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Adaptive Server Enterprise
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that started life in the mid-eighties [first release?] as
"Sybase SQL Server". For a number of years Microsoft was a
Sybase distributor, reselling the Sybase product for OS/2
and (later) Windows NT under the name "Microsoft SQL
Around 1994, Microsoft basically bought a copy of the sourcecode of Sybase SQL Server and then went its own way. As
competitors, Sybase and Microsoft have been developing their
products independently ever since. Microsoft has mostly
emphasised ease-of-use and "Window-ising" the product, while
Sybase has focused on maximising performance and reliability,
and running on high-end hardware.
When releasing version 11.5 in 1997, Sybase renamed its
product to "ASE" to better distinguish its database from
Microsoft's. Both ASE and MS SQL Server call their query
language "Transact-SQL" and they are very similar.
Sybase SQL Server was the first true client-server RDBMS
which was also capable of handling real-world workloads. In
contrast, other DBMSs have long been monolithic programs; for
example, Oracle only "bolted on" client-server functionality
in the mid-nineties. Also, Sybase SQL Server was the first
commercially successful RDBMS supporting stored procedures
and triggers, and a cost-based query optimizer.