Oracle or Sybase
Photo: Feliciano Guimarães 

A question we often hear from customers preparing to deploy BPPM is which backend database we recommend, Sybase or Oracle.

For the longest time, the only database option available for ProactiveNet was the built-in Sybase ASE.  That made it an easy decision for many.  However, starting with BMC ProactiveNet Performance Management (BPPM) 8.6, Oracle has also been supported for the backend database. As you might expect, there are pluses and minuses either way.  Hopefully this discussion will help as you ponder the question for yourself.

This post started from an email I have been circulating among the Advantis team for the last year or so.  The email starts off with: “I can sell it either way…”  That’s true, but there’s more to it than that.

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Sybase or Oracle?

The first question I ask in response is: “Do you have Oracle DBAs in house to manage the database for you?”

While Sybase is provided by BMC as part of the BPPM license and gets installed as part of the application, Oracle does not.  Oracle needs to be provided and licensed by you.  It also needs to be installed (on a separate server) and configured independently of the BPPM installation.  Therefore, if you don’t have DBAs on-site to assist with this then the answer is easy – use the canned, BMC-provided, Sybase database.

Other factors to consider include the extra server requirement for Oracle, and the added time required for engaging the DBAs in the planning and installation phases.  When acquiring the additional hardware or fitting into the DBA team’s schedule is going to impede your monitoring project deadlines, it might be easier to go with Sybase.

For small environments this decision is even easier, since there is no need for Oracle or an extra server – go with the proven legacy technology – go Sybase.

Most of the arguments so far have turned out in favor of Sybase.  So when do we recommend Oracle?

ProactiveNet Scalability

Sybase has to be installed locally on the BPPM Server with the BPPM Engine, BPPM Web Server, BPPM Cell et al.  The Oracle database, on the other hand, is installed on a separate server from the ProactiveNet Server, freeing up local resources to make it more scalable.  BMC has not provided metrics on scalability using the different databases but it stands to reason that by splitting the database onto a separate server, more processing can occur. 

Scalability is determined by a lot of factors in the BPPM suite, so you should still follow BMC’s scalability guidelines. 

DBMS Familiarity

Some customers balk at the Sybase option simply because they don’t have experience with it.  That’s a valid concern, but in this case I like to reassure: Don’t worry; it’s self-monitored, self-tuned and pretty much hands-off.  There are only a few yearly maintenance tasks that need to be done, and archiving for backups and monitoring of the database are all self-contained and scheduled during the BPPM installation.


Sybase versus Oracle can be “sold” either way, but hopefully this helps you in the decision making process.  Here’s a quick summary:

  1. Do you have Oracle in house and DBAs that can manage it for you?  If so, consider Oracle, but if not, go Sybase
  2. Is it going to be difficult getting a DBA or another piece of hardware? If so, go Sybase
  3. Is this a small environment?  If so, don’t bother with Oracle; use the proven legacy technology: Sybase
  4. Don’t have any Sybase experience? Don’t worry, it’s self-monitored, self-tuned and pretty much hands-off
  5. Have true scaling requirements that heavily demand resources on the PNET Server?  Go Oracle.


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