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CA To Expand Ingres Freebie With Database Management Tools

CA plans free toolset to manage Ingres--and other--databases.

The beta toolset will probably be out in April or May, with first general availability about August, said Tony Gaughan, senior vice president of development for CA, Islandia, N.Y. The first iteration would likely support Oracle, DB2 and SQL Server as well as Ingres, with support for other databases to follow.

Such tools would compete with products from BMC and Quest Software, companies that specialize in offering management across database platforms.

“We will probably bundle the tools with Ingres free of charge and support them on Ingres and the customers would support them on the other databases,” Gaughan noted.

“Very few customers run only one database,” Gaughan said. CA wants to simplify that process, abstract out the common DBA tasks and provide one way to view and manage databases. Database administrators (DBAs) should be able to manage all the applications without having to understand what the underlying database is, Gaughan said.

CA has offered Ingres for free since last year, but not under the General Public License (GPL). “We think GPL is the wrong model [because] it doesn&'t free people to do what they want,” he said.

Under GPL, customers that modify the open-source code must submit their changes back to the community. CA&'s license does not require that. Several open-source database companies like MySQL support a dual-licensing model to enable customers to build proprietary and theoretically profitable applications atop the database if they want and not have to cough up their intellectual property.

One Linux VAR said he was uncertain how much interest there would be in this tool. “It might be useful for ISVs who are deploying apps on multiple databases so they could administer them from one UI. The problem with these general UIs, however, and you see this on Windows, is there&'s a ... tendency to reduce administration to the lowest common denominator… what you can do for all of them. That, and most database vendors already bundle their own management tools that are very good,” said Chris Maresca, senior partner and founder of The Olliance Group, a Palo Alto, Calif.

Gaughan, like other database experts who convened at LinuxWorld Expo in Boston Tuesday, said there&'s plenty of room to innovate atop databases and make money doing so.

Several spoke of a blending of the current mix of open source and commercial licensing models. “There&'s not one answer, not one license, not one single price point that will win,” said Jon Prial, vice president of marketing for IBM Software&'s Information Management group. IBM's bread-and-butter database is the commercial DB2 but it also offers the open-source Cloudscape embeddable database.

MySQL CEO Marten Mickos acknowledged that his company's wares “commoditize” basic database functions but that does not mean databases are unimportant or not valuable. “Databases just need to be easier for customers, easier to license, easier to use. People overglorified databases ... maybe you do need a little rocket science to build one, but 15 minutes later it&'s got to be used by anyone. It&'s the same with a car. Not many of you can build one but we all can drive one.”

Indeed, commoditization is not a dirty word among this crowd. “It&'s great when the good stuff gets easy to use so you can focus your efforts higher build proprietary value up higher and that&'s a good thing. There absolutely should be a way for people to make money,” said Mike Olson, CEO of Sleepycat, the Lincoln, Mass. provider of the Berkeley DB database.

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