Ingres turns to acquisition to extend reach

Ingres turns to acquisition to extend reach

Ingres has announced the purchase of Thinking Instruments, one of its resellers and services providers, to extend its presence in Germany and the Middle East.

The move is the open-source database company's first acquisition since becoming an independent company in November after being spun off from CA.

Ingres has already closed the purchase and Thinking Instruments' former headquarters in Ilmenau, Germany, has become an Ingres field office. The two companies started negotiated the deal early this year and reached an agreement in June. Ingres didn't reveal the financial terms of the acquisition.

Thinking Instruments had been an Ingres reseller for 13 years with particular customer and services expertise in the public sector, steel and energy industries.

Ingres had been looking at expanding its own German operation, according to Dave Dargo, chief technology officer at Ingres. But the vendor realized finding and hiring skilled personnel could take a couple of years. Acquiring Thinking Instruments has eliminated that waiting period since the German company is already staffed by people with a very high level of Ingres and general database skills, he said.

Dargo wouldn't disclose how many customers or staff Thinking Instruments has. He did say that all of the firm's employees have joined Ingres.

Having Thinking Instruments under its belt will also enable Ingres to establish a foothold in the Middle East, in Bahrain and in the United Arab Emirates, Dargo said.

Ingres is actively considering other acquisitions as a way to grow its global operations on a local, regional or global basis, Dargo said. Such purchases would occur within the 58 countries where Ingres already operates, mostly likely in Europe where the company has the most customers and partners.

Prior to its acquisition by CA in 1994 through the purchase of the ASK Group, the Ingres relational database enjoyed particularly strong sales in the U.K. and Australia, but never achieved the kind of worldwide presence of rival Oracle.

Ingres languished during its time at CA and was eventually released as an open-source project in 2004. In November 2005, CA sold Ingres to private equity firm Garnett & Helfrich Capital, which formed Ingres as a new company to develop and market the open-source software. CA maintains a minority stake in Ingres. The Ingres database is embedded in several key CA products including the Unicenter systems management software and the eTrust security software.

Earlier this month, Ingres announced the appointment of Roger Burkhardt, the former chief technology officer of the New York Stock Exchange, as the company's president and chief operating officer. While venture capitalist Terry Garnett remains interim chief executive officer at Ingres, the intention is that Burkhardt will take over that role in about a year's time.

Dargo believes that having Burkhardt on board gives Ingres an edge over other software companies. With his background in helping the exchange restart trading after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and implementing new technologies, Burkhardt will be able to engage in "true peer-level conversations" with customers, Dargo said.

Looking ahead, Ingres expects to have prototypes of its software appliance in the hands of three to six customers in the week of August 7, Dargo said. The appliance will tightly integrate the vendor's database software with a stripped-down version of rPath's distribution of the Linux operating system. The intention is for the combined software to act as an integrated maintenance unit to reduce the amount of integration and support work users have to do.

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