Berquist contends that although the relational database feature wars are long over, the current version of Ingres isnt insurmountably far behind Oracle or the other competitors. A third of the Oracle installed base is still running Oracle 7, and less than 10 percent have upgraded to 10g because of the cost and complexity of upgrading to the later versions, he said.Ingres has 80 or 90 percent of the functionality available in Oracle 9i, which is still widely used by Oracle customers, said Berquist.This feature set will likely prove "good enough" for customers looking for an open-source database, he said. Currently Oracle, IBM, Microsoft and Sybase are splitting up a $15 billion a year database market. "So we can be the fifth player in the market offering high end, [Oracle 9i level] capability, Garnett said. Ingres executives also said the company believes it can establish as strong a presence in the open-source database market as Red Hat developed for desktop Linux technology. More customers will be making decisions about whether to deploy an open-source relational database. Ingres can offer a product with a longer, more stable track record than the MySQL open-source database, Garnett said. This is an important factor as MySQL is facing uncertain times for its component architecture, since Oracle bought out InnoDB, which provided key transaction engine technology for the MySQL database and Sleepycat Software, which was working with MySQL to provide an alternative transaction engine. The open-source software market is expected to grow to $1 billion by 2008, Berquist noted. Ingres has an advantage that it is open source and already runs on all the standard platforms as well as on Linux, he noted. Ingres will be a good product for companies that need to migrate off of old proprietary Unix systems, because of Ingres links to both Linux and Unix, he said. "We dont need more than a few market share points to be a significant player and profitable," he said. To get reading for this marketing push, Ingres is ramping up hiring. The company was spun off with about 100 employees. It currently has about 160 employees and the number will top 200 by the end of the summer, Berquist said. One of those hires was Bill Maimone, who was away from Oracle to serve as Ingres chief architect and senior vice president. Maimone has 20 years of experience in database development and was vice president of Oracle server technology division. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.