Kiwi Ingres users report benefits from open model

Massey University, Ports of Auckland among local customers

When containers are unloaded and shifted around New Zealand’s biggest container terminal, Ingres helps keep an eye on those movements.

Ports of Auckland’s container terminal Axis Intermodal chose its Ingres database way back in 1991 ahead of an Oracle offering. It is used to support the company’s main container-tracking system as well as other applications.

Oracle, however, also has a presence in the company’s heterogeneous environment as does Microsoft’s SQL server.

Information systems manager Roger Fogo says there has been little effect or benefit for the company since Ingres adopted open source licensing.

“However, there is now a company committed to the support and development of the product rather than it being lost in the CA portfolio,” he says.

Similarly Fogo hasn’t noted any significant changes in his relationship with his supplier now that Ingres is an independent company again, other than a slight drop in total cost of ownership.

Far more positive about the changes is Gerrit Bahlman, CIO of Massey University. Bahlman says Ingres has travelled a full circle, from being created open in a university environment in the 1970s, through commercialisation and now back to being open again. He says it’s a revitalisation of the database.

Bahlman says Ingres representation in New Zealand is quite light, but there are a significant number of people who understand the product and there’s a robust international support community.

“It’s valuable and can provide clients with a standard, solid open source product,” he says, adding that it is also very light on overhead. The open source model will be valuable to any user in development mode, he adds.

Like Axis Intermodal, iconic footwear retailer Hannahs started using Ingres over a decade ago. IT manager Colin Rice, based in Wellington, says the database is used to power the company’s main merchandising system and, as with Axis Intermodal, it is not alone. Microsoft’s SQL Server feeds the company’s payroll applications.

Rice says he hasn’t noticed much benefit from Ingres moving to open source but wouldn’t expect to because Hannahs is not undertaking system development right now.

“It’s an old and stable system,” he says. Rice says he has noticed a change in the way the company engages with customers, though.

“The Ingres people are a bit more out and about talking to customers,” he says.

“Now it is Ingres’ sole product there tends to be a bit more fire in the belly.”

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