Ingres has strengthened its agreement with Alfresco by using the open-source content management company as a partner for Ingres's new Icebreaker Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Appliance.

The two companies already have an existing agreement from last March, but the new deal will mean that the appliance users would have access to the Alfresco 3 platform instead of the previous version. "This offers a host of new features," said David Postle, head of the ECM consulting practice for Ingres.

"Primarily, it offers a means by which users of Microsoft products such as Excel could be made to think they're talking to Sharepoint, rather than to Alfresco. This has a huge advantage given the number of Microsoft desktops that are out there - while there's not a whole lot of Microsoft in companies' back-ends."

The Ingres Icebreaker ECM appliance will let IT purchasers pay only for the software and support they actually need, a feature that Ingres believes will greatly assist cash-strapped businesses.

For the Ingres Icebreaker ECM Appliance, Ingres provides the open source database for a company's advanced data repository needs, Alfresco provides the content management expertise, and its technology runs on the Ingres Database. The appliance allows users to capture, store, and preserve data, before delivering it to their customers.

According to Ingres, key benefits of the applicance include a ready to run document management platform, simplified setup and configuration, and an improved maintenance system.

"The management system has been greatly improved," said Postle. "All the management can now be handled from a single unit, supplied by Ingres. It means that companies can now adopt more a 'black-box' type approach."

Forrester Research has recently pointed out that office paper has undergone double-digit growth year-over-year since 1995, while web content growth has increased even more. Enterprises have been struggling to find the data that they need to keep their systems working efficiently.