When the Informix team brainstormed about to how to sum up the values of Informix 11.7, we had a tough time getting it down to just one line. Some wanted to focus on the peace of mind that Informix offers its users and the new features that provide even greater reliability and flexibility to adapt to changing business needs. For these values we came up with the message: "Flexible and reliable…sleep well." (Credit goes to Stuart Litel, president of the International Informix Users Group, for giving us the "I sleep well" answer to why he recommends Informix software.)
Others wanted to focus on the efficiency and performance that allows Informix users to spend less time on database administration chores and less money on servers and their associated space, power, cooling, and additional software licenses. These folks favored the message: "Fast and efficient…do the math."
Yet another line of thinking suggested we should focus on the strategic importance of the continued investment in IBM Informix and the ongoing commitment this demonstrates to our clients and partners. Those in this camp wanted to use this new version to call attention to the 10th anniversary of Informix software as part of the IBM portfolio. But we came to the realization that, rather than marking the end of the past decade, Informix 11.7—formerly known by the code name "Panther"—marks "The beginning of the next decade of IBM Informix."
With these messages for context, let me call out some of the capabilities of Informix 11.7 that deliver the values these statements describe. I hope this will leave you looking forward to the deeper technical coverage in IBM Data Management magazine Issue 1, 2011, coming soon.
The new Flexible Grid feature means you can scale capacity when and where you need it in globally distributed systems and clusters. With Informix 11.7, you are not restricted by distance or by the size or number of servers and clusters in your local, regional, or global data grid. And with the new ability to use different hardware, operating systems, and versions of Informix from cluster to cluster, you can use what you have and change what you want. That can mean a significant savings in the time, cost, and hassle of coordinating system upgrades across a distributed set of systems.
Informix Flexible Grid offers fast and easy updates to database schemas across multiple clusters for faster response to business needs. This feature includes the ability to easily deploy, expand, contract, and manage distributed clusters from a single location. And perhaps the most important "hassle-free" feature is full support for rolling upgrades—meaning zero downtime for maintenance.
Another element of flexibility is the freedom to use new tools and integrate with new technologies. Informix 11.7 offers interoperability with open-source tools such as Drupal, Hibernate, Geronimo, iBATIS, MediaWiki, Tomcat, and XWiki. And Informix software continues to run on multiple operating systems: UNIX, Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X.
Informix 11.7 offers one of the industry's most comprehensive sets of high-availability options in a platform-independent environment. New automated storage and memory management add to existing support for automated recovery of system failures.
When Informix users give it their ultimate praise—"it just works"—they are not only talking about reliability of operation; they are also recognizing the ease of deploying and managing Informix databases. That strength is enhanced in Informix 11.7, which further simplifies the setup, management, and maintenance of Informix clusters, distributed grids, and embedded deployments for packaged applications and hardware devices.
Recognizing the growing importance of analytic applications that help organizations of all sizes around the world uncover greater insights hidden among their data, the Informix team has worked hard to deliver up to 50 percent faster analytic queries in this latest version. That is not to say they forgot about the insatiable need for speed among transactional application workloads; Informix 11.7 also delivers up to 10 percent faster transactional queries.(1)
Informix 11.7 also helps to enhance team productivity with new features such as:
- Centralized configuration management and deployment
- Automated task scheduler
- Automated storage and memory management
In addition, the new interoperability with commonly used open-source tools and technologies (listed earlier) builds on the support that Informix already provides for Eclipse, Java, PHP, and Visual Studio. The result is that your team can spend less time doing special integration projects and adjusting to different tools.
Finally, optimizing your infrastructure with Informix software can save you a considerable amount of money:
- Higher performance means fewer servers, which minimizes space, power, and cooling expenses.
- Heterogeneous distributed clusters mean you can use the equipment that you already have.
- Self-managing capabilities mean you avoid both over-provisioning and idle resources.
So one more time, in case you missed the reasons you want to give Informix 11.7 a serious look:
- It is more flexible and reliable, so you can sleep well (or sleep even better, if you are already using Informix software).
- It is faster and more efficient, so you can actually do more with less.
- It demonstrates IBM's ongoing commitment to this important software that manages data for critical business systems around the world every day.
We're tremendously excited about the new version of Informix, and we hope that you will be as well.
(1) Results from IBM internal testing
Bernie Spang is the director of strategy and marketing for IBM Information Management Software. Bernie's team is responsible for market strategies for IBM DB2, IMS, Informix, and solidDB software, and integrated data systems such as the IBM Smart Analytics System. He joined IBM in 1986 and earned a Master of Computer Engineering degree from Syracuse University in 1992.