Ingres announced availability of the Ingres Icebreaker Enterprise Content Management software appliance today.  The software appliance delivers “just enough operating system” (JeOS) from rPath along with the Ingress Database and Alfresco’s ECM software.

This is an excellent move on the part of Ingres, Alfresco and rPath.  While some disagree with me, I’m beginning to think that customers will increasingly shift from purchasing individual support agreements to purchasing from consolidators.  I previously blogged about OpenLogic as an example of a support consolidator.  Now we’re seeing Ingres play the role of a solution-based consolidator.  Instead of acquiring support for Alfresco, Ingres Database and a Linux operating system, and having to deal with 3 vendors when a bug arises, customers get one product, with one point of contact. Delivering this software appliance on top of a blade server is the next step towards making it easier for enterprises to purchase open source solutions.

What do you think? Does this software appliance make you more willing to try the ECM solution?

I must confess that I haven’t paid attention to the Alfresco open source barometer study in the past.  However, the title of the press release “Alfresco’s Open Source Barometer Reveals that Enterprises Are Using a Mixed Microsoft, Java and AJAX Environment” caught my attention.

Reading the results, and more importantly, understanding the methodology, I’m disappointed that this study is billed as an “open source barometer”.  In fact, it is a study of respondents interested in an open source ECM solution who have decided to evaluate/use Alfresco.  To claim that the results from this very narrow set of respondents is representative of the broader open source user community is a stretch at best.

For instance, just because a respondent is going to deploy Alfresco on Tomcat on RHEL does not mean that Tomcat or RHEL are the key production environments at the company.  Different departments, divisions and sites can, and do, make different technology decisions.  In fact, even within the same IT team, at the same location, different infrastructure is often used depending on the application being deployed.

In another example on chart 20 of 30, the report claims that 33% evaluate on Windows, while only 21% deploy on Windows.  The figures are 53% & 64% for Linux.  While this may be true for Alfresco evaluations/deployments, this is not the case for all open source.  For instance, Windows represents much more than 21% of JBoss production deployments (as Microsoft & JBoss would tell you).  And heck, Windows represents much less than 21% (i.e. 0%) of production RHEL deployments!

Or the sub-heading on the press release: “Over 50% of Windows respondents use Java Architecture for Content Management.”  This statement, while based on results from the study, isn’t completely accurate.  It’s equivalent to Microsoft surveying SharePoint users and claiming: “Over 99% of Windows respondents use .NET Architecture for Content Management”.

Morale of the story, understand the survey methodology before looking at the results.

This report is much more useful for Alfresco users and vendors considering partnering with Alfresco than it is for the broader open source or software community.