4 August 2004 Software giant Computer Associates is planning a $1 million contest to promote usage of its Ingres r3 database, which will be released into the open source community later this week.
The marketing ploy follows an aggressive drive by the company to draw customers of rival relational databases, such as Oracle, to its own Ingres database – which once rivalled Oracle for popularity in the 1980s.
Mark Barrenechea, executive vice president of product development at CA, said: “The barrier to large-scale adoption is converting from existing proprietary databases. That’s why we’re offering this challenge – to accelerate the transition.”
Adequate migration tools currently represent the main obstacle to the adoption of Ingres. The challenge, therefore, comprises five projects that will reward the successful development of migration tool kits to Ingres from competitor databases. These include IBM’s DB2 database, Microsoft’s SQL Server, Sybase, Oracle and Informix, which is now owned by IBM.
The contest will pay the developer of the most successful migration software tool $300,000.
Barrenechea said that by using a standards-based open source application, customers will be able to save two-thirds of the costs of acquiring and maintaining CA products. The company then plans to charge customers for services and support.
Analysts suggest that CA’s strategy is bold and unprecedented. According to one, the company is effectively “purchasing a community”, which may result in a network effect: lots of developers building lots of applications that will draw a lot of users.