Redwood City, Calif.-based Ingres Corp. and Raleigh, N.C.-based Red Hat Inc. have integrated the Ingres database and Red Hat's JBoss middleware applications, respectively, which Ingres contends will speed application development and create a mission-critical, end-to-end open source platform for a fraction of the cost of proprietary products.
Ingres also announced three customers using the Ingres, JBoss and Red Hat platforms, among them, BBP AG, a Swiss-based financial services firm whose software links 200 banks to national and international clearing systems and whose records are regulated and audited by Swiss banking authorities.
According to BBP CTO Amir Housseini, the company chose Ingres as the database for its initial IGT product in 1993 based on performance, reliability, low administrative footprint and its ability to run on the VMS operating system, and then chose Ingres and JBoss for its updated IGT Plus product in 2000. BBP also evaluated Oracle but rejected the proprietary database based on price, he said.
Eight years later, BBP added Red Hat Enterprise Linux as its "strategic platform of the future" after concluding that the price/performance of its application stack was "five times greater" than Unix. Prior to Red Hat's final selection, the open source OS underwent a six-month trial, successfully processing millions of messages and simulating dozens of hard crashes, with 100% data recovery, he said.
The Ingres/JBoss/Red Hat backbone has enabled BBP to focus on its core business rather than technology, leaving BBP "generally very satisfied with the cooperation of these three vendors," Housseini said.
Deb Woods, Ingres' vice president of product marketing, said the Ingres/JBoss combination would cost IT shops only $39,000 for four CPUs compared to $708,000 for an Oracle WebLogic and BEA Systems Inc. package.
Integration brings confidence and speed to Ingres and JBoss combination
The recent integration between Ingres and JBoss (which BBP and other early customers had to do on their own) also means that customers can install both products much faster, with drop down menus and point-and-click selections, because they now have been configured and tuned to work together, added Emma McGrattan, Ingres' senior vice president of engineering.
"In the past, there has been a lot of skepticism about running mission critical applications on an open source technology stack," McGrattan said. "But Ingres is powering some of the largest financial services organizations, including the Irish government, which runs its entire taxation system on Ingres. This (Ingres/JBoss) bundle is an open source environment you can trust for mission critical applications."
Although Red Hat lists MySQL and Postgres as the databases of choice in its application stack, the two Ingres vice presidents said Ingres is more robust than MySQL and has more features such as role-based access, audit trails, high availability, online backup and restoration to a previous period.
"These capabilities are driving the Ingres/Red Hat partnership," she said. "Enterprises expect robustness."
Postgres has some of the same features but all its data has to be reloaded in the database after an update, Woods added.
Craig Mullins, vice president, data strategy with Sugar Land, Tex.-based Neon Enterprise Software, said that Ingres is "probably the most advanced" open source database but has low market adoption compared to market leaders MySQL and Postgres. (Even the Ingres officials conceded that the database is better known in Europe and Australia/New Zealand.)
Mullins said Computer Associates acquired Ingres as part of a larger deal and chose to open source the database in 2004 rather than "milk" it, "which should tell you something," and Ingres has made "very little headway" in the interim, he said.
"The most functional product doesn't always win in the market," Mullins added, referring back to Betamax tapes and IBM's OS/2 PCs. "If you really want a DBMS with all of the bells and whistles, you'll probably buy one of the Big Three (DB2, Oracle or MS SQL Server)."
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