[thelist] Sybase: curse of the propriety file format

Garrett Coakley garrett at polytechnic.co.uk
Thu Nov 15 11:55:12 CST 2001

Hi all,

Got a really sticky problem here. Would appreciate any pointers.


We have a client who is currently hosted on an Intershop/Sybase/NT4
platform. Turns out the hosting company haven't been doing any backups.
At some point we'll be migrating the client to a totally different
platform, so we were gonna have to crack open Sysbase at some point to
work out the data migration plan.

Because of the backup situation, we've got the hosting co. to run a dump
from Sybase of the shop database and burn it onto CD, so the client at
least now has an offsite backup. The CD is now sitting in my CD-ROM


We've now got what I presume is a .dbf file. It doesn't have a file
extension, it's binary data as far as I can tell.

[garrett at cincinnati install]$ ls -lh /mnt/cdrom/backup 
-r-xr-xr-x    1 root     root         398M Nov 14 13:19
[garrett at cincinnati install]$ file /mnt/cdrom/backup 
/mnt/cdrom/backup: data

What I want to be able to do is have a look at whats in this puppy,
there's gonna be alot of stuff in there that Intershop usually shields
from people, the client is pretty curious to know whats in there.

I've tried setting up Sybase on my linux box. I've installed it, and it
seems to be working, but Sybase isn't my bag so I'm struggling to import
this backup file. 

The Sybase docs for "load <database>" hint that cross platform backups
won't work (surely that can't be true can it?!) and whenever I try I'm
getting errors all over the place, because I don't know what I'm doing:

1> load database client from "/mnt/cdrom/backup"
2> go
Msg 7205, Level 17, State 2:
Line 1:
Can't open a connection to site 'SYB_BACKUP'.  See the error log file in
the SQL
Server boot directory.
Msg 7205, Level 18, State 3:
Line 1:
Can't open a connection to site 'SYB_BACKUP'.  See the error log file in
the SQL
Server boot directory.

That's 'cos I've broken something yeah?


Assuming I can get into this file, has anyone ever migrated across from
Sybase to MySQL/PostgreSQL. How easy is it to just get a text file with
SQL statements out of Sybase instead of this big old binary file?

G. "Banging my head against a wall here".

WORK: http://spiked.co.uk/
PLAY: http://polytechnic.co.uk/

More information about the thelist mailing list