Ingres updates open source database

Improvements to Ingres Database 9.2 center on improving availability and easing system recovery and providing additional tools for developers

Open source database vendor Ingres unveiled Ingres Database 9.2 on Tuesday, the first major release of the venerable software in more than a year.

A number of improvements center on improving availability and easing system recovery, providing additional tools for developers and better multi-language support, for companies using the software to deploy applications across the globe.

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Ingres, like other open source companies, generates revenue through support subscriptions. It also distributes the Ingres code -- which was first developed in the 1970s as a project at the University of California at Berkeley -- under the GNU General Public License version 2.

The current Ingres corporation was created after former owner CA spun off the technology to a venture capital firm in 2005.

Ingres now claims to have more than 10,000 customers. Most customers are using Ingres for OLTP (online transactional processing) -- such as that required in banking applications -- as opposed to analytics, Ingres officials said.

The Redwood City, Calif., vendor is well-positioned to gain new business from companies that are weathering tough financial times but still need powerful technology, according to Deb Woods, vice president of product management.

Subscriptions for Ingres Database 9.2, which include 24/7 support, cost $7,995 per CPU per year. Ingres determines pricing by the socket, not the number of cores in the CPU. Support is available in 20 languages and more than 50 countries, according to Ingres.

The Ingres platform may lack the high profile of other open source databases, such as Sun's MySQL, but is nonetheless a "mature, reliable, high-performance DBMS that has existed for more than two decades," Forrester Research analyst Noel Yuhanna wrote in a report published in July.

But another analyst gave Ingres a mixed review.

"If for some reason you want to do straightforward high-volume OLTP on an open source DBMS, Ingres could be a decent choice. But in most cases you're better off going with a closed-source product, something from the Postgres family, or -- if it suffices -- MySQL," said Curt Monash, founder of Monash Research in Acton, Mass., via e-mail. "Having a legacy user base doesn't prove that a system is suitable for new customers today."

While 9.2 is an important update for Ingres, the company is not standing still. It plans to release a minor update, version 9.3, in beta early next year, senior vice president of engineering Emma McGrattan wrote on her blog Tuesday.

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