Blog: Migrate Sybase ASE databases to SQL Server for a security technologies company

DB Best recently completed a project to migrate Sybase ASE databases to SQL Server for a global leader in security technology. Faced with skyrocketing license costs with SAP to renew their out-of-support server instances, our customer needed a way to migrate hundreds of Sybase ASE databases.

To make matters worse, our customer faced upgrading their out of support PowerBuilder applications.

By migrating to SQL Server on commodity Intel based servers, our customer found that they could exceed their performance needs and lower overall licensing costs. Check out the video below to see how we approached the project to migrate Sybase ASE databases to SQL Server.

Reasons to migrate Sybase ASE to SQL Server

Our customer faced several challenges that prompted a serious look at the process to migrate Sybase ASE database to SQL Server on a new hardware:

  • Enormous Sybase ASE license costs to keep support of their older databases.
  • Inability to upgrade their aging IBM platform running AIX to support more memory to meet their performance needs.
  • Lack of talent needed to run the AIX platform with the older version of Sybase ASE.
  • Inability to innovate using the older version of PowerBuilder.

Backed by the migration experience of DB Best and the lower licensing costs of SQL Server, our customer used the savings to fund the migrate Sybase ASE to SQL Server project. More importantly, the availability of SQL Server developers provided our customer with the ability to innovate faster with lower operating costs going forward.

Overview of the customer’s system

The original customer’s system consists of two separate subsystems.

The current state before the migrate Sybase ASE to SQL Server project

System #1 in the diagram above included hundreds of small Sybase ASE databases and two PowerBuilder applications which interacted with these databases. System #2 included one big Sybase ASE database and one PowerBuilder application.

The unique process used to migrate Sybase ASE to SQL Server

Considering the differences of two customer’s systems, we’ve used two different data migration approaches for the each of them.

Optimizing the data transfer as part of the migrate Sybase ASE to SQL Server project

For system #1 we needed a way to automate the initial data load and then capture changes to the data to keep the SQL Server databases in sync with the original production databases. For this, we used DB Best Database Compare Suite again to copy the data and keep the data in sync between pre-deployment SQL Server databases and the production Sybase ASE databases.

For system #2 we used the SQL Server’s Bulk Copy Program (BCP) to transfer the data to the new SQL Server database. Using BCP allows SQL Server to import the data using parallel threads for greater performance. To ensure that the data transfer was accurate we used the Database Compare Suite Data Comparison feature.

Migrate Sybase ASE solutions using the DB Best 12-step process

To minimize risks and to make sure that the migrate Sybase ASE process met our customer’s service level agreements, we used our 12 step database migration process for both systems.

For the schema conversion step, the Microsoft SQL Server Migration Assistant 7.0 for Sybase handled the majority of objects as part of the migrate Sybase ASE to SQL Server process.

We then manually migrated the rest of the Sybase ASE database objects to SQL Server using the guidance we wrote for Microsoft white paper Guide to migrating from Sybase ASE to SQL Server 2014 and Azure SQL Database using SSMA.

We used SSMA to convert the Sybase ASE specific SQL statements embedded in the existing PowerBuilder applications. We used SSMA’s console mode to paste the Sybase ASE statements into the editor and used the convert command to translate them to SQL Server.

After implementing the database changes, we reconnected applications with the newer version of PowerBuilder to point to the SQL Server databases. We then helped our customer through the user acceptance testing process.

Learn more on how to migrate Sybase ASE solutions to SQL Server

Be sure to check out our other Sybase ASE to SQL Server video blog post for a global leader in legal content services

If you want to jumpstart your migrate Sybase ASE to SQL Server projects and increase performance of your database systems, please contact us.

Resources to help migrate Sybase ASE to SQL Server