Ingres Launches Alfresco-Based Open Source Enterprise CMS

Ingres Corporation, a provider of open source database management, released the Ingres Icebreaker Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Appliance.

The new appliance (we'll get to what it is exactly in just a moment) is powered by Alfresco and aims to lower the total cost of ECM ownership. Will the customers respond to this new offering in the saturated ECM market and with tight IT budgets?

Breaking Down the Icebreaker

So, what is this ECM appliance, how does it actually work and who does what in this appliance model offering? The appliance = ECM + database + application server + OS. The roles are distributed within the corresponding expertise domains (which is always good news).

Within the Ingres Icebreaker ECM Appliance, Ingres does what it does best: open source database management for organizational data repository needs. Alfresco is also at the top of its game and provides the content management expertise. In the end, Alfresco’s open source ECM technology runs on top of the Ingres database.

Ingres is clearly very excited about this new venture. Last we’ve heard from Ingres, it was integrating with Simplexo for real-time enterprise search. Now -- on to content management. 

"Today's content management solutions are often cost-prohibitive and difficult to implement -- until now," said Deb Woods, vice president of product management at Ingres.

"We built the Ingres Icebreaker ECM Appliance which is powered by Alfresco to give businesses a real, reliable, and cost-savvy way to manage the ever-increasing abundance of content in today's business world,” Woods adds.

Roger Burkhardt, president and CEO at Ingres, says they’re in direct competition with SharePoint: "We believe the days of predatory pricing practices by behemoth software companies are on the way out."

Reasons for Customer to Love the Ingres Icebreaker

Well, that would be aside from the cutesy name, of course.

One of the benefits of open source ECM compared to a traditional, proprietary ECM software vendor is lower cost. If you’re willing to go the open source route, you may like the idea of not cashing out for expensive upfront license costs and always-rising maintenance costs.

Ingres Icebreaker ECM is still a commercial open source CMS, so you still have to pay, but only for the software and support you actually need. At least, that’s what Ingres says. The latest version is available for download at http://esd.ingres.com.

Ingres Icebreaker is an appliance that allows developers to bring two best-of-breed open technologies together. How sweet is that in addition to running it all on the open source Linux OS?

The Ingres Icebreaker ECM Appliance seamlessly integrates the operating system, the database and the ECM component.

Key benefits of the Ingres Icebreaker ECM Appliance include a ready to run document management platform, simplified setup and configuration, validated maintenance stream that is built for ongoing enterprise requirements, and single vendor 24x7 support.

In addition, overall maintenance costs are reduced with the appliance model (ECM + database + application server + OS), allowing access to business critical content in a more expedient manner than with traditional proprietary systems.

In the end, it can be installed as a unit, managed as a unit and maintained as a unit -- less headache (both organizational and financial) for everyone involved.

While we couldn’t find any pricing information on Ingres’ website, check it out and give Sales a shout if you’re interested.

What Does Alfresco Say About Ingres Icebreaker?

"Open source technologies like that of Alfresco and Ingres are filling a very important gap for enterprises looking to lower IT costs without compromising on performance, availability, and support," said John Powell, CEO of Alfresco Software.

Powell adds, "The Ingres ECM Appliance powered by Alfresco is an integrated solution that offers customers all the power of an enterprise-class content management system in a simple to install, configure, and manage appliance.

We were a tad disappointed that our beloved Twitter (@cmswire and @irina_guseva) failed us in getting more comments on the topic from other Alfresco execs (no finger pointing :).

But, hey, we’re all busy. Even when we have free Wi-Fi available on a plane in the continental U.S. -- the newest Delta Airlines treat in case you haven’t heard.

Yet Another Enterprise CMS Offering?

The Enterprise Content Management market appears to be quite saturated (for the lack of a better word). Why do we need yet another one?

Ingres and Alfresco combine their forces from the open source ECM perspective. While there are a number of open source Web Content Management vendors, the open source ECM market could still use some competitive action. Customers could benefit from the ability to build their own solutions based on a proven and stable open source platform like Alfresco.

Whether proprietary and "locked-in" ECM vendors like Open Text and the likes should be worried is another question. Will organizations start jumping on the open source ship to save a buck or two? This is quite likely, but not for all of them.

Lower cost is a good incentive, but higher risks are still something many companies consider to be a drawback of open source.