Ingres Embraces Partners

Open-source database maker Ingres announces a formal channel program and replaces high upfront licensing fees with a subscription model.

Ingres, young and small as it is, is already picking fights with the big kids.

The open-source DBMS vendor spun off from software maker CA in November 2005 and has never accounted for more than 0.5 percent of the market. But the company smells an opportunity as the market awakens to open-source alternatives to proprietary databases, and Ingres does not intend to let anyone eat its lunch.

The Redwood City, Calif., company announced a formal channel program and subscription-pricing model for partners June 5. It formalized its relationship with about 100 partners from the hundreds it inherited from CA and threw out upfront costs, including license fees, support and services, which often presented a barrier to DBMS partners, Ingres executives said.

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Ingres is trying to capitalize on the channels reach and low participation among partners of the proprietary big companies by making itself the "easiest database vendor to do business with," said Mike Coney, Ingres executive vice president of sales and support.

"One, we want their market reach and leverage in verticals, geographies and industries where we arent there yet," Coney said. "The other piece is there is a fair amount of disgruntled partners around the closed-source software play. There is very low participation in the model. Its sell it and get out. There is no respect given to incremental revenue opportunity."

To increase participation, Ingres is creating predictable spend rates. The Ingres program relies on a subscription model, which allows partners a chance to make enough revenue to hit margin at deployment, rather than months after initial costs are paid off. The program also removes the possibility of "squeezing partners" at renewal: that is, jacking up license renewal fees after a system is installed.

The program runs on two tracks. One, Embedded Partners, is for those that want to bury Ingres in their own applications. The other, Integrator Partner, is for those that wish to sell the 2006 subscription model database and the initial year of support. Integrator partners may also provide professional support, training and technical support offerings, Ingres officials said.

Relying on the channel gives Ingres the secondary advantage of a sales force able to scale at will as opportunity grows, said Colleen Graham, an analyst at Gartner, in Tucson, Ariz.

"Open source is growing faster than everyone right now," Graham said. Open-source DBMS vendors now account for less than $100 million in annual revenue and less than 1 percent of the market, but open-source DBMS revenue grew 47 percent between 2004 and 2005, overshadowing Oracles, IBMs and Microsofts growth rates.

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