Sybase vs Oracle

This is the question one often hears when the decision has been to go with Murex: Sybase vs Oracle. Which one is better? Which one do you recommend, etc…

To first repeat what has been said numerous times: Murex works very well with either and if you need to use one or another due to bank policy or any reason, you can’t get wrong. Murex will deliver results and everything will be A-OK.

But there are differences and both have pros and cons. Historically Murex only supported Sybase and many customers feel that they will get better support from Murex if they go with Sybase. Oracle is quite well known at Murex nowadays and there is no change in the quality of support regarding Oracle. PAC team especially is knowledgeable on both fronts and can provide configuration recommendations for both systems.

Even in performance, that’s not where the difference is really going to lay (many people would disagree here and give reason to go for one or another). I feel the difference is pretty in the actual usage of each: they each work slightly differently. Not from a Murex front end of course, to the end user, Sybase or Oracle does not make any difference, system looks the same, functions work the same way. It is really when you start using SQL where you can see differences.

I graduated from SQL school with Sybase as a teacher, so I do know more about Sybase than Oracle.
Sybase wise, identifiers are directly attributed (the good old M_IDENTITY). When writing SQL, no need to take care of that field, it handles itself. With Oracle, it’s a different story, one need to call the sequence (TABLENAME_DBFS) to retrieve the latest number in order to update it. A bit more painful.
SQL clients with Oracle are for some reason always more of a pain especially if you mix direct commands and stored procedures. I used SQL developer and not seing the results of my stored procedures is a pain. I also use a lot SQuirreL. The later works great for everything EXCEPT the initial connection to the Oracle servers. When the server is distant, the initial load of tables took couple of minutes (started at 15 minutes and went down to 2-3 minutes once the link to other offices got upgraded).  Oracle also was a pain with the username/password for each schema. Not too sure why it was like that but while in Sybase one can easily switch from one DB to another with the same user, the way it is configured to work with Murex Oracle forces to log out/log back in (or log in multiple times to each schema).
But I had my fair share of issues with Sybase. DB corruption happened quite a few times (I suspect it happens also with Oracle but I did not experience it firsthand). The worse DB corruption was when receiving a dump from a customer which contained a trigger (triggers are not your friends). That trigger was attached to a different user id which we did not have when we loaded the dump. So we had to reset the user id for that trigger before deleting it. When updating that user id, it caused a DB corruption which could only be solved when stopping/restarting the server. There were other cases but nothing repeating as easily as that one.

I’d be interested to hear from Oracle experts to give me all good sides of Oracle as from my point of view, I usually found Sybase easier to work with and often wasted few hours trying to adapt a stored procedure that I wrote in Sybase to work with Oracle. Usually PAC team were the ones able to set me straight and get the procedure up and running.

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