Ingres steers Icebreaker to BI, ECM

The first special version of the Icebreaker soft appliance, a BI suite made by JasperSoft, is finished and is being tested and refined by early adopters

Ingres will take different approaches to supporting soft appliances that combine its database with applications from JasperSoft and Alfresco Software.

When Ingres launched its Icebreaker soft appliance, it also invited other developers to build special versions of the appliance integrating their own application software.

The first of those, a BI appliance built with JasperSoft BI Suite, is now complete, and the stack is being tested by early adopters, Ingres President and COO Roger Burkhardt said Thursday. It should launch next month and probably will be named Ingres BI Appliance, he said.

Ingres plans to handle the customer account and first and second-line support for the BI Appliance and is training its support staff on JasperSoft's products, he said.

In return for providing third-line support, JasperSoft will get a share of the support subscription price paid for the appliance by the end-user, Burkhardt said. That price "will be a significant increase of the cost of the database alone, but it will be dramatically less expensive than combining traditional components," he said.

The company will adopt different support models with different partners, he said.

That will mean a larger support role for Alfresco, which is working with Ingres to integrate its enterprise content management appliance with Icebreaker.

"They are expecting us to provide level one [support] and level two as well as level three," said Alfresco CEO John Powell.

One of the reasons for that is the more time-critical role played by content management in the enterprise. Users might be prepared to wait while a bug in their BI report is fixed, but they will want help right away if an important document disappears from the database or transactions are no longer committed, he said.

With integration work on both appliances all but done -- Powell said that "the technology is all there" for the content management appliance -- the next challenge is finding a channel to market.

That will involve another level of integration as the companies look for partners to turn a vanilla content management software stack into a vertical-market-specific appliance for storing a particular kind of content, he said.

The early adopters of the BI appliance will help Ingres with that challenge, Burkhardt said. Many of them are systems integrators, building particular kinds of dashboards on top of the stack. For instance, one is using it to develop a BI system for U.S. credit unions, while another is tailoring the system for reporting on IT infrastructure.

Once the BI appliance is complete, Burkhardt said, work will begin on another module that will link it to Salesforce.com's hosted CRM service, allowing it to make a local mirror of all the sales data held on the Salesforce servers and then generate reports from it locally.

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