|Industry||Database management systems, Software, Big data analytics|
Actian is a computer software company headquartered in Palo Alto, California, whose history is most closely associated with the Ingres database; In July 2018, Actian was acquired by Indian-based HCL Technologies and Sumeru Equity Partners for $330 million.
Ingres was developed at the University of California, Berkeley and commercialized by Relational Technology Inc. After a course of name changes and acquisitions, including VectorWise BV, Versant, Pervasive, and ParAccel, Actian was a multinational software firm.
Relational Technology, Incorporated (RTI), was founded in 1980 by Michael Stonebraker and Eugene Wong, and professor Lawrence A. Rowe to commercialize Ingres. Its initial public offering was held in May 1988 to raise $28 million. By this time, RTI had fierce competition in the database management system (DBMS) market, including Oracle Corporation (which had started with the similar name Relational Software Incorporated), Informix Corporation, and Sybase, but was one of the largest DBMS companies. RTI was renamed Ingres Corporation late in 1989.
ASK Computer Systems announced in September 1990 a deal in which ASK would acquire Ingres, funded partially by investments from Hewlett-Packard and Electronic Data Systems. The deal met resistance from a shareholder, but did complete by November 1990.
OpenROAD was the small-machine offering of the Ingres database. The suite included Applications-By-Forms (ABF), an early 4GL computer programming language. It provided an ASCII form painter, which automatically bound form fields to a database using ABF, a programming language, with embedded SQL, simplifying the task of making a "CRUD" application for textual data. ABF source code was interpreted into a 3GL language (C or COBOL), which is then compiled so snippets of the native language may be directly embedded in the ABF code.
Several other database vendors marketed comparable 4GLs at around the same time, such as Pick System Builder, Clipper, and DBASE III. ABF was deprecated by the OpenROAD business unit in the early nineties.
Relation to Computer Associates
Ingres Corporation was spun out of CA as a separate private company in November 2005, with private equity firm Garnett & Helfrich Capital as largest shareholder. Terry Garnett served as interim chief executive, and CA retained a 25% interest. In July 2006 Roger Burkhardt became president. He promoted open source software, and helped form Open Source for America in 2009.
Ingres announced they had acquired the VectorWise technology in 2010, which had spun out from the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI, the Dutch National Research Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science) in 2008. In November 2010 Garnett & Helfrich Capital acquired the last 20% of equity in Ingres Corporation that it did not already own. In July 2011 Steve Shine became chief executive.
In September 2011 Ingres changed its name to Actian, using the marketing phrase "Action Apps". CEO Steve Shine said the new focus would be on lower-cost sales for its cloud action platform. In late 2012, after rejecting an offer by Unicom Systems, Versant Corporation announced it agreed to be acquired by Actian, promoted using the term big data. It closed in December 2012 for an estimated $37 million. By January 2013, Actian also announced acquisition of Pervasive Software. It had originally offered about $154 million in August 2012, and closed in April 2013 for almost $162 million.
ParAccel was acquired by Actian in April 2013. Analysts expected Actian to market ParAccel for larger databases, and VectorWise for moderately sized applications. In February 2014, Forbes.com listed Actian at #5 in its "Top 10 Big Data Pure-Plays 2014" citing $138 million in Actian revenue for 2013.
In August, 2016, it was reported that Actian had phased out its products promoted for big data, including the former ParAccel, VectorWise, and DataFlow technology. On November 1, 2016, it was announced that Shine had been replaced as chief executive by Rohit De Souza. A new chief financial officer and executive chairman were also appointed by the board. In April, 2017, several product were renamed, including the combination of Ingres and the former Vector product into one product Actian X with new features.
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