Ingres Readies Server Appliances

Open-source database vendor Ingres Corp. appointed a new CEO on Wednesday and said its new appliance servers, which are slightly behind schedule, will be available soon.

Ingres promoted Roger Burkhardt, who joined the company a year ago as president and chief operating officer, to CEO. He takes over from chairman and CEO Terry Garnett, who retains his title as chairman.

Ingres also announced that it has hired Sybase Inc.'s European sales chief, Steve Shine, as head of worldwide sales. Shine started work at Ingres on Monday, he said.

Ingres was spun off from CA Inc. as an independent company in 2005. It inherited about 100 employees and 5,000 customers from CA, and has since grown to 300 employees and 10,000 customers, Burkhardt said Wednesday.

Many of those are third-party customers that use the Ingres database embedded in other vendors' products, although Ingres has "several thousand" customers who buy its product directly, Burkhardt said.

The company will release new products soon that build on the Icebreaker database appliance that it launched in February. Icebreaker combines the Ingres database with parts of rPath's Linux distribution to create a "soft appliance," or a stack of software for a specific task delivered ready to install on a server.

"We'll be making announcements about extensions to Icebreaker in the near future," Burkhardt said. "We'll be collaborating with other open-source providers to give solutions for business intelligence, content management and software development."

Its partners include Pentaho Corp. and JasperSoft Corp., which make BI (business intelligence) software, and Alfresco Software Inc., which makes content management software, he said.

Burkhardt told IDG News Service in June that the BI appliance was being tested by early adopters and would probably launch in July. Ingres extend the testing period to accommodate more partners and customers, he said on Wednesday. He declined to give an updated shipping date but said the tests are going well.

Ingres faces plenty of competition. Business Objects SA announced a partnership with Netezza Corp. recently to offer its BI software on Netezza's data warehousing appliance, and open-source database rival EnterpriseDB began testing a new product for BI this week.

Ingres gets most of its business from Europe, particularly the U.K., which tends to be more advanced in its use of open-source software, Burkhardt said. "We've got broad-based adoption, although we're probably a little overweight in finance, telecom and government," he said.

Open source is popular because it allows companies to move quickly without having to wait around to get software licenses approved for new projects, according to Shine.

"When I talk to CIOs today they want choice," he said. "It's not that they're going to do a lock, stock and barrel swap-out for open source, but they have a much more keen appetite for it these days," he said.

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