Computer Associates has officially made its Ingres r3 database open source today. The database is now available under its CA Trusted Open Source Licence (CATOSL) for both Linux and Windows.

And CA believes it offers a more enterprise-ready alternative to the already open-source MySQL with Ingres as it provides features such as triggers, stored procedures, and views - something MySQL will not have until next year.

CA has even put $1 million behind it the Ingres push, offering the sum in August as a "challenge" for developers to build a migration tool from Microsoft's SQL Server and Oracle's 10g.

"We believe that MySQL has proven that there’s a market for open source databases, but we don’t believe that they have the technology to meet all the needs," said Emma McGrattan, vice president of development at CA.

CA also anticipates it can take on established commercial databases such as Oracle's products, IBM's DB2 and Microsoft's SQL Server. It will make money by selling support services. "If we compare Ingres r3 with Oracle9i, we have matched them in terms of features, functions and performance," said McGrattan. "Now, Ingres for the first time is providing an alternative to the enterprise-class database."

Analyst Robin Bloor of Bloor Research agreed: "The difference between Ingres as an open source possibility and most of the other options is that CA is already an established supporter of enterprise-level products." The likelihood that companies will consider Ingres as a replacement for Oracle or DB2 is "very strong", according to Bloor.

CA is also indemnifying users against any intellectual property issues should they arise. "We’re really mindful of the SCO lawsuit," McGrattan said.

Ingres was formerly a commercially shipped product but it lost out to Oracle over the lack of row-level locking, a feature Ingres now has, said McGrattan. Major features of Ingres r3 include high availability clusters, for maintaining uninterrupted performance; table partitioning and indexing for large database implementations; parallel query processing; online table and index reorganization, to boost availability; and 64-bit environment support

Support costs vary from $250 per month for developers to $1,995 per processor annually for production support, with site licenses also available. Premium-level support is priced based on the customer environment. CA plans to port the open source Ingres product to Solaris later this year and to HP-UX and AIX early in 2005. Other platforms will follow.