CA acquired the Ingres database from Ask Computer Systems Inc. some 10 years ago. But for years, it was overshadowed by CA's Jasmine object-oriented database. CA killed Jasmine when it ran into scalability and performance problems, and refocused attention on Ingres by starting work on Ingres Release 3.
Trouble was, Ingres had fallen far behind other relational databases. "We really felt that to catch up, we had to look at alternatives to the traditional commercial approach," says Tony Gaughan, senior VP of Ingres development. CA said May 24 it would turn Ingres open source and promised to release the code online in 90 days.
CA will offer the Ingres code free, with hopes of charging for a range of support services. "Our goal here is to gain a greater market share for Ingres," Gaughan says. CA hopes the move will increase sales of add-on products such as data backup and restore software and other management tools.
"I think it's an interesting strategy," says Rob Price, database manager at Cypress Semiconductor Corp., which has used Ingres for inventory management and other applications in its semiconductor fabrication plants for 20 years. The open-source approach could rejuvenate the database by attracting new developers, he says.
Ingres will compete with commercial databases such as those from Oracle and Sybase Inc. more than the open-source MySQL, Gaughan predicts, for mainstream transactional applications and emerging markets such as content management and mobile apps. CA also is developing migration software and methodologies for customers that adopt Ingres.
But Ingres lacks something the big proprietary databases enjoy: support from big-name application vendors such as SAP and PeopleSoft. Gaughan says CA is looking for ways to attract those vendors back.
"PostgreSQL: The Other Open-Source Database" and
"Growing Third-Party Vendor Support For MySQL"