Ingres, best known for its SQL database, has renamed itself Actian. While the company intends to concentrate on its applications that can be used for data analysis, Actian will continue developing and maintaining the Ingres database.
Ingres is a good demonstration of how opportunities can be lost; it started out as better than its arch-rival Oracle, having been the first company to emerge from the University of California, Berkeley’s INGRES research project. Ingres based its query language on Quel as developed in the INGRES research project, and this had benefits over and above Oracle’s version. Ingres was also in most cases first with features such as a 4GL.
Oracle, on the other hand, was more professional in its sales and marketing (and in meeting what customers were asking for) and gained market share. Ingres was bought by Computer Associates in the mid-90s at the point when CA seemed to be buying (then essentially mothballing) a whole range of technically good products. Since then, Ingres has lagged behind the ‘big names’ of Oracle, Microsoft and IBM. CA sold Ingres to a private equity firm in 2005.
The rebranding to Actian also sees a refocusing on what the company is calling Action Apps that run on Actian’s Cloud Action Platform. Action Apps are lightweight, consumer-style applications that automate business actions triggered by real-time changes in data.
Actian’s CEO Steve Shine said:
"More than $8 billion a year is spent on business intelligence to generate piles of historical reports and no action. Actian picks up where BI falls short by arming customers to take instant actions the second something changes in their data."
Developers will be able to put together three elements to form the Action Apps. "Action Probes" will watch and analyze data from a variety of data sources; "Action Triggers" will be set to be activated when data events and thresholds occur, and the Cloud Action Platform will deliver business actions.
Actian hopes to get developers working to develop new apps to sell in its new applications store (when this is opened).
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