Waiting at McCarran airport in a contemplative frame of mind for a flight back to Portland afforded some time to reflect on the recently completed IOD 2008 conference..
Sadly I did not get to attend as many talks or keynotes as I would have liked to this week, having had multifarious activities to work on or prepare for every day, but the main themes of the conference for me were...
Virtualization and Virtual Worlds
We announced the IDS 11.50 Developer Edition virtual appliancelast week and are seeing a lot of interest in it. Informix virtual appliances were present at various places in the conference Expo hall. I was manning the Intel booth where we were showing IDS and DB2 SLES 10 SP2 virtual appliances running under the VMWare ESxi hypervisor layer which comes optionally pre-installed on IBM Blade machines.
At the VMWare booth the first 100 people to fill in a survey were given cool looking 4GB USB drives containing the IDS and DB2 appliances. After that they were handing out DVD's.
Meanwhile at the Canonicalbooth they were demoing an Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron) version of the IDS virtualappliance. Those Canonical guys are fun to work with, and Ubuntu is hugely popular because, simply put, it's easy to use and itperforms well. Stand by for more newsabout Canonical and Informix in the near future.
Among the conference technical sessions we had an intro to the virtual appliance, and ahands on lab which provided an opportunity to play around and do some programming in the Data Studio environment that comes pre-installed on the appliance. On Wednesday eveningthere was a Birds of a Feather session where some interesting feedback was provided on what people thought of the initial virtual appliance developer edition, and what they would like to see as IBM extends its virtualization strategy for Informix. One thing thatwas great to hear in this session was the favorable response from people who have tried itso far. It works, it's easy to use.
It was interesting to learn how people intend to usethe current version of the VA. Someone from a "very large retail chain" mentioned that many of their vendors supply solutions in the form of self-contained virtual appliances these days, andit will be useful to him to give the IDS appliance to any of these vendors who claim theydon't do Informix and need a starting point for Informix application development.
Another use for the virtual appliance that is gaining traction is as a core part of the Informix academicinitiative. The components required to make IDS an excellent educational platformhave fallen into place in recent times. The first was the release of the free IDS Developer Editionin IDS 11. Now everyone had access to a free IDS edition with all features enabled.Now with a virtual appliance that contains the Informix development stack, pre-configured,in one place, along with getting started tutorials, it makes for a self-contained classroom and laboratory just waiting to have a database administration and programmingcurriculum developed around it. Here's another idea - when the Ubuntu IDS virtual applianceis available, install the Edubuntu package on it - then you have a state of the art educational aid for a range of age groups that also teaches database programming.
At the bleeding edge of Informix research Lance Feagan is doing some cool things with IDS and Virtual Worlds. Lance had a couple of very interesting presentations and demo's in this area which I'd like to post more about. In the meantime take a look at this recent IBM Database Magazine article Informix Dynamic Server bridges virtual and real worlds to get the idea.
I had an IDS on Windows Deep Dive presentation scheduled for the final 11:30 to 12:30 sloton the last day and was not especially expecting anyone to show up. Lucky for me 7 determined people turned out to see 56 slides of non-stop Windows - a mixture of IDS on Windows architecture, recent Windows specific features, notes on embedding IDS on Windows plus some performance and troubleshooting tips. That reminds me, I like the new name for Windows 7, Windows 7. Inspiring.
I have been known to fritter away as much as $10 when Ivisit Las Vegas. On Thursday evening I happened past a group of Informix slot machine junkies (Erik, Howard and Madison) and decided to throw caution to the wind and engage in a bout of reckless gambling. At $4 in it was not looking good, then I hit the jackpot and won $7. That was enough for me, I cashed out with a healthy profit. That's right, for a good time in Las Vegas don't hang out with me.
There were some fun parties at IOD (I hope there are no photos from the Halloween party). HP and Intel showed their renewed enthusiasm for Informix by sponsoring an IIUG reception. Check out Spokey's Informix Zone blog where he has kept track of who has posted photos.
Jacques Roy somehow managed to report on every day of the conference in his: Informix and Computing blog. If you are more of the visually stimulated type,turn to roving photographer and Frenchman Jean-George Perrin who has amassed a large collection of conference images on his Facebook site.