SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise

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Adaptive Server Enterprise

by Faulkner Staff

Docid: 00012994

Publication Date: 2110

Report Type: PRODUCT


SAP offers the Adaptive Server
Enterprise (ASE) relational database management system to handle the large
amounts of information inherent in an enterprise environment. SAP ASE provides
advanced compression capabilities as well as features for optimizing
storage, increasing application developer productivity, enhancing
diagnostics and monitoring, and improving security administration. Its
current version is 16.0, which added support for SAP HANA in-memory data
platform, partition locking
capabilities, full-text auditing, query plan optimization with star
joins, and other features.

Report Contents:


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SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) is designed for use in decision
support and online transaction processing (OLTP). ASE was originally developed
by Sybase, which was acquired by SAP in 2010.

ASE is a relational database management system that uses a client/server,
three-tier architecture. The platform allows a company to manage Web and
database content in heterogeneous environments, often working with unstructured data.
ASE includes tools for storing and searching XML documents and executing
Java in the database, and also features XQL, a query language that allows
administrators to search XML information in a database. The platform
enables developers to access non-relational data from within the database
without the need for an external program or additional coding.

Version 16
features a number of new capabilities such as multiple trigger
support, index compression, HANA support, run-time locking, metadata and
latch enhancements, full-text auditing, residual data removal, query plan
and execution statistics in HTML, and auditing for authorization checks
inside stored procedures. Enhancements include the ability to
view the SSL certificate expiration date, the ability to enable latch-free
indexes at the database level, the ability to audit the truncation of
audit tables, the option to limit the number of elements in the in clause,
and enhanced HCB index auto tuning.

SAP has stated that ASE 16 has an end of mainstream maintenance date of 12/31/2025. The company
reports that, as it continues to transition to the cloud, including the
introduction of SAP HANA Cloud, it is committed to the long-term
maintenance and support of SAP ASE on-premises. It has not announced that
ASE 16 is the last version of the product.

SAP SE – Walldorf
Dietmar-Hopp-Allee 16
69190 Walldorf Germany
Tel: +49 (0) 6227 / 7-47474
Fax: +49 (0) 6227 / 7-57575
Type of Vendor: E-Business Software and Services
Founded: 1972
Service Areas: Global
Stock Symbol: SAP (NYSE)

ASE software supports online applications and allows users to handle online
transaction processing (OLTP)
and decision support requirements using a single system. Through its
distributed capabilities, ASE permits hundreds of users to concurrently
update large databases, while allowing managers to perform data analysis in
real-time. ASE operates using a logical memory manager, tunable block
I/O, and data partitioning. Tailored for use in distributed, client/server
environments, ASE offers multithreaded operation, server-enforced data and
transaction integrity, online distributed RDBMS capabilities, interactive
query processing, and PC access to SQL databases. ASE features support for
XML, XML Query Language (XQL), and Enterprise Java Beans (EJB), as well as
security features such as row-level access control and encrypted

SAP ASE is available in several editions, including:

  • ASE Cluster Edition – For deploying a database
    application across a shared-disk cluster.
  • ASE Developer’s Edition – For high-performance
  • ASE Small Business Edition – Supports up to 256
    simultaneous connections on up to four CPUs.
  • ASE Enterprise Edition – No limit on scalability and
    supports all options that can be purchased or licensed separately.

ASE provides security options and new features touted as boosting
performance while reducing operational costs and risk. It can be used to
exploit new technologies such as grids and clusters, service-oriented
architectures, and real-time messaging products.

Table 1 below outlines some additional features for select editions of

Table 1. Various Editions of SAP ASE
Feature Express Edition Platform Edition Edge Edition Cluster Edition Enterprise Edition
Maximum number of CPUs/Engines 1 No Limit No Limit No Limit No Limit
Maximum memory size 2GB No Limit No Limit No Limit No Limit
Maximum database size 5GB No Limit No Limit No Limit No Limit
Maximum number of concurrent connections No Limit No Limit No Limit No Limit No Limit
Encryption No Included Included Optional Optional
In-memory database N/A No
Available (Included as part of the database MemScale option)
Not Available No Available
Disaster Recovery N/A Not
Not available No Optional

DBMS Architecture. SAP ASE is a multithreaded relational
database server that provides a platform for developing distributed
applications. The product supports both transaction and integrity logic at
the server through the use of stored procedures. Transaction logic is
implemented through a special type of stored procedure called a “trigger.”
A trigger consists of multiple, precompiled SQL statements that are run
based on an action in the database, including updating, adding, or
deleting a record. This code can enforce company policy, for example, by
ensuring that orders are only scheduled for shipment if the customer has
no outstanding bills. Triggers and stored procedures act faster since they
do not have to be compiled, thus increasing system response time.

Database Language. SAP has built tight integration with
Java into the ASE platform. The server includes a JavaSoft-compliant Java
Virtual Machine (JVM) within the database. Developers can thus write,
store, and execute Java code within the database. The server also supports
the Java/SQL interfaces defined in the SQLJ standard, allowing developers
to write stored procedures in a mix of Java and SQL, if desired.

SAP added support for XML as well. This feature allows developers to
create, store, retrieve, and query standard XML-formatted documents. Parts
of XML documents can be extracted for storing in relational columns, and
the complete document can be stored for future processing.

Performance. ASE has a Logical Memory Manager (LMM) that
uses intelligent, optimized cache management to manage large memory
requirements against speed processing and handle multiple applications
simultaneously. This allows the single global cache to be divided into a
series of tailored caches, matching the content of each cache to the
current workload requirements of the system. By attaching database objects
to these named caches, important transactions and queries are prevented
from being impacted by less critical work. In addition, table partitions
accelerate access to data stored on disk by dividing tables into logical
segments, and in-place updates eliminate data movement and input/output
for data stored in memory.

Similarly, the Logical Process Manager (LPM) allows users to allocate CPU
resources to individual applications. The purpose of the allocation is to
ensure that low priority work does not impact high priority work.
Together, the LMM and LPM provide users with the ability to support
resource-intensive operations, such as report generation, without
producing an adverse affect on the performance of other mission-critical

Data Dictionary Functions. ASE’s data dictionary
functions provide support for global stored procedures, definition of data
relationships and referential integrity constraints, and triggers. This
information is maintained on a server and is available to all applications
using the system while being applied to all data sources within the SAP
data network. Previously available through SAP OmniSQL Gateway, support
for global stored procedures operating against non-SAP data sources is now
offered through ASE.

Stored procedures and triggers support the configuration of logical data
integrity constraints at the field level. As data fields are defined,
users can specify rules for data within each field; users, for example,
can require that referential integrity is maintained, that calls to remote
servers are performed, or that other data values are within specified
thresholds for the transaction to be committed. Once defined, these
procedures are compiled and stored in the system’s data dictionary. This
offers an enormous benefit within the distributed environment because all
such rules are written once and placed in a centralized location where
they can be quickly and easily updated as required.

Distributed Operation. ASE provides distributed
relational database management and relational and non-relational database
access. The product supports fully distributed operation within a
homogeneous LAN environment. Multiple Adaptive Server Enterprise databases
can be distributed across multiple servers and function as a single
integrated RDBMS system. Any client system can connect to one or more
databases on one or more server systems transparently and view and modify
information as required. SAP provides all security, integrity, and control
functions within the environment. It performs server-to-server
communications via remote procedure calls (RPCs), allowing users to
interface with a single Adaptive Server Enterprise, regardless of how many
servers the application needs to access.

ASE supports distributed database functions logically, using either
two-phase commit, whereby distributed data sources are readied for commit
and then committed when an update action occurs to ensure that updates are
applied or rolled back consistently, or the separately available
Replication Server, which allows users to replicate a central database to
remote sites and maintain consistency between all replicated data.

Replication Server. SAP Replication Server replicates data on every server in the
network, and the data is kept in concurrency through a coordinated system
of writing to all servers after each transaction. Replication
Server affords near real-time support for distributed data and
transactions, but allows the system to continue to operate, even if one or
more sites go offline.

Replication Server, which supports all major platforms, ensures that each
site has a consistent copy of the replicated data, with one site selected
as the primary data server. When an update is made at a non-primary site,
the software acts as if it is operating on local data to make the update.
Replication Server, however, transmits the operation to the primary server
and, once the change is committed, relays the update to all secondary
sites to bring them back into concurrency. In this scenario, if a
secondary site goes down, all other processing is unaffected. When the
system comes back online, the Replication Server automatically brings the
server back into concurrence with the others. If the primary site goes
down, processing is automatically switched to a secondary site that was
selected as a backup, and processing continues unaffected through the rest
of the network.

Mirroring. SAP designs its products for 24×7 operation.
ASE users can perform system administration and maintenance operations
(such as modifying data definition information, running backups, and
performing diagnostics) while the system is running. Features such as
mirrored transaction logging also speed the recovery of the system if an
interruption occurs. A Cluster Fault Tolerant (CFT) feature enables
multiple CPUs to be configured redundantly, allowing one to be reserved
for backup. If the primary CPU fails, Adaptive Server Enterprise activates
the backup CPU, connects to all applications, recovers all database
information, and proceeds with normal operation.

Transaction Logging. SAP supports disk mirroring for
database, index, and journal files, and operates on fault-tolerant
hardware platforms. Mirroring functions let the system continue operation
if one of the drives fails; drives can be replaced and brought back online
without impacting operation.

Stored Data Integrity. Logical data integrity is
determined by the user at the time a database is configured via stored
procedures and triggers. As data fields are defined, users can specify
rules for data within each field; for example, users can require that
referential integrity is maintained, that calls to remote servers are
performed, or that other data values are within specified thresholds for
the transaction to be committed. Once defined, these procedures are
compiled and stored in the system’s data dictionary.

Auditing Tool. ASE features a built-in auditing tool that allows system
administrators to audit database activity throughout the network. The
software enhances security by validating and authenticating all ASE login
attempts, recording auditable events as assigned by the administrator, and
reporting on audit data, as required. Also, ASE is compliant with the C2
level of trust specified by the US National Computer Security Center
(NCSC), and is password secure.

Open Client Toolkit. The Open Client toolkit provides
access to both ASE and Open Server data sources for SAP and third-party
applications. The product’s Net Library is used to handle network
operations so that the applications are fully independent from the
underlying communications protocols as well as the physical source of the
data requested. Net Library handles NetWare SPX/IPX, TCP/IP, and other

Open Client supports multiple native APIs, including Microsoft ODBC,
Borland IDAPI, and IBM’s DRDA. Embedded SQL, ODBC, and IDAPI calls are
translated by the software into native Open Client CT-Library calls, RPC,
and SQL requests for data. These are then broadcast onto the network,
where the appropriate Adaptive or Open Server can then act on the requests
as they are received, perform the required data selection, and return
blocks of information to each requestor. Routing of data across the
network is managed by Net Library APIs.

Application Development Tools. PowerBuilder is an
object-oriented tool for creating client/server applications for Windows,
Windows NT, Macintosh, HP-UX, AIX, and Oracle clients. These applications
can then run against the SAP RDBMS or against data maintained in Oracle or
IBM DB2 databases via the Open Database Connectivity interface or ASE.

End User Applications. Because Open Client provides APIs
for standard application development – such as Microsoft ODBC and
Borland IDAPI – any program written to any of the supported standards
can act as the front-end to the SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise or Open
Server systems. Use of SAP gateway products allows users to extend these
capabilities to support transparent access to information in other RDBMSs,
such as Oracle and IBM. Users can perform ad hoc SQL requests using their
front-end system of choice without the need for any programming to allow
the exchange. SAP gateways provide the added benefit of allowing users to
update data online in real-time.

Operational Control Features. ASE includes operational
control features that ease administration of the system. These features
include a configurable audit trail, chargeback accounting, and an
automated routine log dump. Previous Sybase standalone products, including
the Backup Server and SQL Monitor, have been built into Adaptive Server
Enterprise, optimizing the security, planning, and designing capabilities
of the database environments.


ASE is technologically-comparable to rival products, and SAP claims that
ASE is associated with 50 percent of all Wall Street transactions as well
as an inordinately large proportion of mission-critical healthcare and
telecommunications system implementations. The SAP platform has long
maintained strong presence in a series of markets, posting strong database
sales in industries such as financial services, health care, government,
and telecommunications, as well as in countries such as China. ASE has
also shown notable strength in the Linux market.

The SAP database server performs well for mixed-workload SMP
environments. With built-in distributed access for doing replication
between SAP and non-SAP environments, Adaptive Server Enterprise is also
well-suited for supporting distributed transaction processing
environments. Another plus is the system’s support for Java and XML,
especially as SAP continues to add Java- and XML-related features to the
product. A final strength is the LPM feature, which greatly enhances the
database’s resource allocation capabilities.


The SAP platform, once the second-leading database in the market behind
only Oracle, now also trails Microsoft’s SQL Server platform and
the IBM DB2 database. According to some, part of SAP’s struggles has to do
with the company’s other database, SQL Anywhere. While some maintain that
ASE lags behind the market leaders in terms of overall features, SQL
Anywhere does not. SQL Anywhere can run on servers or be embedded in
applications or even handheld devices.

SAP ASE also fails to provide full text-search features as part of the
server’s kernel. This is an important element of electronic commerce and
its absence can be a serious drawback for some potential users.

In 2015, SAP fixed a major login flaw that could allow a hacker to take
control over a database. Versions affected were 12.5, 15, 15.5, 15.7 and
16.1 In June 2020, SAP released security patches to resolve
vulnerabilities that could let attackers gain full control of databases
and servers.2


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SAP’s ASE is used in small to large enterprises. Clients can include PCs,
major UNIX-and Linux-based systems, terminals, and Apple Macintosh
computers linked by a local area network to the server. ASE also supports
a variety of server hardware, including major midrange computer systems
from Hewlett-Packard and others. The company reports Portima, Ouro Minas,
Telfort, China Railway Express, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, New
South Wales Health, Addison Lee, and Metropolitan Health Group as


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ASE can be used with the following platforms: HP-UX 11i v3, AIX IBM Power
64-bit, Linux IBM Power 64-bit, Linux x86 64-bit, Solaris SPARC 64-bit,
Solaris x86 64-bit, Windows x86 64-bit, Windows x86.


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SAP offers a Worldwide Technical Support program that provides 24×7
assistance with online applications to customers both during development
and after deployment. SAP also offers instruction for end users,
application developers, and system administrators through its Customer
Education Classes. Users may purchase educational products through the SAP
Web site.

The vendor offers maintenance contracts and makes software upgrades
available to customers with such contracts at no charge. SAP also offers
assistance with financing through its SAP Financial Services arm, which
provides financing alternatives, including capital and operating leases
and custom payment plans.


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ASE Small Business Edition is now limited to machines with a maximum
configuration of two chips (also known as sockets in pricing context). SAP
offers a free evaluation version of ASE. It features unlimited engines,
memory, users, and database size, and includes ASE options. It is free of
charge for 90 days, and the evaluation period can be extended for one
year. Pricing for SAP ASE is detailed in Table 2 below; more detailed
pricing information is available directly from SAP.

Table 2. SAP ASE Pricing
Version Purchase Price (USD)
ASE Developer Edition 195
ASE Small Business Server License: 1,495
Chip License: 5,495
ASE Enterprise Edition (for
HP-UX, AIX, and Solaris)
Server License: 4,395
CPU License: 33,202.50/CPU
ASE Enterprise Edition (for
Linux and Windows)
Server License: 4,395
CPU License: 22,135/CPU


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SAP ASE’s top competition includes: IBM DB2, Oracle’s 12c
Database, Microsoft’s SQL Server, Teradata’s Enterprise Data Warehouse,
and open-source database offerings such as Oracle’s MySQL database and

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1 Jeremy Kirk. “SAP Patches Login Flaw in ASE Database.”
. April 23, 2015.

2 Lucian Constantin. “Install Latest SAP Adaptive Server
Enterprise Patches, Experts Urge.” CSO. June 3, 2020.


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