Update 12/2/08: The virtual appliance has been improved and upgraded since this article was written. Check here for updates.
This appliance has many potential uses. It is a self-contained development environment containing Data Studio and various API's. It contains getting started guides for Informix programming. It can be used as a base environment for creating a training class. If you can reproduce problems in this environment you can be sure tech support have the same environment (though since this is a Developer Edition, there is no explicit support for this edition of the virtual appliance - it is for development, education and non-profit use). It has great potential for ISVs developing their own applications for re-sale in a self-contained virtual machine. Look for future announcements on editions of the appliance containing Enterprise and Workgroup editions of IDS. Put your own application on and drop it in a compute cloud for remote access.
The virtual machine contains a 32-bit SLES 10 SP2 operating system and the following software versions installed:
IBM Informix Dynamic Server 11.50.UC2DEIBM Informix Client SDK 3.50.UC2IBM Informix JDBC Driver 3.50.UC2IBM Informix Spatial DataBlade 8.21.UC2IBM Informix Web DataBlade 4.13.UC3IBM Data Server Driver for JDBC/SQLJIBM Data Server Driver for ODBC/CLIIBM OpenAdmin Tool for IDS 2.21 IBM Data Studio 1.1.2
All this software is pre-configured and ready to use.
To run the VM image you need VMWare Player or Workstation installed on your machine. It also works with VMWare Fusion on MAC OS X, and VMWare Server. You need at least 1GB memory on your machine, 2GB will run much better. Up to 12GB free disk space is a good idea too.
This version of the appliance is available for download as a self-extracting executable. To use on non-Windows platforms, rename the .exe as .rar and use an unrar utility to uncompress it.
Once it's uncompressed you can see more detailed documentation under the doc subdirectory. If VMWare is installed double click on the .vmx file. After starting the image you login as root with password root (remember to change this password later, this version does not force a change).
There is one language screen to accept, and then a series of license agreements to acknowledge. These are for the products installed on the appliance.
Once the desktop starts, log in as user: "developer", password: "developer". The first thing you will see is a browser pop-up with a window showing the documentation. The browser tool bar has some handy links pre-configured.
Note that the networking is pre-configured, you should be able to connect to the outside world and communicate between your host machine and the virtual appliance, including shared directories on your local machine.
The default desktop has some useful quick access icons, like a terminal window with an IDS environment set up, a dbaccess window, a first steps folder containing some programming and self-help tutorials, an OpenAdmin Tool window, a link to IBM Data Studio. The best way to get to know the appliance at this point is to play around with it. There are also some useful scripts in the $INFORMIDIR/bin directory to set up a cluster/MACH11 demo (hint, su to informix, password informix to run these scripts).
Note that when you run the Open Admin Tool, after connecting to the demo server (no default password) you'll need to download and install the Adobe Flash Plug-in for the Firefox browser. Later versions of the virtual appliance may have the license agreement in place to make this step unnecessary. I found automatic install of the plug-in didn't work so I have to download the file, unzip it and run it before I could use OAT.
Click here to download the appliance: IDS 11.5 Developer Edition SLES 10 SP2 virtual appliance demo. (Be prepared to log in with your IBM ID or register for free to create a new ID.)
Try the IDS virtual appliance at IOD
If you're attending IOD 2008 in Las Vegas in just over a week, PJ To is giving an introductory session:
Session: TIX-2983A How to Utilize the Informix Virtual ApplianceTime: Wednesday 10/29/08 2pm – 3pmLocation: Mandalay Bay North Convention Center - Coral B/C
Get some hands on experience and work on a self-paced tutorial at our Hands on Lab:
Session: HOL-2571A IDS AppliancesTime: Thu, 30/Oct, 10:00 AM - 01:00 PMLocation: Mandalay Bay South Convention Center - Lagoon I
There is also a Birds of a Feather session at 6pm on Wednesday where you can share your opinion on what you'd like to see in IDS appliances:
Session: BOF-3298A As Easy as a Toaster? The IDS Virtual ApplianceTime: Wed, 29/Oct, 6:00 PM - 7:00 PMLocation: Mandalay Bay North Convention Center - Coral A
Hope to see you there.