Conor O'Mahony's Database Diary

Your source of IBM database software news (DB2, Informix, Hadoop, & more)

Archive for the ‘Informix’ Category

Informix Users are Going to San Diego

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It has just been announced that next year’s International Informix Users Group (IIUG) conference will be held in San Diego, California on 22 – 25 April. The IIUG Conference continues to offer incredible value. Sign up soon to get the $695 early bird rate, and if you sign up for free IIUG membership, you even get $100 off that rate. $595 for a conference of this length and quality is amazing value. But you’re going to have to act fast to get this discount rate!

And, don’t forget that San Diego is such a great city to visit. Not only is it a wonderful city with an ideal year-round climate. But it also has fantastic array of attractions like the world-famous San Diego Zoo, Sea World, LEGO land, and the Zoo Safari Park (a personal favorite).

International Informix Users Group (IIUG) Conference


Written by Conor O'Mahony

November 30, 2011 at 9:22 am

Posted in DBA, IIUG, Informix

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IBM is Baking NoSQL Capabilities into DB2 and Informix

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IBM recently revealed its plan to integrate certain NoSQL capabilities into IBM DB2 and Informix. In particular, it is working to integrate graph store and key:value store capabilities into the flagship IBM database products. IBM is not yet indicating when these new capabilities will be available.

IBM does not plan to integrate all NoSQL technologies into DB2 and Informix. After all, there are many NoSQL technologies, and quite a few of them are clearly not suitable for integration into IBM’s products. The following chart summarizes the NoSQL product landscape. This landscape includes more than 100 products across a number of database categories. IBM is saying that they will integrate certain NoSQL capabilities into their products and work hand-in-hand with others NoSQL technologies.

NoSQL Landscape

Readers of this blog will know that these developments are consistent with my view that certain NoSQL technologies will eventually find themselves integrated into the major relational database products. In much the same way as the major relational database products fended off the challenge of object databases by adding features like stored procedures and user-defined functions, I expect the major relational database products to fend off the NoSQL challenge with similar tactics. And don’t forget that the major relational database products have already integrated XML capabilities, providing XQuery as an alternate query language. Its not too much of a stretch to imagine how several of these NoSQL capabilities might be supported in an optimized way as part of a relational database product.

I look forward to blogging more about this topic as news about it emerges…

Written by Conor O'Mahony

November 21, 2011 at 9:00 am

Benchmark Results for Informix TimeSeries in Meter Data Management

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AMT-SYBEX are a leading provider of platforms for traditional and smart metering. They created a Meterflow Benchmark to help customers choose the best underpinning infrastructure for their platform, and they worked with IBM to run that benchmark with Informix TimeSeries. I previous blogged about Why Informix Rules for Time Series Data Management. Well, the results of this benchmark further illustrate the benefits of Informix TimeSeries. The following quote is from the resulting AMT-SYBEX case study:

We believe that this represents ground breaking levels of performance which is ten times faster than other published benchmarks in this area.

As you can see, Informix is 10x faster than the leading database software they previously worked with. If you read the Executive Summary, you will also see that IBM Informix enjoys almost linear scalability when going from 10 million meters up to 100 million meters, which is a great testament to the efficiency of operation for Informix TimeSeries.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

September 26, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Why Informix Rules for Time Series Data Management

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Informix has had TimeSeries data management capabilities for more than a decade. However, those capabilities are garnering more attention today than ever before. As our world is becoming more instrumented, there is an increasing need to manage data from sensors. And this data from sensors is often being generated at intervals, creating the need for time series analysis.

As I’ve just said, Informix has long had TimeSeries capabilities. However, it wasn’t until recent customer evaluations became public knowledge that the incredible performance of Informix for time series applications became apparent. And now, as a result, Informix is being touted for Smarter Planet-type solutions, including Smart Grid systems.

I mentioned recent customer evaluations. One of those was at ONCOR, a provider of electricity to millions of people in Texas. ONCOR compared Oracle Database and Informix for its temporal data management and analysis needs. They discovered that, for their usage, Informix is 20x faster than Oracle Database when it comes to loading data from Smart Meters. They discovered that Informix is up to 30x faster than Oracle Database for their time series queries. And ONCOR discovered that, before applying data compression, Informix has storage savings of approximately 70% when compared with Oracle Database.

If you are using Oracle Database for a time series application, you should certainly consider Informix. You may significantly improve performance, while at the same time lowering your server, software, and storage costs. The secret sauce is in the way that Informix stores and accesses this time series data. The Informix approach is unique among relational database systems. It stores information that indicates the data source only one time, and then stores the time-stamped values for that source in an infinitely wide column beside it. This approach results in both the storage savings and the huge performance gains.

If you want to read more about Informix and the management of time series data, check out these recent blog posts: This Smart Meter Stuff is for Real and Using Informix to Capture TimeSeries Data that Overwhelms Commodity Databases.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

September 20, 2011 at 8:30 am

Informix Availability: War Stories

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A few years ago, I remember hearing the phrase “set it, and forget it” in relation to Informix. That catch-phrase has stuck with me ever since. Initially, I was intrigued when I heard the phrase simply because I would not have associated the implied level of reliability unless the database was running on a mainframe. But when I talked with Informix users, they were quite passionate in their agreement with this catch-phrase.

Informix has had an interesting history. At one time, it was going toe-to-toe with Oracle Database for database supremacy in distributed environments like Unix. Some would argue that, at the time, Informix was in a good position to win that war. Then the Informix train derailed. But curiously, it wasn’t technology reasons that took Informix off track. It was a series of corporate governance catastrophes combined with a series of poorly chosen and poorly executed acquisitions that stalled the Informix momentum. The Informix technology was never called into question. However, its corporate governance certainly was.

Informix eventually found a home at IBM. And IBM, with its technology-friendly approach to product development, is a good home for a product like Informix. At IBM, Informix is assured of continued investment in its product features. (IBM’s focus on corporate-level advertising, rather than product-level advertising, has left some Informix advocates unhappy with the levels of awareness for Informix, but that is another matter that has been dealt with at length elsewhere in the blogosphere.) One thing that cannot be questioned, however, is the continued investment in the Informix product features. In fact, in the time since the last major release of Oracle Database in 2007, IBM Informix has had two releases (code named Cheetah2 and Panther). In these releases, IBM Informix has added major new features like Flexible Grid, the Warehouse Accelerator, Storage Provisioning, Selective Row-Level Audit, Trusted Context, and more. It has also integrated the Genero feature into the product (for 4GL development). It is a strong testament to Informix that these features have been added during a time when we have seen few new features in Oracle Database.

Through all of its storied history, the Informix technology continues to be alive and well. And users continue to love Informix for its technology, performance, ease-of-use, and reliability. As I’ve said in the past, Informix doesn’t have users, it has fans. And now, the catalyst for this blog post… I recently encountered very tangible evidence of this “set it, and forget it” mantra for Informix in the following Facebook exchange where users share their availability “war stories”. It makes for fascinating reading for DataBase Administrators (DBAs) who work on troublesome systems.

Informix Availability and Reliability

Written by Conor O'Mahony

September 8, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Posted in DBA, Informix

IBM Watson is at the IIUG Conference This Week

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IBM WatsonIBM Watson will be making an appearance at the International Informix Users Group (IIUG) conference in Kansas this week. Fresh from his appearance on Jeopardy, Dr. David Ferrucci will keynote the conference, and talk about his experiences with developing IBM Watson, participating in the Jeopardy gameshow, and other interesting developments in the world of information management. While the keynote is grabbing the headlines, the rest of the conference will be even more interesting for Informix users. As usual, it is full of great sessions. All the recent product enhancements and additions, ensure that there will be some fascinating break-out sessions, including sessions on the Warehouse Accelerator, Genero, Flexible Grid, and more. (If you want to catch up on the most recent Informix release, see my blog post titled Informix Genero Accelerates Development of Mobile and Cloud Applications.) Hopefully you are at the conference. There is a lot happening in the Informix community these days, and this conference is the place to be to get all the latest information. If you could not make it this year, make sure to follow messages from the conference on the Informix Facebook page and from the Informix Twitter account, and of course make your plans for next year’s conference now 🙂

Written by Conor O'Mahony

May 16, 2011 at 11:36 am

Posted in IBM Watson, IIUG, Informix

Informix Genero Accelerates Development of Mobile and Cloud Applications

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I normally focus on DB2 news in this blog, but the Informix team have some exciting news that I want to share.

Fourth-generation programming languages (4GLs) are easy to learn and use. They make it easy to create user interfaces and to write the associated business logic. Informix has supported 4GL development since the 1980s. According to wikipedia:

…Informix-4GL is still widely used to develop business applications, and a sizable market exists around it due to its popularity. With accounting being an inherently text based activity, it is often chosen for its purely text-based interface to optimize data entry efficiency. New accounting applications are still being developed with Informix-4GL for this reason…

Today, IBM is announcing a significant improvement in the Informix 4GL support, with the availability of Informix Genero—a 4GL application development environment for the new generation of mobile and cloud-based applications. Informix Genero allows you to develop applications between 5 and 10 time faster than before. It includes reusable frameworks for developing applications that work across multiple desktop, mobile, or cloud-based user platforms. You can write single source code for Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OSX, Java, browsers, mobile devices, and ASCII devices. Using a single graphical environment to develop once for all platforms makes development and testing much easier and faster.

Do you have a “green screen” 4GL application? If so, Informix Genero offers an easy way to modernize that application. Using Informix Genero is a much less risky and less expensive way to modernize those applications than rewriting them in a language like Java or .NET. Almost all of the language keywords in Informix Genero are the same as Informix-4GL, so in many cases, a simple recompilation of your 4GL source code with Informix Genero will work. However, if you are modernizing these applications then you will likely want to take advantage of the Web 2.0 user interface controls, web services, business graphics and other features in Informix Genero.

This release of Informix also features the IBM Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition. This is the really cool columnar technology that IBM has recently made available on the mainframe (DB2 for z/OS). This columnar approach to warehousing has been shown to speed up the response to analytical queries by up to 100 times. So, if you are implementing data warehousing for your data in Informix, you will definitely want to check this out.

For more information, see the Informix product page.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

March 29, 2011 at 10:15 am

Posted in Informix

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