.5
database name length 128 30
table name length 128 30
view name length 128 30
column name length 128 30
index name length 128 30
triggers name length 128 30
procedures name length 128 30
defaults name length 128 30
rules name length 128 30
cursor name length 128 30
nested triggers levels 32 16
columns referenced by a view 4096 1024
columns per SELECT statement 4096 1024
max indexes per table 250 250
bytes per index 900 600 for 2K page,
1250 for 4K page,
2600 for 8K page,
5300 for 16K page
columns per index 16 31
parameters per stored procedure 1024 255
text of a stored procedure 250MB 16MB
nested stored procedure levels 32 16
nested subqueries 32 16
tables per SELECT statement 256 50
columns in GROUP BY, ORDER BY Limited only by number
of bytes (8060)


It is not true that SQL Server 2000 is better than Sybase ASE 12.5 or vice versa. Both products can be used to build stable and efficient systems and the stability and effectiveness of your applications and databases depend on the experience of the database developers and database administrator rather than from the database's provider. But SQL Server 2000 has some advantages in comparison with Sybase ASE 12.5 and vice versa.

The SQL Server 2000 advantages:

  • SQL Server 2000 is cheaper to buy than Sybase ASE 12.5.
  • SQL Server 2000 holds the top TPC-C performance and price/performance results.
  • SQL Server 2000 is generally accepted as easier to install, use and manage.

The Sybase ASE 12.5 advantages:

  • Sybase ASE 12.5 supports all known platforms, not only the Windows-based platforms.
  • More fine-tuning to the configuration can be done via start-up parameters.


1. SQL Server 2000 Books Online
2. How to Buy
3. Adaptive Server Enterprise
4. Installation Guide Adaptive Server Enterprise for Windows NT
5. Installation Guide Adaptive Server Enterprise for IBM RISC System/6000 AIX
6. Installation Guide Adaptive Server Enterprise for HP-UX
7. Installation Guide Adaptive Server Enterprise for Linux/Intel
8. Installation Guide Adaptive Server Enterprise for Silicon Graphics IRIX
9. Installation Guide Adaptive Server Enterprise for Sun Solaris
10. Top Ten TPC-C by Performance Version 5 Results
11. Top Ten TPC-C by Price/Performance Version 5 Results

» See All Articles by Columnist Alexander Chigrik

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