Advanced DBs Aren't Always the Answer, New Ingres Exec Says

Open-source database vendor Ingres Corp. last week tapped Roger Burkhardt, formerly chief technology officer at the New York Stock Exchange, to be its president and chief operating officer. Burkhardt, 45, managed a team of 2,000 IT workers at the NYSE, which he joined six years ago after working on the vendor side at IBM and what is now OptiMark Inc.

NYSE Group Inc., which also includes the former Archipelago Holdings Inc. e-trading exchange, said Archipelago CTO Steve Rubinow will now manage all of its IT operations.

Redwood City, Calif.-based Ingres said Burkhardt is likely to take over its CEO job from current top executive Terry Garnett within a year if the company meets its business targets. Burkhardt spoke with Computerworld after his hiring was announced.

Roger Burkhardt

Roger BurkhardtWhy did you join Ingres? I was actually contemplating another CIO role at a large enterprise looking to make a big technology change. This opportunity came out of the blue. It took a lot to pull me off that course. But I found what Ingres is doing very exciting.

What is your background in open-source technology? At the NYSE, we had some extreme needs in terms of performance and availability. We often needed to have something special done. In the closed-source world, the biggest obstacles [to doing that] were the lawyers. What we could freely do with open-source products was very compelling.

Most analysts think that Ingres is ahead of other open-source databases like MySQL on functionality but lags behind Oracle, DB2, Sybase and even SQL Server. It's fair to say that we don't have bleeding-edge features. But it's also true that there is a very large set of users who are paying through the nose for support from Oracle on products that are 10 to 12 years old.

New applications generally don't demand bleeding-edge functionality. A lot of times, people would rather run a standard ODBC interface and put all of the stored procedures in the application server [instead of the database].

But why would a CIO who is seeking to reduce IT complexity consider adding another database, such as Ingres, to the mix? Because of our massive cost advantage. An Ingres solution is half to a third of the [prices charged by the] RDBMS oligopoly. Also, enterprise customers are uncomfortable with the level of power that some vendors have over their environments.

Finally, I think there is much less concern, especially on the database side, about heterogeneity. The tools have improved, and things are self-managing. All enterprises of a significant size have to deal with this issue anyway.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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