Arcion Now Supports SAP Sybase ASE For Zero Downtime, Zero Risk Data Migration

Luke Smith
Enterprise Solutions Architect
January 5, 2023
Matt Tanner
Developer Relations Lead
January 5, 2023
Rajkumar Sen
Founder & CTO
January 5, 2023
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Legacy technologies and the move to modern technologies are at the core of digital transformation. In the past, technology did not move as quickly as it does today. This meant that when building enterprise systems in the past, a few integral systems were used to produce the bulk of the products an enterprise built. One of the cornerstones of many projects was the SAP ASE database, also known by its original name: Sybase ASE. Many behemoths of the industry have used this database to build amazing products and services. Many of these products have revolutionized the enterprise landscape, especially in financial services.

As great as SAP ASE has worked for many companies, many are looking to migrate off of it into modern platforms. This push comes from the recent announcement involving SAP ASE’s end-of-life in 2025 and increased support costs for those who remain on the platform. Technology roadmaps can no longer afford the lack of support and increasing cost of ownership that comes with storing data on SAP ASE instances. As with all legacy technologies, an inflection point exists where organizations must take the steps to move away from an obsolete platform.

With the move away from SAP ASE, many companies aim to move their data onto modern platforms such as SQL Server, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, YugaByte, and others. Of course, database migration for critical business systems always requires massive planning and risk management for teams that aim to execute it well. With the sheer amount of data volumes residing on SAP ASE servers, many will struggle to find an optimal path to migrate the data efficiently. Traditional data migrations require massive data dumps and loads, as well as risking downtime and the potential for rollbacks. But downtimes and rollbacks are unacceptable for modern businesses as they can have implications on revenue.

The best migration strategy for many organizations is one with zero downtime, automatic data mapping and schema conversions, and even SQL to NoSQL migration support. For all of the above, and more, look no further than Arcion. With the recent addition of SAP ASE as a source connector, data migration from SAP ASE can now be seamless and easy to execute using CDC. The best part: Arcion’s no-code and agentless approach to CDC provides guaranteed data consistency with zero impact on the source SAP ASE system.

Table of Contents

The Struggle of Legacy Migrations

When it comes to migrating off of legacy systems, like SAP ASE, a major hurdle and risk is the need for downtime in order to facilitate the migration. Two main concerns with downtime are system availability and, in the case that something goes awry, the need to perform a rollback to the original database platform. Downtime is required for traditional migration methods so that changes to data in the system are frozen and a snapshot to be taken and loaded into the target platform. If downtime is not allowed, there becomes an issue of loading the new data changes that happened since the snapshot was taken. With this comes a high risk of data integrity issues within operational and customer data.

When the system is brought down in order to facilitate a migration, this puts operations and services at a standstill. If your business can afford the downtime, this may not be as big of an issue. However, most modern businesses cannot afford to have long periods of downtime without having a serious impact on the company’s revenue and operations. Once a system is brought down, business is halted until the system is restored.

The next concern of rolling back a migration is also crucial. There will always be a window in which a migration can take place. As part of this schedule, the possibility for rollback must also be factored in. This will shorten the timespan in which the migration can effectively take place and also introduces other issues. When a rollback occurs, it generally means that applications pointing to the new data source must also be switched back to point to the original source database. Connection string and other config changes must all be rolled back as well, with the potential for human error and customer impact. A rollback having to take place during a major data migration can be risky and error-prone. Zero-downtime migrations are a must-have to reduce the risk of migrating data for modern businesses.

Zero-downtime Migrations With Parallel Deployments

With the power of Arcion’s CDC capabilities, zero downtime migrations can happen with ease. The current data residing on SAP ASE can be easily and effectively moved over to a target platform. Once the current snapshot is loaded onto the target platform, changes to the source database are also synced as the migration is happening. This means that the current platform can stay live while the new, modern platform can stay up to date. Both platforms are perfectly in sync. By using Arcion to perform a zero-downtime migration, once the migration has been completed, the existing SAP ASE instance can be decommissioned with confidence and data integrity can be ensured.

Arcion can also allow for an incremental migration approach where your existing SAP ASE database and your new database can run in parallel, as long as necessary.  Once applications are pointing to the new database and testing is complete, the plug can be pulled on SAP ASE. The system can be sunsetted without worrying about a lack of testing or data synchronization issues. 

By using a parallel deployment, with or without an incremental migration, the risk profile of a data migration project can be extremely reduced. CDC will ensure that the old and the new database are kept in sync so when it is time to sunset the legacy database, it can be done with confidence.

Enhanced Efficiency, Performance, and Reduced Total Cost of Ownership

Dividing the database environment into segments, systems of record and systems of access, can be advantageous in some situations. A system of record is where CRUD and other operations are performed and persisted. A system of access is where read-only operations are performed. In some cases, the SAP ASE instance can still be used as the system of record while newer platforms are used as the system(s) of access. Once the initial snapshot is loaded into the target platform, Arcion will leverage CDC on the SAP ASE instance to ensure that changes happening on the live source database are synced in real-time to the target platform. No downtime is required and massive flexibility is gained.

Arcion can leverage CDC to augment the capabilities of your existing SAP ASE servers. This is done by allowing Arcion to create read-only replicas to reduce the load of reads on the primary database server. Whenever a change occurs on the source SAP ASE server, these changes are then captured, broadcasted, and applied to the read-only replicas. This effectively creates an environment where you have a system-of-record (the original SAP ASE instance) which is independent from the system-of-access (the read-only replicas). 

The benefit of this is that you can offload traffic from the source database, which may already be under strain, and offload read operations to reduce load on the primary system. This can reduce infrastructure costs on the SAP ASE instance and also increase the performance of the overall system. The alternative is to bulk up the infrastructure that the SAP ASE instance is residing on which can be costly, create downtime, and has limits of scalability. Once this methodology is applied, it also means that migration entirely away from SAP ASE can be done much more simply.

Automatic Schema Mapping

One other major pain point for migrating from any legacy database to a more modern implementation is the issue of schema mapping. Sometimes, this needs to be done manually where teams will map each field in the source to its corresponding field on the target system. This usually consumes a lot of time with mapping the data types from one to another, which may not be directly compatible. There is also work to be done with data transformation to ensure that the data being moved is in the correct format for the target platform where the data will move. When the data is extracted from the source platform, custom programs and scripts may need to be created, tested, and run in order to get the data into an acceptable state for the target platform. This can sometimes be the most cumbersome part of the data migration and replication process since it comes with a lot of testing and risk, at scale.

With Arcion, migrating data from a legacy SAP ASE instance to another target platform does not require any manual schema conversions. This is because Arcion is able to automatically convert data types between those two platforms to ensure a seamless and automated transfer of data. Arcion also is able to manage schema evolution, so if you are using a parallel deployment or read-only replica approach, schema changes on the primary SAP ASE instance will be cascaded to any connected database without any manual intervention. Arcion’s automatic schema mapping capabilities reduce risk and increase the speed at which migration can occur.

Try it out!

We welcome you to try out our new SAP ASE connector to enjoy the benefits that Arcion can provide to your organization. Some of the benefits of using Arcion include:

  • Sub-Second Latency 
  • 100% Agentless CDC
  • Effortless Setup & Maintenance
  • Budget Friendly TCO
  • Guaranteed Data Reliability
  • Automatic Schema Evolution & Conversion
  • Flexible Deployment Options

To see Arcion in action, schedule a free demo today.

Matt is a developer at heart with a passion for data, software architecture, and writing technical content. In the past, Matt worked at some of the largest finance and insurance companies in Canada before pivoting to working for fast-growing startups.
Matt is a developer at heart with a passion for data, software architecture, and writing technical content. In the past, Matt worked at some of the largest finance and insurance companies in Canada before pivoting to working for fast-growing startups.
Luke has two decades of experience working with database technologies and has worked for companies like Oracle, AWS, and MariaDB. He is experienced in C++, Python, and JavaScript. He now works at Arcion as an Enterprise Solutions Architect to help companies simplify their data replication process.
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