Ingres Prepares for Open-Source Market Push

By John Pallatto  |  Posted 2006-04-05

Ingres Prepares for Open-Source Market Push

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Ingres is building partnerships and expanding its management team as the company prepares for life totally independent of its former corporate parent, Computer Associates International.

The company announced April 4 that it had formed a partnership with IT systems integrator Cognizant Technology Solutions, based in Teaneck, N.J., to support the deployment of Ingres open-source relational database systems to its customers.

Under the partnership, Cognizant has agreed to develop an Ingres database services practice, which will open a new market channel for Ingres. The deal represents Cognizants first partnership with an open-source database company.

Garnett and Berquist spoke at the Software 2006 conference here as part of a showcase of 20 privately held companies.

The Cognizant partnership is important because "there is a powerful customer base of active Ingres customers that was handed to us by CA," said Terry Garnett, Ingress chairman and CEO.

Some of these customers were running CA Unicenter systems management console and its eTrust security system with the Ingres database, he said.

"The real challenge, and the key reason we just added Cognizant as a partner, is getting out in front of those customers," Garnett said.

While CA owned the Ingres database for years, it wasnt aggressively marketing new installations of the relational database, he said.

CA announced in May 2004 that it was going to market the Ingres database under an open-source license.

In November 2005, CA announced that it was spinning off Ingres as an independent, privately owned company.

Click here to read more about Computer Associates spinoff of Ingres.

Ingres severed the last ownership link Nov. 7 2005 when CA turned over billing and revenue collection for Ingres products to the spinoff. This was Ingres opportunity "to call on our customers to convince them to shift a big piece of their architecture to open source over time," Garnett said.

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It shouldnt be hard to convince customers to deploy additional Ingres open-source database applications when they are already familiar with what the system can do.

The Ingres database, he said, may have a market penetration of as much as 5 percent of the Fortune 1,000.

Ingres may be able to achieve a 10 percent penetration, by offering the database as a lower-cost, open-source alternative to the top players, said Tom Berquist, Ingres recently hired chief financial officer.

Next Page: Market penetration.

Market Penetration

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.

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