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Open source database vendor Ingres might stand a better chance at taking on the enterprise with Oracle fixing to swallow developers' favorite MySQL along with Sun Microsystems. To help, it's begun forging alliances with open-source operating-system companies.

Red Hat and Ingres have been sniffing around each other for the past few weeks. Ingres in mid-April said it was signing up as a charter member of the Open Source Channel Alliance created by Red Hat and Synnex, an IT distributor with more than 15,000 channel partners in the US, Canada, and Mexico, to drive open source solution sales.

A month later, Ingres was boasting how it had partnered with Red Hat on a number of deals to marry the Ingres relational database with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss Enterprise middleware to help them cut costs.

On Wednesday the two companies launched the Ingres Development Stack for JBoss, which is a package comprised of the Ingres 9.2 database and the JBoss Developer Studio and Enterprise Application server, all pre-integrated and ready to run atop Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.

"We're not just interested in supplying another database," Ingres product marketing manager Deb Woods says. "Companies want to reduce costs and programmers want to get started quickly."

And so Ingres is adding in all the tuning work it has done on the Ingres database for the RHEL and JBoss as well as the integration work it has done to link the database to the JBoss middleware and packaging it up into a 90-day evaluation version. The bundle is not crippleware - all the features are activated - and Woods says that programmers can have it up and running on a RHEL box in 10 to 15 minutes instead of spending half a day configuring it all to work together.

After the 90-day trial is over, of course, companies have to pay for support on the Ingres and Red Hat software unless they want to ride bareback in their cubicles or data centers. That means support the code themselves.

Woods says that support for one year for the elements in the development stack when deployed on a production four-socket, four-core x64 server will run to about $39,000 - not including Linux support - but that a set of Oracle database and BEA WebLogic application server and development tools can run to as much as $700,000 on the same system. "There is obviously a tremendous difference in price between open source tools and an Oracle stack," Woods boasts.

While Red Hat is obviously keen on getting its RHEL underneath the Ingres Development Stack for JBoss, the stack is certified to run on Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as well as Canonical's Ubuntu Linux. Ingres 9.2 runs on a wide variety of platforms, including Windows, OpenVMS, Solaris, AIX, and HP-UX.

In fact, because so many application developers work on Windows boxes, a similar bundle that includes Ingres 9.2, JBoss middleware, and Eclipse-based development tools tuned to run atop Windows already exists.

Woods says that even though Windows is still the dominant platform for app developers working with Ingres databases, Linux is starting to get some traction. And when it comes to production environments for Ingres, Windows does not have as high a share of the platform count and Unix systems have a much bigger slice. But generally, in production environments, Ingres is seeing a lot of customers moving to Windows or Linux platforms. Just like every other software maker.

Ingres is one of the granddaddies of the relational database market, of course, and the company says that it has more than 10,000 customers in over 54 countries using its databases today. Installed base figures were not provided, but considering that CA took the Ingres database open source in late 2004, before it spun Ingres out as a separate company in 2005, the Ingres base could be quite a bit larger than the customer count. ®

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