Computer Associates International plans to widen the field for open source alternatives to commercial databases with the general release of the Ingres r3 database on the Linux and Windows platforms.
Although MySQL has had its open source database on the market, CA believes it offers a more enterprise-ready alternative with r3 which, unlike MySQL, provides features such as triggers, stored procedures, and views. MySQL plans to add those to its product next year.
"We believe that MySQL has proven that there's a market for open source databases, but we don't believe that they have the technology to meet all the needs," said Emma McGrattan, vice president of development at CA.
CA also anticipates it can take on established commercial databases such as Oracle's products, IBM's DB2, and Microsoft's SQL Server with the Ingres offering. CA will seek to generate revenues through selling support services. "If we compare Ingres r3 with Oracle9i, we have matched them in terms of features, functions and performance," said McGrattan.
"Now, Ingres for the first time is providing an alternative to the enterprise-class database," McGrattan said.
"The difference between (Ingres) as an open source possibility and most of the other options is that CA is already an established supporter of enterprise-level products," said analyst Robin Bloor, president of Bloor Research and research director at Baroudi Bloor. The possibility of organizations considering Ingres as a replacement for databases such as Oracle or DB2 "is very strong," Bloor said. CA with Ingres r3 is pursuing enterprises, ISVs, and specific target markets, he said.
CA is indemnifying users against any intellectual property issues should they arise. "We're really mindful of the SCO lawsuit" against IBM pertaining to Linux, McGrattan said.
Ingres formerly was a commercially shipped product. When it was sold as such, Ingres lost out to Oracle over the lack of row-level locking, a feature Ingres now has, said McGrattan.
Major features of r3 include high availability clusters, for maintaining uninterrupted performance; table partitioning and indexing for large database implementations; parallel query processing; online table and index reorganization, to boost availability; and 64-bit environment support
Support costs for r3 vary in pricing, ranging from US$250 per month for developers to $1,995 per processor annually for production support, with site licenses also available. Premium-level support is priced based on the customer environment.
CA plans to port the open source Ingres product to Solaris later this year and to HP-UX and AIX early in 2005. Other platforms will follow.