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Computer Associates Sells Ingres DB Tech 78

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the mergers-and-aquisitions dept.
Christopher B. Brown writes to tell us Network World is reporting that Computer Associates is selling their Ingres database technology to a private equity firm called Garnett & Helfrich Capital. From the article: "CA released Ingres last year as an open source project, reviving interest in the dormant software. Still, databases have never been a core part of CA's portfolio. CA CEO John Swainson cast the Ingres sale as part of CA's larger effort to streamline the vast collection of applications it amassed through a decade of heavy acquisitions in the 1990s. Ingres came to CA through its 1994 buyout of ASK/Ingres"
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Computer Associates Sells Ingres DB Tech

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  • by penguin_asylum (822967) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:27PM (#13975889)
    First, it's considered interesting. It gradually reduces in attention given to it, until... They release the source code! Revel ye cupids, for the code hath been releas-ed! Next day, no one's heard of it again...
    • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:45PM (#13975996) Homepage Journal
      Could it be that the app was only interesting because of ignorance, both of the quality of the code and of the business value of the app? First the biz value is revealed to be less, which is what causes the release of the source code. Interest declines in the biz value, but possibly rises on the value of the code itself. But then inspection of the code shows its quality to be low, and nothing stops the decline of interest. The secrecy that propped up the app value before is gone, and its true, low value is now clear. It makes more sense when the cause and effect are considered in the proper order.
      • But then inspection of the code shows its quality to be low

        Code quality low?? Are you kidding?

        Ingres was right up there with Oracle (and Informix and Sybase) ten years ago. The company who owned it, ASK group, went bust and CA pick up Ingres. As was usual when CA picked up a product, all the Ingres customers sought alternatives - usually Oracle or Informix.

        Ingres has fallen this low due to soley to CAs Management(mismanagement?) of the product. Don't know what the current licence is like, but the
        • I was speaking from general principles of the way source is released. Neither you nor I has looked at the published Ingres code. But I see no reason to believe it's any different from any other code that fits the model I described. And your own comments on CA's mismanagement give good reason to believe that any quality inherent 10 years ago has been trampled to death by CA in the interim. ASK and CA failures to maintain the code are both good reasons for them to release it rather than maintain it themselves
  • by Sheetrock (152993) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:34PM (#13975933) Homepage Journal
    That these acquisitions of modular lightweight technologies appear to be part of a larger dynamic approach to enterprise-class offerings. I can't imagine it stops with an RDBMS and network clients -- I wonder if there are any underappreciated server hardware platforms that they've got their eyes on.
  • Is this just an attempt to make a name in the OS community? Good luck, using your 10 year old database technology...We've got much better tools available to us open source than 'ingres'.
    • Re:sad attempt... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You have no tools available in the Open Source market that compare with Ingres. If you think otherwise you are deluding yourself.

      Ingres is an RDBMS used by large organisations and small, and has a very good technical support system behind it with actual people you can talk to - some even local.

      Try that with MySQL, Postgres, etc - the only way you can get equivalent support for them is if you live in the same city as the developers. Computer Associates have offices with support people around the world.
      • "Computer Associates have offices with support people around the world."

        Yeah, Garnett & Helfrich Capital probably has highly trained technical staff throughout the world too ready to support the Ingress cash cow?!?!?!?!

      • Re:sad attempt... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jadavis (473492)
        Do you have any evidence to back up your claims? Are all CA employees supposedly wizards with Ingres that can solve any problem at a moment's notice?

        Many companies around the world provide very high quality support for PostgreSQL. To say that support for Ingres is better you're going to need to provide some evidence.
  • Why bother? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HermanAB (661181) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:42PM (#13975976)
    I don't get it. Since PostgreSQl is the successor to Ingres and is properly funded by DARPA - why would anyone bother with the older version? It feels like Linus making a big whoopdedoo about a release of kernel version 1.0 under a BSD license...
    • Re:Why bother? (Score:3, Informative)

      by AKAImBatman (238306) *
      Indeed. It's not like we don't have SQL Databases pouring out of our ears. Today you can chose from PostGreSQL, MySQL, McKoi, Firebird, Derby, HSQL, Daffodil One$DB, SAP DB (the less said about that twisted codebase, the better), and a metric kilotonne more that I haven't even mentioned. What do we need *another* DB for, especially when it's out of date?

      I'm far more pleased with the focus on Java databases like Derby and HSQL, plus the work going into XML Databases like Apache Xindice. All that work is extr
      • by HermanAB (661181)
        My guess is that it is a tax scam. CA can now claim it as a charitable donation and probably won't have to pay any corporate tax for the next ten years.
    • Re:Why bother? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      PostgreSQL is not the successor to Ingres, it is a branch of the source code from the early eighties. The commercial Ingres product was maintained and improved by a large team of full time engineers for 20+ years since the branch. It is arguable the superior branch.
      • by Wugger (17867) on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:52PM (#13976347)
        The lineage of PostgreSQL and Ingres is pretty clear [postgresql.org]. They are descendents of separate research projects of Prof. Michael Stonebreaker at UC Berkeley. Ingres descends from the an earlier project, which was a proving ground for pure relational technology.

        PostgreSQL (note the play on words, "post" gres comes after "in" gres) descends from the follow-up project which extended relational concepts into an early "object-relational" system. Stonebreaker lays out his goals for the Postgres project in this 1986 paper [psu.edu].

        So, Ingres is based on an older design that PostgreSQL. It has also spent 20 years in the corporate world being changed, upgraded, and improved, so evaluating it based on its lineage is like evaluating Oracle 10g based on your knowledge of Oracle 1.0. Interesting historical note: one of Oracle's first substantial competitors (and an early market leader) was a company called "Relational Technologies" that sold a cutting edge relational database named... Ingres.

        • Ingres was totally rewritten in the late 80's and early 90's. Not "improved", rewritten completely. There is essentially no similarity left between the Ingres and PostgreSQL code lines, as anyone who could be bothered to look would tell you. Nor is there any similarity worth mentioning between Ingres today and the Ingres of the early research projects, or indeed the Ingres that RTI sold.
          • Nor is there any similarity worth mentioning between Ingres today and the Ingres of the early research projects, or indeed the Ingres that RTI sold.
            Um, wrong. When I looked at the released code last year, it looked amazingly familiar.

            -dB, RTI/Ingres/Ask '84-'94.

        • I happened to use Ingres in my first job in 1987 at Citibank. I remember a few "nice" things about the package:

          1) We were running on VAX4000 machines that had those multi-platter disk packs the size of a cake carrier that went in a reader the size of a dishwasher. By keeping the system tables on fixed disk and data tables on the removable, we could "swap" databases just by swapping the packs.

          2) We used QUEL, relational calculus. Much more powerful and simpler than SQL. I've forgotten most of the details, bu
      • PostgreSQL is not the successor to Ingres, it is a branch of the source code from the early eighties. The commercial Ingres product was maintained and improved by a large team of full time engineers for 20+ years since the branch. It is arguable the superior branch.

        This is all true. Now, I invite anybody with half a brain to argue that it actually is the superior branch.

    • Compatibility. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CyricZ (887944)
      Compatibility.

      Many large corporations have massive amounts of data stored in system backed by Ingres databases. This is often very important data, and cannot be corrupted.

      While a system like PostgreSQL is often more than capable, in a technical sense, it may not offer the 100% compatibility that is needed by serious users. Thus it is often not an option.

    • Re:Why bother? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by buckhead_buddy (186384) on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:21PM (#13976194)
      HermanAB wrote:
      Since PostgreSQl is the successor to Ingres and is properly funded by DARPA - why would anyone bother with the older version?
      Please note that this company is not specifically a technology company; their focus seems to be on investing. My guess is that they're going after the Intellectual Property and need the ownership of the proprietary code to set up a basis for sales, licensing, or litigation.

      Perhaps they have other interests. Though they don't appear to be, they might be the Investor equivalent of Sanford and Son and see the Ingres code as having future value even if it isn't developed further. I don't see the appeal, but someone surely saw something in it. Their strategy may not be clear, but they certainly didn't buy it out of nostalgia.


      • Perhaps they saw that PostgreSQL was on the rise, and were hoping to prep themselves to pull a SCO and start trying to charge every company that uses PostgreSQL because it somehow violated some old copyright or patent on their recently acquired Ingres (and eventually figured out they couldn't do so, so now they're giving up on it). It isn't even remotely sane, and they'd have no case, but that didn't stop SCO from trying either.
        • Re:Why bother? (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          prep themselves to pull a SCO and start trying to charge every company...

          CA has already 'been there, done that' and I figure the metaphorical moose has been milked like the one in the 'Ernie'/'Piranha Club' comic strip moose-milking contest storyline of many years ago (if you didn't see the comic, the moose looked horribly emaciated and in shock from the experience. Imagine Bill The Cat as a moose).

          CA's early 1990's management ran a policy of buying out software companies and 'maximizing' license renewal r

          • As it happens, many Ingres sites are long-termers. I don't deny that there were some crazy CA moves in the mid-90's, but it turned out that if you were large enough, or had a compliant salesman, you could beat down the fees to something reasonable.
      • Open Source as a business model is looking like it could do something similar to the .Com era. Ingres has a reputation in Big Business that PostgreSQL and MySQL do not (fair or unfair). If (as is speculated) Open Source goes through a major boom, Ingres will be hot property with database developers and therefore potentially offer a good return on the investment.

        (No, this company isn't likely to hold onto it. This looks like the sort of deal where they buy something that might be worth a lot more next week o

      • Just going after the IP? Nonsense. If you're going to do that, you buy the IP without any of the people. Ingres Corp is going to consist of essentially the entire complement of developers and support staff who worked on Ingres at CA. The new company IS a technology company.

        As far as "why bother", I could argue why would anyone bother with PostgreSQL now that Ingres is available and open source. After all, Ingres is *already* an enterprise class DBMS that runs any number of very large, mission critical
    • I was reading about the replication capabilities of ingres. It seems to extremely advanced, and certainly more advanced then anything firebird, mysql or postgres has. I don't know if the licences allow it but it sure would be nice to have that kind of replication facilities in postgres.
    • Target audience (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jd (1658)
      SQLite is good if you want an embeddable SQL engine, but it isn't exactly a heavy-duty workhorse. To serve dynamic content for a single-user website, where Big Iron Databases would look stupid and do nothing extra, this is exactly what you want.

      If you want something that'll do a bit more, but retain a lot of the speed and also keep the footprint down, MySQL is probably the best bet. It has a lot of the functionality of the really large databases - perhaps rather more than is good for a lean, mean database m

    • Why Bother?

      Imagine for a moment, that you've been stuck maintaining an application which heavily relies upon Ingres. You've found bugs, you've desired features added, but you've gotten no love for a long time. Opening the source has got to be a god-send for these people. No longer do they get stiff-armed when they have access to the code themselves.

  • Coincidence? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:46PM (#13976006)
    Coincidence that this happens the day MS finally releases their long delayed SQL Server 2005. Maybe they know something about the database market that has escaped the rest of us so far.
  • by Mensa Babe (675349)
    It might have been a good idea in the bad old days [google.com] but today when we already have a stable, production ready, rock solid, ACID [wikipedia.org]-compliant open-source [wikipedia.org] relational [wikipedia.org] database management system of choice [google.com], Ingres will never truly succeed in "reviving interest in the dormant software". It's the same mistake that the record industry has made in the early nineties all over again. They missed the train. Sad but true.
    • I don't think that is a very good analogy at all. The music industry failed to recognise the change in it's own industry and is now playing catch up and attempting to control a tornado effectively; some archaic piece of who-cares software has now changed hands.

      In fact.... what are you actually trying to say? Not to be too nasty (too late he thinks) but html links do not make a relevant post.

    • Why indeed? In a world where there's mysql, mysql and postgressql and god knows what else corporate stuff the only reason I can see to keep Ingress alive is legacy support. Perhaps that's worth millions?

      But...

      A any mature technology that doesn't have an O'Reily book about it by now is a loser headed for extinction.

  • Is there much, if anything, to gain by purchasing Ingres, when Postgresql is free under a non-restrictive license?
    • Yes, there is the vendor lock-in initiative.</sarcasm>
    • Probably not. Let's hope they don't try to SCO Postgresql.

      ... yeah, no leg to stand on an' all that ... didn't stop SCO.

      Sorry, feeling in a really cynical mood tonight :)

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Because Ingres has many paying customers in fortune 500 companies, who have mission critical software running on Ingres and those people are willing to pay more for better support. Postgres is just a branch of Ingres from the early 80s, at this point the two systems have almost nothing in common.
  • Slightly tangential observation but a few months ago when there was talk about a Sun DB there were some Sun bloggers talking about acquiring Ingres. Then recently there was the story [slashdot.org] about Sun looking at PostgreSQL. This anouncement from CA makes it seem like they were probably shopping it around to people around the time Sun was talking about a Sun DB and they might have been considering it since Sun didn't buy it makes it seem that we can expect them to really get behind pgsql.
  • by drfrog (145882)
    If they are short on money ill buy cosmoplayer off them
  • by RobWalker (623706) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @06:59AM (#13977593)
    I can tell you, I've used both Ingres and many other database (including MS-SQL, MySQL, DB2, etc. etc.).

    Despite it being considered "old" it, Ingres is a fast and stable database - certain comparable and up to the performance levels and features of many current databases, MS-SQL and MySQL included.

    And several cite how much better MySQL is an open source database - to which I'd say:

    - read the Ingres and MySQL licenses and tell me which is more open source, and less restrictive? To my eye (and IANAL) the Ingres one poses fewer constraints on use of Ingres as an open source product within commercial products

    - ask one of the many big Sun sites who still run very large, very stable applications on Ingres whether they'd like to swap for MySQL?

    I have no axe to grind here, but Ingres is a decent database and a proper open source contribution. Just because it has CA's name associated with it, doesn't make it bad
  • Does anyone remember the name of the DB software that BBN (Bolt Beranek Newman) produced? An old friend of mine was one of the last people in the world that used it.

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