Administrating and Developing with Informix
Bruce Weed, who leads Informix marketing strategy for Informix and IBM Information Management Business Partner Strategy, has started a new blog: Bruce Weed's Blog. In his first post he threatens to share thoughts, experiences, and conversations about Informix and Information Management channels and begins with an interesting analogy about multi-talented olympic snowboarder Shaun White and how he chooses to focus his talents. I'm looking forward to part two of this when Bruce finds another can of Red Bull..
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A new starter page for Informix software sprung up on IBM recently. Check out: http://www.ibm.com/software/data/informix/discover-informix/index.html
The site covers the Informix value proposition: Hassle Free, Reliable, Agile, Everywhere, with links to quickviews of some of the companies who moved to Informix. Also on this site includes an invite to a kick-off event in New York with Arvind Krishna IBM Information Management General Manager and other IBM execs which takes place on March 16 2010.
Informix blogs are spreading like a nasty rash, except nicer (note to self: come up with better analogies).
Informix chief Architect Kevin Brown has begun blogging on developerWorks. In his first post he makes the case for blogging about Informix, and goes on to describes his experiences in China. I hope we here more about Kevin's sojourns in China, I've read some very interesting, and encouraging trip reports from him in the past. Welcome Kevin. You can follow his new blog here: https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/blogs/IfmxKbrown/
Great news for people who are bored of reading insipid mediocre blogs like this one. Three new Informix blogs have sprung up on developerWorks for our reading pleasure..
Fred Ho leads the IDS Competitive Technologies team, and despite his self-effacing first post has a wealth of experience and expertise, particularly in areas such as data warehousing and business intelligence. Fred will be enlightening us with more of what the competitive team gets up to in subsequent posts.
Keshav is the Informix architect for SQL and Optimizer and is responsible for designing many of the SQL and performance features and enhancements we've seen in recent versions of IDS. He also has interests in diverse areas such as IBM Smart Market and cloud computing. In his first post he has found an interview with Roger Sippl, venture capitalist and founder of Informix.
Jonathan Leffler's is our security architect, and the guy I tend to go to when I have obscure questions on SQL syntax and 4GL. His new blog: Ruminations on Informix begins nice and technical with the question of where to put $INFORMIXDIR.
Welcome to developerWorks!
The IDS 11.50.xC6 virtual appliance is now available to download here:
This can be a very useful environment to test IDS 11.50.xC6 features since IDS is pre-installed and configured. It is also a ready to use development environment - the tools you need to do development are installed (CSDK, Data Server Drivers (incl JDBC, ODBC), PDO. Optim Data Studio.
IDS 11.50.xC6 had several new features you can become familiar with using this virtual appliance. A good place to see a summary of the 11.50.,xC6 IDS features is from a write-up that appeared in the Informix Zone blog: http://www.informix-zone.com/node/912
Note that several different editions of the virtual appliance are created, all are currently based on SLES 10 SP2 and all are free.
The choices are: 32 bit vs 64 bit. VMware Workstation format vs ESX. Self-extracting executable for Windows or Gzipped tar file.
Make sure you download the right one.
If you're a Java developer and you need JDBC 4 features like auto-loading, SQL exception handling enhancements, XML support, DataSet implementation of SQL, it makes sense to use the JDBC 4 compatible IBM Data Server Driver with IDS instead of the Informix JDBC driver. There are various other good reasons for switching to this driver, and the Feb 24 Chat with the Lab, starring the IBM JCC Development Manager Satheesh Bandaram, will look at the top 10. Below are the details..
Early Validation Program (EVP) releases of the next major release of IDS will be available to test soon. If you want to keep up to learn about and prepare for the very latest features this is a good opportunity to participate.
Here is the IDS Early Program announcement:
Also for more information about the program go here:
HP have released a new white paper entitled: HP Integrity Virtual Machines Online Migration with IBM Informix Dynamic Server 11.50 .
HP Integrity Virtual Machines provide the ability to migrate a running virtual system from one Integrity machine to another, keeping the application, workload, and operating system running on the system. This can be done on all Integrity servers and allows for (among other things) a very flexible operating environment, high availability and rapid provisioning.
This white paper takes you through the basics of Integrity VM, Online migration, IDS and what you need to know in terms of setting it up. It also takes the reader through a series of 9 test scenarios, including high availability scenarios such as HDR and IDS clustering technology (MACH11).
It's been a while since I've worked with the ZK programming language (or Rich Internet Application framework) so it was nice to get an opportunity to play around with the latest release. To ease myself back in gently I wrote a simple letter frequency analyzer to help with solving ciphers (note this post is not Informix-related for a change)..
The current release of ZK is 5.0 RC2, and I notice it is now split up into a free community edition, and commercial professional and enterprise edtions. The free edition no longer includes JFreeChart but fortunately it does include FlashChart which provides basic charting capability and is very easy to use. (Click on the image to view it full size):
The program is only about 40 lines so all the code can be self-contained in a single .zul file to be deployed under an app server such as Tomcat.
First I'll write the presentation layer which consists of a text box, a button and a chart:
Next comes the Java code that is executed when the "Calculate" button is clicked. This reads the text in the "targetText" texbox, counts the frequency of different letters and feeds it into a chart which is associated with the "chart" FlashChart:
That's it. In my case I created a "freq" directory under my Tomcat webapps path, copied the above code in as index.zul and created a WEB-INF sub-directory as per the ZK Quick Start Guide.
Overall I like the look and feel of ZK 5, it is smoother, faster and slicker looking than earlier editions.
Two useful IDS security resources have recently been published..
1. developerWorks Article:
Protect your data with Secure Sockets Layer support in Informix Dynamic Server, Part 1: Setting up SSL support in IDS by IDS security engineers Manoj Mohan and Lynette D. Adayilamuriyil .
This article takes you through the basics of setting up encrypted database communcation using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), which begins with requesting a Digital Certificate. The digital certificate is used to exchange keys at the beginning of an SSL connection, after which a random symmetric key is generated. The article also has a section on troubleshooting SSL in IDS.
Update: The article is here.
2. Audio replay and slides available for IDS Security Best Practices chat with lab.
IDS Security Architect Jonathan Leffer presented this topic at the Chat with Lab series on December 16th. The audio replay and slides are now available here: http://www.ibm.com/informix/labchats
Happy 2010 (I need to get used to writing that so my checks don't bounce). The new decade brings new resolutions, including of course a forlorn hope of updating the blog with greater frequency.
HDR is a powerful Informix availability solution but it is important to set it up correctly and get reliabiliity without compromising high performance.
Lurking in my distended email inbox is an invite to the upcoming Chat with the Lab on Jan 20th, where tech support engineer Ron Privett talks about HDR Best Practices and Performance Tuning.
Below are the details on how to attend..
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Adria Informix User Group Meeting 11/17/09
The Adria IUG president Hrvoje Zokovic sent me a note reporting on the 1st Adria Informix User Group Meeting..
Stockholm Informix User Group Meeting 11/16/09
After a busy week of meetings in the UK and Ireland I went to Stockholm to talk at the Stockholm Informix User Group meeting. I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't snowing but you can't have everything. The meeting started with an introduction from IBM Sweden's Information Management sales manager Fredrik Prien, followed by me presenting the IDS roadmap, then discussing embeddability, virtualization and cloud computing. Next up was Rickard Linck with a very detailed and informative talk on recent IDS features, followed by Ulf Åkerberg with an interesting talk on High availability demands at the Swedish Migration Board.
Speaking at this event turned out to be a lucrative endeavour, with all presenters receiving some bottles of Schnapps, Schnapps glasses and a scarf. Forgetting that the Schnapps was in my hand luggage and going through 3 sets of airport security to get home was challenging, but somehow I managed to bring them home without needing to drink them on the spot.
After the user group meeting most attendees decamped to a very pleasant Swedish restaurant for nourishment and bibulation..
One thing I like about Ubuntu is that everything is easy to install. Installing software, in the vast majority of cases, should be as simple as running a single command.
These packages have been developed for the Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Long Term Support) release, but can be installed on the latest 9.10 as well (see below).How to add the Ubuntu partner repository as a source (Ubuntu 8.04)
I typically just vi /etc/apt/sources.list and uncomment the line for the partner repository. Then run "apt-get update" to retrieve the new packages lists. A more graphical way is to run the Ubuntu Package Manager and add a repository (click on these images to view larger versions)..
Once the partner repository is enabled you can see the Informix packages in the GUI Ubuntu Package Manager and install them directly:
Alternatively just use the commnand line. E.g. "sudo apt-get install informix-ids":
How to install on Ubuntu 9.10
Being lazy I am copying Alexander Koerner's 9.10 instructions from his Facebook entry (thanks Alex)..
In order to install IDS in Karmic Koala (9.10) you need to a) manually download and install the libstdc++5 from here http://packages.ubuntu.com/jaunty/i386/libstdc++5/download and b) add the Ubuntu 8.04 partner repository (deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu hardy partner) to your preferred Ubuntu installer (e.g. Synaptic). Then select e.g. informix-ids-demo, start the installation and relax... ;-)
I've converted a laptop to Ubuntu 9.10 and like how easy installation and set-up was. I don't miss the early days of Linux when you needed to know about device drivers (ok I do a bit).
If you're going to learn about about HDR and RSS, you might as well learn it straight from the horse's mouth. The horse in this case being our resident high availability STSM Madison Pruet...
The IDS 11.50.xC5 virtual appliance has been available for a while now, but since we've been changing the download mechanism to enable a quicker turnaround. Now the virtual appliance is available via direct FixCentral links..
Below are the direct links associated with each of the Linux 32 and 64 bit virtual appliance packages (Workstation tgz/exe and ESX) - make sure you download the right one..
Desktop VMware virtual appliances (for VMware Workstation, Server, Player, Fusion)
32-bit Gzipped Tar (.tgz for any platform)::
32-bit self-extracting Executable (.exe for Windows):
64-bit Gzipped Tar (.tgz for any platform):
64-bit self-extracting Executable (.exe for Windows):
VMware ESX format
The IOD conference starts in Las Vegas on Sunday and this is the time of year when I glare enviously at anyone who doesn't leave everything to the last minute and isn't working on their conference sessions.
I am relieved that at least that my Hands on Lab: 1230 Getting Started with the IBM Developer Cloud and Informix Dynamic Server is complete (with a lot of help from co-author Yunming). It's been fun working on this lab and getting to use the cloud features.
What is the IBM Developer Cloud? The IBM Smart Business Development and Test Cloud site describes it as "a dynamically provisioned and scaled runtime environment that provides everything needed to develop and test application code". If you have not tried it, it's worth a look. It's in an open beta phase at the moment, which means it's free to create an ID and launch your own images. Another invite-only beta phase is scheduled to begin in December that will include many new features. In the lab we'll launch our own Informix cloud images, manage connectivity with RSA key pairs, set up web services, HDR and MACH11 on our cloud instances. In case I'm not shamelessly promoting it enough, I also plan to hand out free Amazon Web Services Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) vouchers at the lab, so if you're attending IOD come along to Breakers-C on Wednesday afternoon (2pm-5pm) and try it out. We'll also be demo'ing the Informix Developer Cloud image in the Expo hall at certain times.
If you're planning on being there, hope to see you at the Community reception at 8pm on Sunday.
Informix partner Bell Micro and IBM are teaming up to put on a community event for Informix ISV's, users and business partners in Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire, UK on November 12th 2009. This is how the agenda is shaping up:
The Informix on Campus initiative now has its own domain: http://www.informixoncampus.org/ - the site has some great links to freely downloadable Informix training material. Examples include: Performance, Introduction to IDS, Extensibility, Data Studio, Object Oriented Approach and Databases, Application Environments, Introduction to Websphere Application Server Community Edition, Service Oriented Architecture and Web Services, RDBMS Enterprise Features, Virtualization and Cloud.
Another very useful thing about this website is that it is currently the best place to download the latest 11.50.UC5 IDS virtual appliance. (The xC5 VA is also available through Fix Central but not currently very easy to find - we're working on that...)
Do you ever read technical documentation and wish you could make a comment? For example you try something and feel it would help other readers if you point out some gotchas, or you wish some extra information was there.. Now you can make comments directly on the IDS documentation, give it a try..
The IDS 11.50 Information Center is now a Collaboration Center! You can now rate IDS documentation topics, start discussion threads, comment on content, share examples, watch topics/threads, and more! To try out the new collaboration methods, go to the 11.50 info center: http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/idshelp/v115/index.jsp.
There's a Cloud Computing for Developers virtual workshop taking place on October 1. Hosted by technical evangelists at Amazon Web Services and IBM it will cover topics such what you need to know start writing cloud applications and some of the benefits, as well as the IBM solutions available.
Check here for more details and to sign up: http://www-304.ibm.com/jct01005c/isv/iic/events/description.jsp?event=4337D2D62C6B27C78625761F0054D275A nice thing about this workshop is that as well as being free to attend, you get a free coupon for using Amazon Web Services. So if you've been planning to play around with an Informix Amazon Machine Image but don't enjoy parting with money this is a good opportunity to give it a try.
The Informix Basic Text Search Extension (aka BTS blade) is a powerful and free search tool based on the open source cLucene project. It is easy to set up and use, especially now it works with smart blobspaces (instead of the ext spaces that BTS 1.0 required). The current version has some nice new features such as stop words. I just hope we get searches on multiple columns enabled one day (which would require an enhancement to the underlying virtual index/table feature VII/VTI).
Getting to the point, the BTS extension guru Mark Ashworth will be discussing advanced text searching topics in the next Chat with the Lab.
Here are the details..
Topic : Advanced Text Searching Topics in IDS
This month's Informix Chat with the Lab will be deep dive into how to setup and perform full-text searching on unstructured/plain text and XML based document repositories. Learn about search predicates and options, some techniques to handle inconsistent diacritical marks, enhanced index searching based on text found in XML tags and attributes, and ways to improve reliability and performance.Objectives:
Jerry Keesee, Director of the Informix Lab will introduce the call and Mark Ashworth, Informix Datablade Architect will be our technical speaker.
Web RSVP information:
To register for this event:
To anyone who thinks this blog has lost its originality and has just become an outlet for announcements for conferences, user group meetings, chats with the lab, I'd like to say
2010 IIUG Informix Conference - Call For Presentations
Proposal Submission Deadline: November 1, 2009
The Conference Planning Committee is currently soliciting presentation proposals for the 2010 IIUG Informix Conference, to be held April 25-28 in Overland Park, Kansas USA - http://www.iiug.org/conf. The conference provides a forum for the exchange of information among Informix DBAs and developers and is the premier technical Informix event of the year.
This is your opportunity to share your expertise with a global audience of Informix enthusiasts. If you are selected as a speaker, you will receive a complimentary pass that provides access to all break-out sessions, conference-related events and meals.
The Committee is looking for content that will be of interest to all audience levels. Subjects related to all current Informix and Informix-heritage products, or products that operate in those environments such as other IBM products, third party, Open Source and cross-platform products are welcome.
Topics relevant to today's environment and of interest to conference attendees include, but are not limited to:
To see the presentation guidelines and submit your abstract, visit the Call for Presentations web page - http://www.iiug.org/conf/call_for_presentations
The deadline for submitting your presentation proposal is November 1, 2009. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at email@example.com.
The IIUG Conference Team
The IDS roadshow tour of the world is continuing through the Autumn.. the link to the schedule, including registration details is here: http://www.ibm.com/software/data/informix/roadshow/ ...
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James Edmiston writes to remind me that now is a good time to start thinking about the 2010 IIUG Conference, taking place in the well known tourist magnet and holiday hotspot of Overland Park, Kansas. Here is the announcement...
Keep an eye out for the call for presentations which starts this months, submitting presentations is a good way to attend for free as well as share your business or technical solution with others.
Keep an eye out for the call for presentations which starts this months, submitting presentations is a good way to attend for free as well as share your business or technical solution with others.
The Chicago Infomrix User Group meeting looks to be a good one. Here is the invite email form Rob Beal...
This got me thinking about what my hottest feature in IDS 11.5 is. I'd probably pick something obscure like XSLT transform support or oninit -w on Windows. I think this is referring to redirected-writes, which is indeed a not bad 11.5 feature..
Trafficmaster is a set of intelligent driving services which include enhanced route-finding solutions such as SmartNav, which uses satellite navigation data combined with live traffic information to find the smartest routes and avoid traffic jams.
Howard, one of our user experience maestro's, has asked me to publicise a request for participation in some upcoming usability sessions. Your feedback makes a difference..
Software Focus Session for MAC OSX
We are looking for individuals to help provide usability feedback on upcoming products. The study will take place on-site (in San Jose, California) and conducted as a group session.
Sessions will be August 26th and August 27th and should last no more than 120 minutes. All participants will be compensated for their time.
Looking for the following types of users:
User type 2: An application developer with experience developing Mac OSX application using Cocoa and Obective-C
User type 3: An ISV providing software or services on the OSX platform for small to large companies.
User type 4: University professor wanting to teach databases to students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Participants will be expected to actively participate in group discussions and provide feedback on specific proposals as well as identify their related needs and requirements. Please respond to smguinan _at_ us.ibm.com.
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Here is the flyer for the August 12 Chat with the Lab which covers Cognos and Informix integration. I am wrestling with the new My developerWorks blogging interface and am not sure how much I like it yet, here's my first (and probably only)attempt at reproducing the Chat invite..
Informix Chat with Lab
The Informix on Campus blog reports on a new IDS certification entitled IBM Certified Database Associate - Informix Dynamic Server 11.50 Fundamentals.
To attain this certification, candidates need to pass a single exam.. Test 000-555: IBM Informix Dynamic Server 11.50 Fundamentals.
So what is the difference between the new Fundamentals Exam and the IBM Certified System Administrator - Informix Dynamic Server V11 exam?
The System Administrator exam tests more on the specifics of IDS installation, configuration, monitoring and troubleshooting, whereas the Fundamentals exam tests a wider DBA knowledge including..
To see if you are ready to take this test, have a go at the online Sample test.[Read More]
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A new version of the Advanced DataTools Fastest DBA contest is running from June 18 – September 30, 2009.
Here is the description from the Contest website.
Advanced DataTools is sponsoring a NEW contest for Informix Users to find and honor the fastest Informix DBAs. This is a new version of our very successful contest at the 2009 IIUG Informix User Conference. The challenge is to take a basic Informix IDS database server configuration and a SQL script that runs a series of inserts and updates and see who can get it to run the fastest!
There will be 12 winners in the following CATEGORIES:
Grand Prize – the Fastest User DBA. To qualify for this prize, the user must be 1) a DBA employed at a company using Informix internally, 2) not a consultant, 3) not an IBM employee. (Grand Prize is either a Free pass to the 2010 IIUG Informix User Conference or an iPod Touch)
Honorary Prizes (Fastest DBA Shirt):
The challenge will be to complete the following:
Talking of iPod Touches, half my colleagues here in Beaverton seem to have got themselves one and are proselytizing its virtues in a rather cult-like fashion. I will stick with my crackberry as addictive gadget of choice for now thank you very much.[Read More]
If you're interested in the storage savings and performance gains available with compression, one of the IDS compression feature developers Kevin Cherkauer will be discussing the feature and answering your questions on July 15. Here are the details..
Informix Chat with the Lab - Wednesday, July 15, 8:30 AM Pacific, 10:30 AM Central, 11:30 AM Eastern, 4:30 PM London, 5:30 PM Paris
Compression and Storage optimization support in IDS!
This month's Informix Chat with the Lab will be related to Smarter Planet initiative, helping save energy and cost via Compression & Storage Optimization support in IDS.
This talk will provide an introduction to Informix Dynamic Server's new Compression and Storage Optimization features. We will cover compression basic concepts and affects on the data, compression ratios and compressibility, performance, scaling, and interactions with other features such as HDR and ER. The talk will also include details of the new operations and behaviors introduced by these two closely related features.
Jerry Keesee, Director of the Informix Lab will introduce the call and Kevin Cherkauer, Informix Sr Technical Lead will be our technical speaker.
Participant access information:URL: https://www.mymeetings.com/emeet/rsvp/index.jsp?customHeader=mymeetings&Conference_ID=4572107&passcode=7232225Conference number: 4572107Passcode: 7232225
To register for this event:1. Go to the URL listed above and choose Web RSVP under Join Events.2. Enter the conference number and passcode3. Provide your information for the event leader and then click submit. 4. You will receive a confirmation email from "e-meetings." Please follow instructions to join the call on day of call (Note: for security reasons, a passcode and pin will be required to join call) [Read More]
IDS virtual appliances now come in a choice of operating systems! UK based IBM partners Bell Micro have entered into a distribution agreement with Canonical to produce a free IDS 11.50 Developer Edition virtual appliance running on Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex.
The appliance is similar in some ways to IBM's SLES 10.2 based Informix virtual appliance, following the basic format of a pre-installed instance of IDS 11.50.xC4 Developer Edition, associated drivers and tutorials. You will see a few differences, such as tighter intregration with AGS Server Studio and other Bell Micro customizations.
To download the Ubuntu virtual appliance, and for more information visit Bell Micro's website at: http://www.informixcity.com/ubuntu.aspx
I like using Ubuntu and am very happy to see an Ubuntu based IDS appliance available. I find it to be one of the most accessible and easy to use Linux distros out there and get a lot of work done with it running on my old laptop (which IBM keep asking me to return, I'll do that any year now).[Read More]
During this morning's Chat with the Lab on Virtualization and Cloud computing with IDS (which I thought went quite well, in that it wasn't the worst webcast I've done, though I always think of some extra things I could have said afterward), I made a vague threat to post a link on this blog to an IDS High Availability demo showing HDR and MACH11 failover across Amazon Availability Zones.
This demo, and two others can be found on the Amazon Web Services blog: http://aws.typepad.com/aws/2009/05/ibm-informix-database-in-the-cloud.html. The high availability demo is the second one.
The slides for this lab chat (and others) can be downloaded from here: http://www-01.ibm.com/software/data/informix/labchats/#24.[Read More]
This month's Informix Chat with the Lab takes place on Thursday, and I'll be talking about virtualization and cloud computing. Here is the announcement..
Informix Chat with the LabThis month's Informix Chat with the Lab will be on the popular topic of Virtualization and Cloud Computing with IDS.
The Informix Summer roadshow has begun and here is a repro of the event calender from IIUG. Note I added a link to pictures from the Zagreb roadshow (thanks Hrvoje). If you attend or run one of these events and have some photos to share please let me know.
Take advantage of these Informix events coming to cities near you!Informix Roadshow
The Informix Dynamic Server roadshow is traveling around the world, providing a 2-day deep-dive, hands-on opportunity to try out the latest Informix technology. Gain fresh, innovative ideas to optimize your business performance and create competitive advantage.
2009 Informix Roadshow Highlights:
Sign up to attend an upcoming Roadshow below. Don't see your city?
Worldwide locations are being planned, including Taipei, Tokyo, Seoul, Bangalore, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Vietnam, Dubai, Cairo, Stockholm, Milan, Paris, Hursley, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, Lisbon, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Auckland, Christchurch, Sydney, Melbourne, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Quito, Santiago.
North America locations under consideration are Toronto, Canada; Bentonville, AK; Boston, MA; New York City, NY; Orlando, FL; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA.
Contact Scott Pickett (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out more information, or to ask for a roadshow to be scheduled in your city (outside of North America).
Contact Carlton Doe at email@example.com to find out more information, or to ask for a roadshow to be scheduled in your city (North America only).
Local User Group meetings
The latest list of local user group meetings can be found on the IIUG website at http://iiug.org/events/events.php#May2009.
Does your local user group need new ideas for your meetings? IBM and the IIUG have teamed up to create Tech Day content that includes a suggested agenda, presentation materials, demos and speakers who can be available for your user group meeting. Topics include the Informix Roadmap, Continuous Availability (MACH 11), Informix Warehouse, Compression, and other topics that can be customized for your group. This can also be used as an opportunity to reach out to universities in your area by adding an Academic Initiative Information Session.
Contact Cindy Lichtenauer (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Pradeep Kutty (email@example.com) to get a Tech Day organized for your local user group.
Business Partner Training
The Informix Bootcamps are 3-day in-depth technical workshops for IBM Business Partners that focus on IDS 11.5. Detailed presentations and hands-on labs are included where attendees will gain in-depth knowledge of exciting new features and areas including:
Business Partners with applications that currently run on IDS or who are new to IDS can benefit from this workshop by learning how IDS can add value to your solutions and extend your market opportunities. Business consultants who are currently working with or planning to work with IDS for their customers are also welcome to attend.
The latest schedule of bootcamps can be found at http://www.iiug.org/url/2009_bootcamps.html.
Summary of Upcoming Informix Events
A series of free IDS 11.50 workshops are planned over the next few weeks, in Washington (June 10,11), Atlanta (June 16,17), Raleigh (June 16,17), Dallas (June 23,24) and Chicago (July 14,15). Here are details of the Atlanta event. I'll post more information or a link to the other events when I find it.
Lunch and break refreshments will be provided both days. The afternoon schedule on Day 2 may be adjusted based on attendee preference.For more details, see the SEIUG Web site or contact Dick Snoke (dsnoke _at_ us.ibm.com) with specific questions about times or agenda.
Hope to see you there!
The openadmintool.com website, which had been looking a bit neglected of late, has been revitalized with a new design and updated links.
The site has a SkyBlueCanvas content management system look though I'm told this may change as site requirements change. I like the new look and find it easy to find information, links, downloads and demo's on the site. The site developer Jeff Williams is welcoming suggestions. Not sure what I'd suggest, maybe integrated documentation and how to's, though the links to developerWorks articles help with that.[Read More]
The IDS 11.50.xC4 virtual appliance is now available for download - https://www14.software.ibm.com/webapp/iwm/web/reg/download.do?source=swg-informixfpd&S_PKG=dl
Initially the self-extracting executable versions are there (which extract to VMWare machine images) expect to see .tgz files there too shortly.
When you look at the download site note that as well as the regular 32 and 64 bit VMWare Workstation versions, for the first time there is a VMWare ESX version. Make sure you pick the right edition to download. If you're using VMWare Player, Workstation, Server or pFusion download the VMWare Workstation version.
A lot of development work has taken place since the last IDS virtual appliance was posted.. here is a quick summary of new features, listed by the virtual appliance version (the current being 1.9):
* Upgraded IDS products: IDS 11.50.xC4 Spatial DataBlade 8.21.xC3 Data Studio 188.8.131.52 OAT 2.24 * Updated IDS Game: replace old dates with new ones * Renamed SQLHOSTS file sqlhosts.cheetah2 to sqlhosts.demos. * Changed the size of the second disk from 2 GB to 4 GB. * Fixes to ODBC/CLI data server driver (add missing header files, etc.)
* ESX support* Upgraded Data Server Client Drivers from v95fp2 to v95fp4 * Fixed informix service startup file to correctly set the permissions and ownership on /data/IBM/informix/etc/sqlhosts.cheetah2 * Eliminated the "doc" directory from the VM directory Latest docs
* Addressed cut/paste between host and guest OS * Included simple BTS demo
* Changed ONCONFIG files for all demo instances * Updated all clusterDemo PHP examples: change hostname from suse1 to ids1150srvr* Updated the informix startup script: create the demo_on instance only on the first boot; do not re-create it on any subsequent boot * Updated the apache startup script: fix a defect that caused all clusterDemo PHP examples to fail to connect to any instance on the 64-bit IDS VA * Changed ONCONFIG STACKSIZE parameter for all demo instances to 128 * Installed Data Studio 2.1
* Incorporated a change to the stop demo scripts made for 64-bit editions into the 32-bit editions * Adjusted demo instance ONCONFIG files for each IDS edition * Eliminated /etc/ld.so.conf.d/ld.so.informix.conf and explicitly add IDS libraries to /etc/ld.so.conf. * Bundled AGS with the IDS VA. (Installer in /opt/AGS.) * Eliminated YaST screen on initial first-time boot-up
As the IDS virtual appliance matures it is good to see it becoming a standard platform for demo's and a base for educational classes. Now a VMWare ESX hypervisor version is also available it is now easier to put the appliance into a data server environment and start using it. [Read More]
One of the highlights for me at the IIUG Conference in April was Advanced DataTools' Fastest DBA contest. Lester Knutsen has advised that the pictures from the event are now available.
What people really want to know of course is how the winners did it.. what performance magic did the winning DBA's work to get their queries so optimized? There are plans to record a webcast this week where the winners will share their secrets. The webcast will be available for playback - look for announcements soon.
The next iteration of the Fastest DBA contest looks interesting too. Expect it to be available online for all-comers to try their hand at extreme optimization.[Read More]
Here are the provisional agendas for the upcoming Beaverton and San Jose Informix tech fairs. Agendas are subject to whimsical and subliminal change.
Beaverton, OR - Wednesday May 20
San Jose, CA - May 28
The time after 2pm is currently set aside for more demo's and in depth chats with developers, advanced support and product management - bring your problems.
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There's an Informix Tech Day taking place in Treviso in Italy on June 19th. Here is the preliminary announcement..
SMC TREVISO, together with STRHOLD, IBM Italia and IIUG (Informix International Users Group), is happy to announce the very first meeting in Italy entirely dedicated to IBM-Informix database.
The goals of this meeting are the following:
For details go to http://smcgroup.pjoon.com/informixtechday[Read More]
A new blog dedicated to Informix in schools, colleges and universities began this week. Created and maintained by Pamela Siebert, the Informix on Campus blog includes some useful links, including the Informix on Campus wiki and the Facebook page.
The wiki aims to provide a easily accessible getting start site for members of the educational community to start learning about, using, and developing training material based on Informix technology. With a free Developer Edition, a self-contained virtual appliance (available as a VM image or as an Amazon Machine Image), and a wide range of free training material available, IDS is well-placed to be a useful part of academic curriculums teaching Data Processing related topics, both at a theoretical level and in practical applications that demonstrate key topics such as high availability, security, transaction processing, application development etc.
Getting Started with Informix Application Development Flash Book
One item the Informix on Campus blog links to is Jacques Roy's draft flash book: Informix Dynamic Server Application Development:Getting Started. Currently running at 86 pages, topics covered include Informix extensibility (user defined types and blades), Installing and setting up IDS, install and set up of client environments. Programming topicsinclude Java and the Informix JDBC/IBM Data Server drivers with related development tools, PHP (PDO_INFORMIX, PDO_IBM, Zend Core). Ruby and Ruby on Rails, and .NET development.
Take a look at the draft and provide feedback. My feedback.. firstly I love seeing all this application development information for IDS in one place, well described and easy to follow. I'll definitely be using it as a reference when I need a .NET or Ruby on Rails example.I'd like to see more about the IDS virtual appliance in a later draft since the VA is a completeapplication development environemt in a box, providing a way of skipping theinstall and set-up steps of developing with IDS and enabling people to get started developingright away.[Read More]
A new version of the IDS Lightweight Installer - 0.2.7 - has been uploaded to the IIUG Software Repository.
The Lightweight Installer is a free utility designed to support embedding IDS on Windows platforms. It is a deployment tool to redeploy pre-configured IDS instances to multiple sites, making various customizations along the way. The standard deployment model is to set up a template IDS instance on one machine and copy the INFORMIXDIR to the deployment machines. The lightweight installer then performs any required set-up on the deployment machines to make the instance ready to run. Deployment using this method typically takes a few seconds. You can deploy an INFORMIXDIR snapshot yourself by copying it to the deployment machine(s) any way you choose, or use 7-zip to compress/uncompress.
New enhancements in 0.2.7 include:
Thanks to co-developer Tosin Ajayi, and to Bill Belisle for documentation support.
A new version of the NTUtils package is available on the IIUG Software Repository.
NTUtils is a collection of tools designed to be useful for Windows DBA's and administrators. The new version supports IDS 11.50 and the latest Windows operating systems. The coding enhancements were done by a team of Tech Support engineers Randy House, Liesel Bach and Suma Vinod.
Here is a summary of the contents:
addrights - add the user rights required to start IDS to the local account specified
cfgpatch - changes onconfig.std values in the IDS Windows media. For IDS versions < 11
ch2ch - converts ascii characters in a file from one to another
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Software\Informix to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\software\Informix
Useful when an administrator wants to give every user the same Informix client settings, but doesn't want to set them manually for each user using setnet32
d2u.exe - Strips the CR from CRLF sequences in a file
gettoken - Returns Token information for a running Windows process
ipcs - displays shared memory segments
ixset.exe - Sets Informix environment variables in the Registry for the specified InformixServer
Logoff - Command line utility to log off, shut down or restart the machine
nterror - Converts a Windows Operating System error number into an error message
Onpipe - Sends command to the IDS named pipe to be executed in the context of the IDS process
Onregcheck.exe - Checks and prints the Informix Dynamic Server Registry settings
setsysenv - Set system or user environment variables
tapeinfo.exe - Gather information about a tape device
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My colleague Suma writes to tell me about the San Jose Tech fair on May 28th. I hope to get down there for it.
Free Informix Tech Fair
Talks include the following topics:
IBM Informix Engineers
Free ConsultingHaving a problem or question about Informix? Talk to an engineer and get free advice about your specific issue.
WHEN: May 28, 2009, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
WHERE: IBM San Jose
4400 N. First Street, Suite 100
San Jose, CA 95134
It is Wednesday and IIUG 2009 is winding up. There's a Customer Advisory Council meeting taking place tomorrow so I'll be in town until Friday.
The conference was a lot of fun, starting with the welcome reception on Sunday where it was great to catch up with geographically dispersed colleagues and Informix contacts.
Cathy Elliot's and Jacques Roy have been covering the events on their blogs. See also Pradeep's posting on IDS Experts
For me the conference had a distinctly cloudy theme. My Virtualization and Cloud Computing with Informix presentation on Monday had a full room and some interesting questions about pricing, licensing, performance, security, storage and backup policies. Jinesh Varia, a technical evangelist from Amazon attended and helped me out with some of those questions. Update: 5/2/09: Jinesh has blogged about his experiences at IIUG here: http://aws.typepad.com/aws/2009/05/ibm-informix-database-in-the-cloud.html.
There was a birds of a feather session in the evening where we could follow up on some of these topics. There is a burgeoning interest in the economies around cloud computing and this was evident at the conference. If you have a good idea of your expected resource usage, hardware and deployment costs and expected length of service it becomes a relatively straightforward calculation to make on whether cloud computing is cost-effective. There are concerns around security - conforming to government requirements about the location of confidential data for example. Amazon has some security check marks such as HIPAA compliance that meets some of these concerns.
It has been good to get feedback from people using the IDS virtual appliance. People are starting to see a desktop virtual appliance with IDS and associated components pre-installed as an indispensable tool for testing new IDS features, application development, demo's, and also education. I attended an Academic Initiative meeting on Tuesday, where professors from local universities learned about free software and training programs from IBM, as well as educational discounts, and shared their interests and needs in this area. The IDS virtual appliance provides an answer to several needs in the academic community for a database teaching platform. It provides an environment where students and professors don't have to spend time with installation and configuration when they're teaching a specific data management topic - where students can take the classroom home with them and keep working. The usability work that has gone in to the appliance helps to reduce the number of manual pages that need to be read to start working with SQL and database features.
The Monday evening reception had a Hawaiian theme and fortunately pictures of me in a grass skirt managed to stay out of Facebook, unlike poor Harpreet.
On Tuesday morning Information Management CTO Anant Jhingran delivered a keynote on Informix and cloud computing covering IBM's vision for the cloud, as well as drilling down into Information Management and IDS. The keynote was well-received, with people I spoke to saying the strategy was clear and made a lot of sense. There was an attempt at a demo during the keynote showing how to get started using IDS and the Amazon Cloud, but the network was flaky and it was somewhat unsuccessful. I wouldn't want to be that demo guy. Oh wait, I was that guy.
Later on Tuesday Jinesh gave his Amazon Web Services presentation and went more in depth into these offerings, contrasting S3 with EBS storage and addressing some of the security and availability questions people have. I had a demo in this talk that showed Informix Connection Manager providing High Availability failover across Amazon Availability Zones. Fortunately this demo went much better!
As usual I didn't manage to get to many other sessions, but I did attend Tosin Ajayi's presentation on Embedding and Deploying IDS, and he did a great job of outlining IDS embeddability strategy along with practical tips on embedded deployment.
Today was my IDS on Windows Technical Deep Dive session, which went great, apart from my mistake of leaving it until the night before to add IDS 11.50.xC4 Windows features to the slides. I had forgotten how many new features there are, like full MACH11 SDS support, inline upgrade support, and my favorite, oninit -w (more about that later) to name a few, so was still working on slides at 2am.
Congratulations to Spokey Wheeler for the fastest time in the Fastest DBA contest, getting a 30 minute query down to around a minute.
Now a week's worth of work to catch up on..[Read More]
Cathy Elliot has started a new blog called Informix Voices. Here Cathy will be interviewing people connected with Informix and putting their thoughts, opinions and perspectives on the blog. She's using the new My developerWorks as a platform for the blog, I've not tried My developerWorks yet but it looks good.
The IIUG conference kicks off today so Cathy is in the right place. I'm currently in Portland airport waiting for a flight to Kansas, hoping the hotel shuttle will get me there in time to enjoy the welcome reception.
This conference there are various activities around virtualization and cloud computing.. an Informix virtualization session on Monday, a Birds of a Feather session on Monday evening, Anant Jhingran's keynote on cloud computing on Tuesday morning, an Amazon Web Services session on Tuesday, and various demos in the Demo hall, including a very cool one on using Spatial data with Enterprise Replication in the cloud. Expect to see the IDS virtual appliance used as the host platform for many of these demos, from cloud computing to the Informix Warehouse feature. The neat pre-configured environment of the VA saves a lot of setup time and presents a consistent look and feel. In my case it also spares people from having to look directly at the mess that is the over-configured Windows environment on my laptop, where I have trouble finding anything I did. Talking of Windows I'm glad I get to do my IDS on Windows Technical deep dive on Wednesday, which will mean Tuesday night updating slides to put the latest 11.50.xC4 information on (hint.. oninit -w, previously available on UNIX, is a great new feature for Windows embeddability and represents a new model for Informix architecture on Windows, expect a blog post on it some time too).[Read More]
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Here are more details for the Beaverton Tech fair on May 20th...
Free Informix Tech Fair
Talks include the following topics:
IIUG President Stuart Litel
IBM Informix Engineers
Free ConsultingHaving a problem or question about Informix? Talk to an engineer and get free advice about your specific issue.
WHEN: May 20, 2009, 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
WHERE: IBM Beaverton
15400 SW Koll Parkway
Beaverton, OR 97006
Hope to see you there.[Read More]
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Two new Informix white papers were published today..
Administering Informix Dynamic Server on Microsoft Windows (PDF)
This 63 page white paper starts where the IDS documentation leaves off and describes some of the "under the hood" aspects of IDS on Windows, with plenty of administration and troubleshooting tips. If you use or administer IDS on Windows you should find this paper very useful.
I'd been tinkering away on versions of this document since 2006, when a request for an IDS on Windows document was made during a customer meeting. I remember the meeting because it took place while waiting in line at the Haunted Mansion at Disneyworld (see photo). The document was provided but we thought it would be good to continue improving it and write a more extensive document. Liesel in Munich Advanced Support started working on it with me and added a lot of technical content. Later Jasna, one of our Information Development authors, joined us to make it readable and help with the publishing requirements (which were more exacting than we expected). I am very happy to see this document see the light of day.
IBM Informix Dynamic Server Storage Optimization (PDF)
This paper written by Scott Lashley is an in depth look at the new IDS Compression feature. Read it to understand how you can improve performance, save on backup and restore time, reduce buffer usage and save up to 80% of storage.[Read More]