Given the shared history of the Sybase and SQL Server products, and their use of a similar (identical?) wire protocol in TDS, what definite statements can be made, if any, about cross compatibility.

If I have a legacy system (binary, no source) that was written against a Sybase 11 back end, is it likely to run against SQL Server 2008?

Similarly, if I have a Windows binary, linked against sybase libs, would it just work against a Sybase server, in general or of specific vintage/versions?

  • 4
    Given I was working on Sybase 11.9 more than 10 years ago, I'd say no. SQL Server was forked many moons ago. Check the Sybase website for compatibility information across versions.
    – Philᵀᴹ
    Nov 24, 2012 at 1:03
  • 3
    I agree with Phil - SQL Server was forked from Sybase prior to SQL Server 6. It is highly unlikely that any cross compatability exists at this stage of the game. If you have both, try it and let us know!
    – Hannah Vernon
    Nov 24, 2012 at 1:38
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    SQL Server forked at 4.2, I would be shocked if they did work.
    – mrdenny
    Nov 25, 2012 at 1:07

1 Answer 1


It's true that Sybase and the Microsoft SQL Server databases share common roots, but they are not any more compatible.

Yes, both engines support T-SQL, they have very similar syntax, even many functions looks and works the same. But this is not enough, between the two products have appeared too many differences at this moment. If you want to migrate between them you need to review code, it's easier because many similarities, but must be done.

Microsoft recommended to use SQL Server Migration Assistant (SSMA) for Sybase - it can help you migrate tables, views, indexes, triggers, and stored procedures. In most cases you need to perform just a few manual patches.

Microsoft provided many helpful resources within subject of Sybase and SQL Server:

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