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Ingres Christens Project Icebreaker

David A. Utter
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-08-28

The open source database company Ingres teamed with another open source player to deliver Icebreaker, a way to place database services on a server with no operating system required.

Ingres CTO Dave Dargo blogged about Icebreaker, which launched recently during the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo. Dargo explained why Icebreaker makes sense for a database installation:

The reason you install database software is to create database services. Unfortunately, most of the database software out there requires an operating system. Thus, you are stuck installing an operating system to support your database software.

Project Icebreaker installs a single piece of software that presents standard database services. The software installs on bare metal or in a virtual server. There is no general purpose operating system required. You install, maintain and service the software as a single unit.

In working with rPath, Ingres developed Icebreaker to permit JDBC, ODBC, .NET or Ingres Net access directly to the database. Middleware apps can point to it. And without a full-blown OS underneath it, the system does not need as much support in terms of applying software patches.

Icebreaker has been licensed under the GPL 2, and runs on any x86-compatible, 32-bit capable, server hardware appropriate for Linux. It also includes virtualization capabilities that allow it to be used on any platform that supports the Icebreaker virtual machine, like VMWare.

"It took five months to go from a "back of an envelope" concept to a proof-of-concept," Dargo wrote. "This is what open-source is about."

Through the use of rPath's rBuilder platform, the two companies were able to combine the rPath Linux distribution with Ingres to create Icebreaker. The companies refer to Icebreaker as a "software appliance," just like its hardware cousin but without the physical hardware purchase.

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