Open-Sourcing Rouses Interest in Cloudscape, Ingres

Analysts say the relational databases would likely fade from the market entirely if IBM and CA didn't take action to promote their vitality in the open-source community.

IBM and Computer Associates made the best moves they could this week to revitalize the use of relational database technology that would otherwise just languish on the market, according to analysts.

IBM disclosed at LinuxWorld in San Francisco that it is giving the open-source software development community access to its Cloudscape relational database by donating the code to the Apache Software Foundation. This will allow open-source software developers to embed the Cloudscape code into their applications.

On the heels of open-sourcing its Ingres database, Computer Associates International Inc. announced a contest with a $1 million prize to encourage open-source developers to create tools that will enable users to migrate applications off of major enterprise databases and onto Ingres.

Such moves likely represent the only way to keep these high-quality databases from fading entirely from the enterprise software market, analysts said.

Both IBM and CA have presented Cloudscape and Ingres to the open-source community because neither of them were generating a lot of revenue from them as commercial software products, said Noel Yuhanna, a senior analyst with Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read the details about Computer Associates $1 million offer to the software developers who create the best tools to migrate applications to Ingres.

CAs tools contest is basically a "marketing stunt" to remind developers that "Ingres is another relational database that enterprises should seriously look at," Yuhanna said. "Ingres has been a good database," but its use has faded in the enterprise market as a result of competition from IBMs DB2, Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server relational databases.

"These are products that have never taken off—products that dont have a very good adoption rate," he said. "Getting these databases into open source will perhaps trigger some greater adoption of these products.

"Ingres has good features and functionality that give them an edge over MySQL, which is now the dominant player in the open-source community," Yuhanna said. The contest gives open-source developers incentive to check out these advantages, he said.

Next Page: IBM reaps business benefits.

John Pallatto

John Pallatto

John Pallatto has been editor in chief of QuinStreet Inc.'s eWEEK.com since October 2012. He has more than 40 years of experience as a professional journalist working at a daily newspaper and...