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November 3, 1991


By CBR Staff Writer

Oracle UK has at last persuaded ICL Plc to extend its worldwide joint marketing agreement to include the UK (CI No 1,787). The question is, has the Japanese-owned manufacturer thus effectively abandoned its original relational database partner Ingres Ltd? Ingres and ICL say nothing’s changed: Ingres is the preferred database for someone running a total application on ICL hardware, according to ICL, and Ingres stresses the strategic aspect of its relationship remains. But there’s no doubt that ICL is no longer quite as monogamous in relational database terms. ICL has an open relationship with suitors Ingres Ltd, Oracle UK, Informix Software Inc and Unify Corp. Is this because Ingres is perhaps no longer such a good strategic partner now that ICL wants to leverage sales of its Unix DRS 3000 and 6000 range and move on from proprietary operating system VME? We have to have a more pluralistic approach, confirms Mike Wade, ICL’s Product Centre Manager for Relational Applications, describing how the company needs a much broader portfolio of products. This despite ICL and Ingres recently unveiling the Ingres Search Accelerator (CI No 1,780), designed to ramp up performance of version 6.3 of Ingres on the DRS Unix machines. Wade says negotiations are currently under way to implement the same technology – derived from ICL’s ingenious CAFS hardware database search engine for the Informix and Oracle databases. But it’s not just the Unix slice of ICL’s user base that Oracle is eyeing: Oracle engineers at its mainframe conversion centre are even as we speak awaiting a Series 39 Level 80 mainframe to implement new versions of Oracle under VME. ICL’s decision may or may not have been influenced by market realities such as International Data Corp’s breakdown of Unix relational database market share in Europe, based on 1990 software licence revenues, showing Oracle with 56%, Informix on 18% and Ingres third on only 8%. An Ingres spokesman said that the company was unruffled by the announcement of the agreement with Oracle, that it was clear market leader over the Redwood Shores company on all ICL’s hardware, and has 200 VME sites to Oracle’s 25.

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