Linux and Replication: Reducing Cost and Risk in Migrations

With the ever growing and acceptable face of Linux as a cost effective and reliable industrial strength operating system, we have successfully implemented Sybase databases on Red Hat Linux in a distributed environment. The current project utilises two Linux hosts running Red hat Linux 8 (Kernel 2.4.18-26.8) and Red hat Linux 7.2 (Kernel 2.4.7-10) and a SUN host running Solaris 8. All three hosts have instances of Sybase ASE and Replication Server 12.5. Databases are exchanging data in a peer-to-peer mode.

Deploying a sort of farming technique with Sybase on Linux hosts (that is Sybase ASE running on multiple hosts), we believe we can actually achieve better throughput and resilience compared to other leading RDBMS. This is mainly due to scaling which affects the number of active hosts which can be linked together. Our research has shown that these limitations do not apply to Sybase. It is perfectly possible to reduce the workload on the primary server by having multiple Sybase databases on Linux in a peer-to-peer mode. It is also possible to have a combination of Sybase databases running on Solaris and Linux replicated to each other and hence the idea of a heterogeneous environment. Additionally you can replicate DB2, Oracle and Informix databases to and from Sybase as well. This is achieved by means of Sybase's EnterpriseConnect Data Access and Sybase Replication Server products.

New 64-bit processors emerging from AMD and Intel -- whose main focus has until now been desktop chips -- will allow many companies currently locked into expensive computer systems to switch to mainstream chips and open software like Linux. The Itanium line from Intel and the  Hammer range from AMD offer similar performance to the RISC  processors made by the likes of IBM and Sun Microsystems, but aim to achieve desktop-level prices.

Sybase 64-bit ASE on Linux will be out in the first quarter of 2004. With the advent of ASE 64-bit on Linux, the current limitation of 2GB of maximum ASE memory will be lifted and we will get to the point of running mission critical applications on Linux. In this respect heterogeneous solutions can offer a cost effective way migration path to Linux for most organisations. These allow gradual migration of databases from one operating platform to another. For example, you may decide, for a given application, to have your mission critical databases running on Solaris and you feed your replicated data to another system with its database running on Linux.  Gradually you may move everything to Linux for this particular application. The savings are substantial.

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