India Shines in CA’s $1 Million Programming Challenge

CA put up $1 million in prizes to encourage developers to program for its open-source Ingres R/3 database

At last summer’s Linux World expo, Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) unveiled plans to open up the source code to its Ingres R/3 database.

Ingres is used by thousands of customers, but (these days) it’s far from a relational-database powerhouse. With this in mind, CA sought to sweeten the pot, announcing a total of $1 million in prizes to encourage programmers to develop open-source tools to migrate applications and data from DB2, Oracle, and other databases to Ingres R/3.

Last week, CA announced the results of its Ingres challenge. The winners were determined by a panel that included Robin Bloor (of consultancy Hurwitz and Associates), JBoss architect Gavin King, and Ingres founder Dr. Michael Stonebraker. Qualifying entries had to ensure that applications running on Oracle, IBM, and other databases could interoperate unmodified with Ingres.

By all accounts, the winning entries—called Shift2Ingres, EzyMigrate, and DbConverter—do so splendidly. What’s more, they also amount to a victory of sorts for the Indian subcontinent. Two of the three winning entries were submitted by programming teams based in India (New Delhi and Kerala, respectively). The third, for the record, was written by Bipin Prasad, a programmer from New York.

Shift2Ingres, which took home the biggest prize ($400,000) is a schema-, data-, and application-migration toolset for Oracle. It’s based on a Java GUI that lets DBAs configure and perform the migration of tables and underlying data, views, grants, sequences, PL/SQL procedures and functions, triggers and other schema objects from Oracle to Ingres r3 databases.

EzyMigrate, one of the two $300,000 winners, is a database-migration tool for SQL Server. It uses ODBC to connect to discover database tables resident in SQL Server and displays table definitions to end users by means of a Web-based front end. DBAs can use the interface to make modifications to the table definitions, and the tool itself creates and populates the tables in the target database. DBAs can use EzyMigrate to selectively perform individual table migrations, but the tool also provides models for several different data migration scenarios, including drop-and-replace, delete-and-replace, and append.

The final winner, DbConverter, also took home a $300,000 purse. The database-migration program can convert tables, views, synonyms, indexes, triggers, constraints, groups, roles, users, permissions, sequences and other schema components from MySQL. DbConverter uses a Java-based UI that lets DBAs select not just which components they want to use for a migration, but also what kind of migration they want to perform—e.g., directly into the target database or by means of generating a SQL script and relevant output files so they can perform the migration externally. The tool also supports plug-ins that can be written to parse and convert associated applications.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.