CA Set to Wage Battle Against Oracle with Ingres

Q&A: Computer Associates SVP of Development Tony Gaughan says Ingres is ready to vie with newcomers for the crown of enterprise-level open-source database, particularly now that CA's $1M challenge has netted the company migration tools in recor

Computer Associates International Inc. recently showered some hard-earned cash on the winners of its Ingres Million Dollar Challenge, the goal of which was to motivate developers to cook up migration toolkits from Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, Sybase and MySQL databases to CAs Ingres r3 open-source database. The resulting winners are now available and downloadable from

The challenge was a slick move. First, in record time—five months—CA was able to put into place tools to easily migrate customers off both proprietary and open-source rival databases, although nobody has yet managed to come up with a complete DB2 migration tool. Also, it was an easy way to seed the creation of an open-source community around Ingres.

Already well on its way to having a good chunk of open-source applications ready to run on Ingres, the company is also in talks with major—think of a large, three-letter-acronym company, here—and midtier enterprise application vendors to get some serious code running on top of the database.

Its a good thing CA got this all going soon after open-sourcing Ingres, because rival enterprise-class open-source databases have been coming out at a fast clip.

To wit: MySQL AB had already taken on the SAP-certified MaxDB some 19 months ago, and EnterpriseDB Corp. rolled out its PostgreSQL-flavored, Oracle-compatible database last week.

Database Editor Lisa Vaas caught up with CAs Tony Gaughan, senior vice president of Development, to talk about the challenge, the missing DB2 link, and what differentiates Ingres from its sister open-source database, PostgreSQL, and the EnterpriseDB version of it thats poised to be a key rival.

Why didnt we see a DB2 migration tool come out of the challenge?

It was a true challenge. It wasnt like we were looking for somebody to do five or six lines of code. It was a full-scale development cycle.

The entries were actually very good. We didnt get winners in all the categories, but I dont think that means in any way this was not successful.

The Indian team that came up with Shift2Ingres, the Oracle migration tool, was the biggest winner, with the Indian team taking home $400,000. Tell me about that tool.

The solution is very complete: It has documentation, test cases and proof points in taking out an existing application to run against Oracle and in demonstrating that it could run on Ingres unchanged at the application level.

What was the application tested on Shift2Ingres, and what did it demonstrate?

They used OpenCms [Open Content Management Solution, an open-source Web site management system].

[OpenCms] uses all the typical Oracle capabilities: PL/SQL, stored procedures and so on. … With Shift2Ingres, they took OpenCms and ran the conversion process and then ran the same application against Ingres, unchanged.

[Not needing to rewrite applications] was part of the judging process. We evaluated that and saw very consistent results.

You paid the most money to get people off of Oracle. Why?

[For example,] EzyMigrate, the solution for SQL Server, probably wouldnt be considered as difficult a problem to solve in many respects.

Why not?

Because of the PL/SQL properties of Oracle: Its proprietary, not an open standard of any sort, and the engine that runs PL/SQL is fairly closely guarded. Applications for Oracle do use PL/SQL, [making it] a fairly difficult process [to migrate them].

Next Page: Why Ingres is the best bet to woo Oracle users.