Ingres Corp. announced this week that it has teamed up with a software developer to allow users to share data in proprietary databases with the open source Ingres database.
Executives from Redwood City, Calif.-based Ingres Corp. and San Francisco-based GoldenGate Software Inc., said the software is primarily designed for enterprise customers who want to filter real-time transactional data out of proprietary databases to power business intelligence (BI) software running on an Ingres database.
The integration tool can also minimize downtime for companies migrating from a proprietary database to Ingres by capturing transactions from the source databases and channeling them to the target Ingres deployment, according to Sami Akbay, vice president of marketing for GoldenGate.
The application is based on GoldenGate for Transactional Data Integration -- one of the company's primary products -- which is designed for high-volume, low latency integration of real-time data among applications and the major databases, according to the announcement.
Akbay said that a "very significant percentage" of GoldenGate's business goes through the channel. But John Abbot, chief analyst for The 451 Group, predicted most of the product's revenue will be in direct sales from GoldenGate.
Although the largest Ingres users are likely to buy and install the software themselves, the company has "a number of customers who are still billion-dollar companies that do take advantage of even regional channel partners for services and deployment," said Dev Mukherjee, senior vice president of business development and product management for Ingres.
There are other ways to connect databases, Akbay said, but the companies' new tool will be about 25% - 30% cheaper than existing methods. That difference, Mukherjee said, will allow the channel to charge less for GoldenGate and still turn a better margin.
Ingres and GoldenGate are not combining their channel programs for the product, but each said that the channel is generally important to its business.
"A key value proposition is that it's very easy to install and very easy to operate compared to the alternative," Akbay said. "Obviously, we're going to shoot for as much repeatability as possible, because that significantly improves margins both for the partner and for our support system."
This, plus the open source license of the Ingres database itself, will allow even small- to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) who need features like BI to set up a working system, Mukherjee said.
But even with the partnership's new technology, Ingres has its work cut out for it as it tries to regain footing against the major, proprietary databases that dominate the enterprise market, said Rob Price, data warehouse manager at San Jose, Calif.-based Cypress Semiconductor Corp. Cypress is still using an Ingres-based system the company built more than 20 years ago and has no plans to get rid of it.
But, Price said, if he had to pick a database now, he would go with one of the proprietary products.
Ingres has a great feature set, Price said, but Cypress is shifting to standardize on Oracle Corp.'s database, partially so that it can take advantage of add-ons like Oracle Financials. He said that anybody building a new database or data warehouse "should always look at anything reasonable before you make your choice, and Ingres for me is really a very reasonable, viable product." Still, when Cypress developed its data warehouse, it did so using Oracle.
The partnership between Ingres and Golden Gate could mean demand has gone up for the database since it was released as an open source product , Abbot said. But most of the migration to open source databases has come through MySQL, he said, and as that platform develops, Ingres may once again find itself in trouble.
CA Inc. acquired Ingres' technology in 1994, when it bought the Ask Group, released it as an opensource product under the CA Trusted Open Source License in 2004, then spun Ingres out as an independent company in November of last year.
"[T]here's quite a bit of follow-on business to be had from existing [Ingres] users, and because there are lots of reference sites it would probably be seen as less risky to try Ingres as an alternative to proprietary than MySQL, at least for high-end applications. Over time, as MySQL matures, that may change," he said.