Ingres New CFO Is Out for Enterprise Blood

Q&A: Ingres is no MySQL. It's not shy about wanting to squeeze up to 8 percent of customers away from enterprise players like Oracle, says its new CFO, and to squeeze some goodies out of developers in the open-source community.


Since its spinoff, Ingres has made no bones about setting its cap on stealing Oracle customers. This is no MySQL; this is no company that demurs and calls itself a commodity database. This is a company thats out for pure, red, enterprise database lifeblood.

Still, as a company, Ingres is 90 days old Feb. 7, but we havent heard much about its business plan or what that plan will mean to the open-source community.

As it is, its already got a management team thats pure Redwood Shores: former Oracle Senior Vice President of worldwide marketing and business development Terry Garnett is now chairman and CEO; former support and maintenance exec Mike Rocha is a board member; former applications development exec Mark Barrenechea is now a CA board rep; and former "Unbreakable Linux" exec Dave Dargo is now Ingres CTO.

As for Ingres newly appointed CFO, Tom Berquist, hes still a Citigroup employee until March 1.

As managing director, hes still covering companies such as Oracle, Microsoft and BEA. He cant talk dirt about Ingres plans to undercut, say, up to 8 percent of Oracles database customer base.

Not specifically, that is. He managed to do so implicitly, though, in a recent conversation with Database Editor Lisa Vaas, along with sketching his business plan for Ingres and how the company plans to work with and foster the open-source community around the database.

Youve been watching open-source companies get commercialized since you were an analyst at Goldman Sachs and Red Hat was coming together. What are you going to bring to Ingres development from what youve observed?

As the Internet bubble collapsed, a lot of people left open source for dead and went to more traditional vendors. But we noticed, in the early 00s, the big challenge to corporations was that IT budgets had been slashed. They couldnt afford to pay the prices for technology they had in the 90s.

We researched and found there was opportunity for open-source players to sell services around open-source products that would be dramatically cheaper than their full-priced competitors.

In the cost of building a software company, probably 35 percent is attributable to R&D, and the rest is sales and marketing and going GA and the rest of the stuff.

The open-source model, with a community of developers, can significantly cut back on some 35 to 40 percent of the costs of development.

Further, the community contributes ideas to take the product in areas you otherwise wouldnt have come across.

Of course, the negative is that dollars coming in on a per-unit basis are lower, so you need more users paying a small amount, vs. the enterprise model of few users paying a large amount.

Next Page: Finding opportunity.