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.[Read More]
Administrating and Developing with Informix
The IOD conference has started, with Customer Advisory Council meetings on Saturday, Business Development Day on Sunday, and a welcome reception last night with free flowing food and drink. It wouldn't be a conference without mercurial Frenchman Jean-Georges Perrin taking photos..
Don't mess with the International Informix User Group
See more of his pictures on Facebook. I'm already starting to wonder if it was wise to get a permanent Informix tattoo.. ah well, it's Vegas.[Read More]
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Congratulations to the new Informix data champions. This is a new program designed to honor individuals who put their time and energy, uncompensated, into the data management community, running newsgroups, forums, blogs, user groups, and speaking at conferences.
Looking at the list of Informix winners I see a very deserving group of people. Congratulations to
Eric Herber, Kim Non Liew, Stuart Litel, Walt Hultgren, Cindy Lichtenauer andLester Knutsen. All of you spend a lot of time and energy helping the Informix community grow.
You can see the full list of data champions for IBM brands here: Meet the Data Champions.[Read More]
Sitting on a flight to Las Vegas for the IOD conference affords an oportunity to tear myselfaway from the laptop and turn my attention to Carlton Doe's new book: Administering Informix Dynamic Server - Building the Foundation.
I should start by admitting a bias. I like Carlton, and from before Iknew him I've liked his writing; he writes not only with energy and passion for the subject, but with a great deal of technicalknowledge and experience. What this means is that you get all the information you would expect, but also something more than just adry technical book. So, needless to say, I was looking foward to a chance to read this book.
Is there a need for an Informix book when there is a comprehensive set of high quality Informix documentation available online?
The documentation is great but there is a huge amount of it, and zeroing in on exactly what you need can take time. Carlton addresses this question in the introduction:
One thing this book does very well is provide current information. A greatdeal of new functionality has been added to IDS in the last year, andknowing how much of a lead time publishing deadlines impose I am impressed by the amount of up to date 11.50 feature descriptions thebook has. It can be stressful trying to write about a feature beforerelease while the developers change it as you watch (OpenAdmin Tool which keeps getting new features is a good example).Somehow Carlton has managed to stay current, and write with an inside knowledge ofwhich features are likely to change.
I'm glad to see a few in-jokes to keep us paying attention. In a section entitledProblem solving with Extensibility a fictitious org chart is introduced,where Mukta, Fred, Kevin and Kassa report to someone called Jerry. That soundsstrangely familiar, though I can't quite place it.
At 424 pages Administering Informix Dynamic Server is small enough tocarry around, yet comprehensive enough to serve as a single referencesource. It also manages to provide a balance between introductory material for new Informix users and advanced technical information forInformix power users. After flicking through the backup and restore chapter I find myself drawn into a few diagrams and now know enough about XBSA architecture to be dangerous.
Overall, an excellent reference that both new and experienced Informix DBA's will find useful to have around.
Books links: Barnes & Noble, Amazon
It's been great to see people downloading and trying the Lightweight installer Windows deployment tool. As a result of some excellent feedback a new version has been uploaded to the IIUG Software Repository. Here is the change notification:
A new version of the Informix Lightweight installer is available with 3 fixes:1. A problem creating the informix user on domain machines2. The -unzip command was not being executed3. A problem running -verbose and -silent together if INFORMIXDIR or INFORMIXSERVER not set
The updated version of lwt_install can be found on the IIUG Software Repository here: http://www.iiug.org/software/index_all.html#lwt_install[Read More]
A commonplace requirement for embedded database environments such as those in the telecommunications and financial industries is real time reaction to high speed (sub-millisecond), high volume events. IDS has a key ally in this area in the form of solidDB.
To find out more about how Solid can work with IDS attend the next Chat with the Lab where Ari Valtanen will talk about the solidDB in-memory cache. Here are the details..
IBM solidDB - Complementing Informix to Provide up to 10X Data Acceleration
In 2008, IBM introduced in-memory database technology known as solidDB. This presentation will cover the key capabilities of IBM solidDB - micro-second response time, high transaction throughput, and instant failover – and how those capabilities address the real-time requirements for data access in key Informix markets including telecommunciations, financial services, healthcare, retail, and communications. The presentation will also provide details about how solidDB in-memory cache complements IDS to accelerate response times and increase transaction throughput, achieving extreme speed for data residing in IDS. Use cases will be explored. There will also be good opportunities for technical Q&A. Our speakers will be Jerry Keesee, Informix Lab Director and Ari Valtanen, Director of solidDB Technology (CTO). Ari comes to IBM from the acquisition of Solid Information Technology, where he was Co-Founder, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. As a member of the founding team at Solid, Valtanen spent 7 years as an Architect in core product development in Helsinki, Finland.
RSVP for this call at: https://ww4.premconf.com/webrsvp/register?conf_id=9914805 or by calling 800-289-0579 and referencing confirmation code 9914805
On the day of the call, please plan to dial in 5-10 minutes early so you will be connected when the call begins.
Questions, comments: lspina _at_ us.ibm.com
The first Informix Developer Edition virtual appliance is now available to download from IBM.
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.
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Business Wire has a report on a Q3 technology vendor performance today survey that puts Informix in the lead for satisfaction, with a rating of 91, five points ahead of the next best (VMWare and CDW).
Read the announcement which includes the link to the full report here: Informix Earns Top Customer Satisfaction Score on VendorRate in Q3.
Here is an excerpt..
Informix, IBM’s relational database management system, outscored all other vendors during the quarter with a cumulative performance score of 91 based on ratings from more than 120 organizations.
“The Informix score is even more impressive because it was among the most frequently rated companies during the past three months,” said VendorRate CEO Rick Schaefer. “Ratings came from highly satisfied customers from a wide cross section of companies, both in the U.S. and internationally.”
VMware (86), CDW (86) and Apple computers (84) repeated among the top-rated vendors for the second consecutive quarter. Two newcomers to the leader board were software providers Quest and Oracle’s software group, both with 80.
Accenture Consulting (58) and Microsoft Operating Systems (59) posted the lowest overall scores. Comcast Business (60) and data storage vendor EMC, ATT Wireless and IBM Global Services, all with 63, round out the bottom performers in the quarter.
It's always good for support engineers to see this kind of feedback (I guess I still think like a support engineer), since they mostly interact with customers in situations that are in various stages of unsatisfactoriness (hopefully only at the beginning).
Last week a new tool known as the Informix Lightweight Installer was uploaded to the IIUG software repository. In a nutshell it is designed to help with embedding IDS on Windows platforms by allowing a pre-configured IDS instance to be deployed via a simple command line interface. This was written primarily for ISVs who deploy IDS as part of their application and require customized configuration settings beyond those available via the silent installer, or who need to deploy an IDS instance with pre-loaded dbspaces and data. This kind of configuration can be fiddly, particularly on Windows; the goal of this tool is to take the hard work away.
For a better explanation here are a couple of paragraphs from the readme:
The lightweight installer (lwt_install) is a free tool designed to support embedding IBM Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) on Windows platforms. It can be used as a deployment tool to redeploy pre-configured IDS instances (INFORMIXDIRand optional data spaces). Similar to the IDS installer, the lightweight installer supports certain customizations during deployment - the key difference is that the lightweight installer is designed to deploy pre-configured instances rather than set them up from scratch at install time.It can also serve as a data server instance manager (for example to clone and create new instances on the same machine).
You can find it in the Miscellaneous Routines and Utilities section of the IIUG Software Repository (as well as the DBA and C sections), or jump directly to it: http://www.iiug.org/software/index_all.html#lwt_install.
If you give it a try please provide feedback to Tosin and myself. What would you like it to do? What does your ideal deployment tool do? We'd like to see the functionality of this tool enhanced and coverage extended to other platforms.[Read More]
Here is some pre-conference training and certification information for anyone thinking about attending the IOD conference in Las Vegas (Mandalay Bay, Oct 26-31). For the training, four of tech support's finest join forces to offer a troubleshooting course which promises a high factor of usefulicity..
Free Certification Testing at IOD
CERTIFICATION TESTING LAB
Take advantage of free professional certification testing for Information Management, WebSphere, SOA, XML, Tivoli, and Rational software while at the conference. The first three tests are free, additional exams are offered at a discounted price of $75.00 each.
CERTIFICATION “MEMBERS ONLY” LOUNGE
All IBM Information Management Certified Professionals will be entitled to visit the ‘Members Only’ Certification Lounge. This café-style lounge is designed for the ultimate in relaxation. Comfortable seating, quiet study areas, chair massages and unique refreshments are just a few of the amenities. > More
Pre-Conference Education Classes
Get an early start to building your skills at the Information On Demand Global Conference by attending one of our full day education classes. These classes will be offered on Sunday only, October 26th, 2008 from 8:30 am to 4:30pm at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Take advantage of preferred attendee pricing of US $399.00 and get a full day of education, delivered by professional IBM instructors. Registration is now open, sign up early as seats will be limited.
Speakers: Hyun-Ju Vega, Suma Vinod, Mark Jamison, Ron Privett
Learn more about troubleshooting from the experts – the IBM Informix advanced support team. Attendees will learn Informix diagnostic methods and tools, how to troubleshoot and diagnose performance problems, connectivity and network issues, memory problems, ER/HDR problems, and Windows specific issues.
SKILLS HUB @ IOD -- NEW IN 2008!
Network at the Information Management Skills Hub! Come to the Skills Hub to learn more about IBM Training, Services, and Support in one convenient location. Talk to experts from Data Management, InfoSphere, Cognos, and Enterprise Content Management. Learn about IBM Professional Certification, Training, Software Services, Premium Support, developerWorks and Redbooks. Network with your peers and enjoy exclusive giveaways and offers. Complete a short survey and get a cool 2.0 USB Hub -- helping you connect everything you need to your computer! > More [Read More]
If you're into the "Interactive entertainment industry" be sure to check out Rajesh Nair's new blog Virtual Worlds, MMOGs, Serious data - Informix Technology for Persistent Worlds.
I am somewhat ignorant when it comes to virtual worlds and massive multi-player online gaming (unless you count Webkinz, where I play a mean game of Quizzy's Word Challenge), but it is clear there is vast potential for data management in this segment.
I am hoping Rajesh will teach me more about this area when I next bump into him at a conference. In the mean time his blog is a good start, especially the white paper it links to Informix Dynamic Server - Fun and Games: The Data Server for Interactive Entertainment. Another link that caught my eye was a press release from February: Icarus Studios switches from mySQL to Informix - that highlights some of the strengths and potential Informix has in this market.[Read More]
Consulting IT Specialist and general bon vivant Spokey Wheeler somehow managed to evade the rigorous background checks and start his own developerWorks blog: Random Informix Ramblings.
As elucidated in his first post he hopes to "encourage various luminaries in the Informix developer and partner community who do not already have Informix blogs to use this as a place to share their knowledge, wisdom and talent with everyone".
Adam Hattrell from UK Database Support has taken the challenge and written a post on Using regular expressions to parse regular expressions where he makes use of the Java regex library in a UDR as part of a project to enable XWiki to work with IDS. More articles by Adam are promised.[Read More]
If you're thinking of installing IDS 11.50.FC2 on Mac OS X make sure you read the excellent developerWorks article: Demystifying the Informix Database bundle (IDS and CSDK) installation on Mac OS X by PJ To and Ranjani Bettadahalli. It's a very accessible article that tells you what you need to know about the installation mechanism, and takes you through step by step with screen shots.
The Mac OS X installer improved in FC2 and this article makes a great reference to understand the changes.[Read More]
I've been putting IDS 11.50.xC2 though its paces this week and it has been a pleasure to see a few long standing usability issues addressed, particularly on Windows. For everyone who uses IDS on Windows I strongly recommend upgrading to 11.50.xC2. In this post I'll mention a few of the new features in xC2 that make it worthwhile. To see the full list of changes in xC2 take a look at the Release notes for UNIX and Release notes for Windows. Update 9/13/08: See also Fernando's Blog.
Multiple Installations of IDS on the Same Windows machine
When the IDS installer switched to using Installshield as its framework in version 11.10 this implementation caused a slight problem. Only one copy of each major version of IDS could be installed, so you couldn't for example have a separate development and production installation of 11.10 on your machine. At least you could still create multiple instances via the Instance Manager.
In IDS 11.50.xC1 support for multiple installations was reintroduced via an undocumented "-multiple" command line argument to the setup.exe program. Every time you ran "setup.exe -multiple" a new installation would be created in the path of your choice.
In IDS 11.50.xC2 the multiple installation support is once again the default behavior. Any time you run setup.exe, if there is an existing installation of IDS on the machine, you will be prompted to create a new instance. If you want to run setup.exe to maintain an existing installation, you can use the new -path or -instnum arguments to identify a specific installation.
Note for backward compatibility the "-multiple" argument is still supported, though no longer required.
The ISM GUI Program is back
If you're very old you might remember earlier versions of IDS 7.x included a graphical interface for the Informix Storage Manager called ISM.exe that allowed you to create and view storage devices, monitor storage manager operations and other tasks. In some ways it provided equivalent functionality to the UNIX ism_watch program. For obscure reasons, shrouded in mystery, the ISM GUI was dropped from the distribution some time in 7.3x and never seen again. Until 11.50.xC2 when it has been resurrected and rebuilt by popular demand.
The Configuration Wizard is improved
The configuration wizard was a new install feature introduced in IDS 11.50.xC1 thanks in part to input we received from usability sessions. For the first time you could have the install program detect your hardware configuration (CPU settings, disk size and speed), ask you some questions about the expected number of decision support and OLTP users and create an optimized onconfig file for you. Internal TPCC benchmarks showed that performance from a Config Wizard versus a manually tuned configuration file was very close and significantly better than the default configuration based on onconfig.std (incidently onconfig.std was also improved in 11.50 - with better inline documentation for parameters and more realistic values).
One usability issue with the Config Wizard on Windows in xC1 was that the onconfig file it would generate would have some UNIX specific values for parameters such as for Java stored procedures (JVPJAVAVM etc) which would mean extra work configuring those features on Windows. In xC2 the config wizard was redesigned to layer its onconfig enhancements on top of the onconfig.std file for each platform, resulting in an optimized onconfig file tailored to the platform it was installed on.
Banishing DLL Hell with SHMNOACCESS
Anyone who likes to use large shared memory configurations on 32-bit Windows has to think about where DLL's are loaded in memory by processes such as oninit.exe, onmode.exe, onstat.exe and onbar.exe. Any process that attaches to a shared memory segment needs a matching contiguous range of address space, and any DLL loaded by that process potentially fragments the address space. I have ranted about the DLL hell issue on previous occasions (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4).
Even with all Microsoft and IBM fixes, it was still possible to get into a situation where the oninit process creates a shared memory segment that overlaps with where another process that needs to attach to that segment has loaded a DLL, resulting in a "Unable to attach to shared memory" error. Enter the SHMNOACCESS onconfig parameter. You can use this to exclude any regions of address space where you do not want oninit to create a shared memory segment. As of 11.50.xC2 it works on all types of segment (resident, virtual etc). This was the final tool needed to avoid 32-bit DLL problems in large memory configurations. As an anonymous tech support engineer (Tim Steele) said, "the Windows witch is dead!".
Debug libraries are included on Windows
This is one of those features most customers do not need to care about, but makes tech support and development engineers who need to debug optimized code very happy. The .PDB debug libraries for the IDS executable processes are now included in the install media (but not installed). Using these it is possible to see a valid stack if you attach a debugger to an oninit process or analyze a crash dump. This can dramatically reduce the time to find the root cause of a problem.
Better Windows Server 2008 Support
In most cases IDS 11.50 works fine on Windows Server 2008, but in FC1 (64-bit) there was one class of Intel CPU (Intel64) that the installer wouldn't recognize. This and a few other Win2K8 issues have been fixed in xC2. One fix is still to come - getting the finderr utility working again without needing to download Winhelp. There are plans in place to fix this soon.
Why IDS on Windows anyway?
I talk about IDS on Windows a lot. Being the Windows architect might be a factor, but there are reasons why the Windows port of IDS is important. Windows is one of our top 5 production platforms along with Linux, Solaris, HP and AIX (in no particular order). Windows is also often the platform people see IDS on for the first time, simply because the Developer Edition is freely downloadable on the web and a lot of people are using Windows when they download it. We also provide it on the IDS Discovery DVD we give away at conferences. That's why I'm very happy to see a release of IDS that has significant improvements for Windows.
If you deploy IDS on non-Windows platforms, there's a reasonable chance you have a laptop running Windows. IDS has a small footprint so you can have the Developer Edition running for free on your laptop without much overhead. There it's good for learning/training, development and demonstrations. As well as IDS on my XP OS, I also have it running via VMWare on Ubuntu, SLES, XP (again) and Windows Server 2003 all on the same machine. Running multiple instances of IDS on multiple operating systems at the same time does not put much strain on the machine.
Mac OS X Installer improvements
11.50.FC1 saw our first Mac OS X port, and with FC2 the installer has been improved. Now it can automatically make any required adjustments to kernel parameters, and it creates a terminal icon for easier access to the demo instance. A lot of development work is going into to making further installer improvements for Mac OS.
Update 9/9/08: Check this developerWorks article: Demystifying the Informix Database bundle (IDS and CSDK) installation on Mac OS X for more detail.
IDS Developer Edition is now upgraded every fixpack
For IDS 11.10 there was only one version of the free Developer Edition provided, 11.10.xC1. I had issues with this, because any defects found in xC1 were not going to get fixed for people developing with and evaluating IDS for the first time. Now with IDS 11.50 the Developer Edition is upgraded every fixpack so you get the latest and greatest. Get your free 11.50.xC2 IDS Developer Edition for the platform of your choice here.
Enterprise Replication Hardening (all platforms)
One other area I'll talk about is ER. There has been a big focus on improving the resilience of ER, making it more efficient with memory and better able to handle low memory situations, and generally work better in an embedded environment. Among improvements in xC2 are:
There are various other new features, such as improvements to OAT and SQL enhancements, as well as numerous defect fixes. 11.50.xC2 is one of those releases where you really want to take a look at the release notes to see what you are getting and what you can make use of.[Read More]
While putting a few Informix related links together to have as browser bookmarks in an IDS appliance we are working on, it occurred to me I might as well share them here. If nothing else I know where to look when I need them again. If you can think of any glaring omissions please add a comment and I'll update this post (last updated 11/9/08). Oh and I should mention IBM has a place for links related to IDS, the IDS Information Roadmap...
Blogs (like anyone reads blogs)
IBM Database Magazine Informix Blog - Various contributors
IDS Experts - Team blog, Informix Support and Development
Informix and Computing - Jacques Roy
Informix Application Development - this
Informix Dynamic Server (Korean) - Kibok Kim
Informix Online (Russian) - Alex Ivanov aka Andron
Informix Technology - Fernando Nunes
Informix Zone Blog - Eric Herber and other contributors
PlanetIDS.com - great new blog aggregation site and more
Random Informix Ramblings - Spokey Wheeler
Replication Roundtable - Madison Pruet
Unofficial Oninit Blog (Japanese) - Tatsuo Maki
Virtual Worlds, MMOGs, Serious data - Informix Technology for Persistent Worlds - Rajesh Nair
IBM IDS Informix Dynamic Server Forum
IDS Developer and User Forum
Unleash the new Java, .NET, PHP and Ruby client and Developer solutions for IDS 11
PHP Forum: Developing PHP applications with IBM Information Management products (DB2, IDS)
Developer Solutions for IBM DB2 and Informix Dynamic Server (IDS)
Multimedia / Demo's
Wikis and Spaces
Customizing the Informix Dynamic Server for Your Environment
Security and Compliance Solutions for IBM Informix Dynamic Server
Informix Dynamic Server 11: Extending Availability and Replication
Informix Dynamic Server V10 . . . Extended Functionality for Modern Business
The next Informix Chat with the Lab is on September 8th at 8am Pacific, 11am Eastern, with replication architect Madison Pruet talking about continuous availability in IDS 11.5..
Informix Chat with the Lab, Monday, September 8th 8 AM Pacific, 10 AM Central, 11 AM Eastern, 4 PM London, 5 PM Paris
IDS 11.5 Continuous Availability Feature (MACH 11)
The Continuous Availability Feature of IDS 11.5 offers easy and seamless deployment of applications on cluster solutions, providing a rich set of options for high availability (HA) with seamless scalability and lower hardware costs. Cluster nodes can be added dynamically, on demand, as workload increases on the cluster with client connections routed dynamically to any node in a cluster. Configuring, managing and adding cluster nodes are simplified with enhancements to the Open Admin Tool (OAT) that was discussed in the August Chat. Our speakers will be Jerry Keesee, Director of the Informix Lab and Madison Pruet, Senior Technical Staff Member and Informix Replication Architect.
RSVP for this Chat at: https://ww4.premconf.com/webrsvp/register?conf_id=4569387 For assistance by phone, call 800-289-0579 and refer to confirmation number 4569387.
Questions, comments, or to be removed from this distribution: lspina _at_ us.ibm.com[Read More]
Since there is no command line finderr program supplied with IDS on Windows, and since the GUI finderr program supplied with CSDK doesn't work on Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 without having to download extra files (we're working on that), here's a cheap and cheerful Windows batch file that will return the error description for an error number passed to it on the command line.
It takes advantage of one of the SQL Admin API commands introduced in IDS 11.10, PRINT ERROR, which will print the text for any error numbers:
Make sure IDS is online and grant connect permission to the sysadmin database for any user who runs it. Here are some examples of calling it:
If that doesn't cut it and you want more fancy search capabilities, consider using the BTS extension.[Read More]
Currently in week 2 of a Redbook residency in San Jose, working with a small team on the subject of "Embedding IDS".
IDS has some key features that lend itself to embedability, for example a small footprint, stability, low administration needs, the ability to run unattended for long periods of time, scalable performance. IBM has a significant number of partners, ISV's and customers who embed IDS in their applications, and we're seeing increasing interest in learning more about it, including best practices and how others are embedding IDS.
It's always good to get comments and opinions from people with experience in embedding IDS.. what do you think are the strengths of IDS in the embedded database market? What should we improve?[Read More]
There is a trend within IBM to move to using DVD as the standard software install media.
There has been talk about doing this within Informix before, partly because we're close to the maximum CD size on some platforms (where more than one copy of Java Runtime needs to be on the CD for example).
One advantage moving to DVD would provide is the ability to bundle additional components, for example Data Server Driver, which provides the Comment Client API's to connect to IDS via the DRDA protocol. Currently if you want components like this you would have to download them separately.
Once concern that has been raised is could this lead to bloating of IDS? E.g. if we're not so concerned about space might the install footprint go up? We would certainly have to be very careful about what is installed by default if we were to add components to the bundle.
Would anyone be inconvenienced if the IDS install media was no longer available on CD? If you see a problem with that please leave a comment or contact me. I am also curious as to what percentage of people download all their products electronically.[Read More]
There are some impressive new features coming into the next version of OpenAdmin Tool. Here's the blurb for a Chat with the Labs taking place on August 20th where the new features will get their first airing..
Informix Chat with the Lab - Wednesday, August 20th
8 AM Pacific, 10 AM Central, 11 AM Eastern, 4 PM London, 5 PM Paris
What's New with the OAT (OpenAdmin Tool), a graphical administration for IDS
Join one of our most popular speakers, John Miller, as he explores the capabilities and architecture of OAT, the OpenAdmin Tool. This will be an overview of the capabilities of OAT, highlighting such things as SQL Explorer, Performance History Graphs, Auto Update Statistics, and Space Management along with many other capabilities. Highlights of the architecture and what open source components are utilized within OAT conclude this talk. Jerry Keesee, Director of the Informix Lab will introduce the call and John Miller, Senior Technical Staff Member, will be our technical speaker.
You may RSVP for this call at: https://ww4.premconf.com/webrsvp/register?conf_id=4679866.
For assistance by phone, please call 1 - 800-289-0579 and reference confirmation code 4679866.
Questions, comments or to be removed from this distribution: lspina _at_ us.ibm.com
Just back from vacation and am now spending a couple of weeks working in San Jose on an IBM Redbook, where compared to Portland at least, it's hot.[Read More]
A developerWorks article appeared last week by Martin Fuerderer and Nicole Neubuerger on the subject of Running Informix Dynamic Server on Linux in Xen hypervisor - IDS in a virtual environment.
Xen is an open source Virtual Machine (VM) manager that works by inserting a thin sofware layer, the Xen hypervisor between the server's hardware and the operating system. It is known for being very lean (<50,000 lines of code) and offering near native performance.
The article starts with the basics on setting up Xen Hypervisor on Linux. Next it takes a look at IDS operating system specific characteristics - such as raw device support, Kernel Asynchronous IO (KAIO), Direct IO, No aging, and processor affinity - and how they typically interact with Linux. These leads to a testing plan to see how the operating system specific functionality holds up under Xen.
At the risk of spoiling the surprise.. it holds up well.
We are seeing a lot of interest lately in IDS virtualization, and the concept of an Informix Virtual appliance - IDS running on a virtual machine with developer software pre-installed and ready to use. What would you expect and how would you use this type of appliance? If you have an opinion on this please leave comments.
If you are interested in this area, and would potentially be willing to participate in a beta or early test of a VMware based IDS appliance please contact me at guyb _at_ us.ibm.com for more details.[Read More]
A developerWorks article published today provides a nice summary of IDS replication features. Replication technologies in Informix Dynamic Server by IDS engineers Madison Pruet, Nagaraju Inturi and Nick Geib, takes the reader through Enterprise Replication (ER) and High Availability Clustering, namely Shared Disk (SD) secondary servers, High-Availability Data Replication (HDR), and Remote Standalone (RS) secondary servers.
What I like about this article is that each technology is introduced with a simple example of setting it up, so as a quick start summary it works very well.
One link I would add to the list of resources at the end of the article is the Informix Dynamic Server 11: Extending Availability and Replication RedBook which is an excellent way to follow up and learn more about the topics introduced here.[Read More]
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Two analyst reports on IDS 11.5 that were originally written in May have now been made available on the IDS website.
The first is by Michael A. Schiff from Current Analysis: IBM Launches Informix Dynamic Server 11.5 - originally released to coincide with the IDS 11.5 announcement at the IIUG Conference and provides an analytical summary, with positives and negatives on the 11.5 release.
The second report is by Matt Aslett from the 451 group: IBM's Cheetah 2 Informix database proves that it's good to share. The Strategy section begins with
IBM's initial plan upon acquiring Informix for $1bn in 2001 was to support the customer base and roll the best features into the DB2 product. It didn't count on the loyalty of the IDS users, however, and any suggestions of discontinuing the IDS product were effectively quashed with the release of IDS 10 in 2005.
Hard to disagree with that.[Read More]
A new IDS podcast was published on youtube recently: Informix Dynamic Server and Websphere MQ Integration:
This is part of a series of Podcasts presented by the Informix SQL/Optimizer architect Keshava Murthy who posts as his alter ego JournalOfInformix. Also in this series is a detailed 9 part presentation on New SQL Features in IDS 11, and some podcasts on Cheetah 2 such as Dynamic SQL in IDS 11.50.
New Redbook: Customizing Informix Dynamic Server for Your Environment
A new IBM Redbook was made available on Jun 11, entitled Customizing Informix Dynamic Server for Your Environment. The main subject is ease of administration and application development, with a focus on areas such as Administration API, high availability, extensibility and database event.[Read More]
Here is a clip of Informix Dynamic Server taking center stage at the Developers Tools State of the Union address during the recent Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco..
The sound quality could be better, but in the clip David Barnes, program director of Emerging Internet Technologies for IBM Software Group tells the audience, among other things, "Apple developers want to ‘set it and forget it.’ They need a reliable database that provides high-volume transaction processing and continuous data availability that doesn’t require constant monitoring. Informix is a perfect fit for what Apple developers have come to expect.”[Read More]
One of the features I particularly liked during the Windows Server 2008 compatibility testing was the Server Core installation option. This is a minimal installation of Server 2008 designed for installing specific "roles" such as DHCP server, DNS, Media Server etc. The standard desktop is gone and in its place is a blank screen and a command window. In Linux terms, think of it like JeOS.
Windows Server 2008 Core
You can administer a Server Core machine using the command line - there are many new and enhanced commands available in Server 2008 to facilitate command line administration - or graphically from another machine via MMC. The idea is that these core machines will be used for specific pre-defined server roles, with all extraneous features removed. This allows for a smaller footprint, better performance and improved security out of the box.
Though designed for pre-defined roles and not applications, there is nothing to stop you installing your own software on these machines if you're comfortable with the interface. To me Server Core makes an ideal secure high-performing host for Informix Dynamic Server. In the lab we experimented with installing IDS 11.50, CSDK 3.50 and OpenAdmin Tool 2.20 on a Server Core image running on Virtual PC, and they installed with no problems. I also installed a copy of Firefox Portable so I could run OAT directly on the machine, though it would make more sense to run the browser remotely.
OAT running on Server Core
I see Server Core as having a lot of potential as a backend machine running IDS, or as an appliance running under Virtual PC with a complete solution installed, for example: Windows Server 2008 Core + IDS + CSDK + < Insert solution here>.
What I would really like to see is a way to create portable appliances like this that could boot from a USB drive, but in the meantime it's easy to play around with different configurations using Virtual PC.[Read More]
After a rather hectic week I am finally finding the time to write about an recent trip to a Windows Server 2008 Application Compatibility Readiness Lab in Redmond to put Informix Dynamic Server through its paces on Windows Server 2008. We did a similar exercise for Windows Vista last year (#1, #2) that proved very useful in identifying compatibility problems early on and testing performance improvements.
The readiness labs are located in the Platform Adoption Center, building 20. This year I went along with Mirav from our kernel performance team. We had the same lab as last time as far as I can tell, which by default has 4 W2K8 machines configured to order. As we wanted to run comparative performance tests in addition to compatibility tests we were fairly demanding of hardware and ended up setting a record for number of machines crammed into the lab (Win2K8, 32-bit, 64-bit, with HyperVisor & without, Win2K3, Linux, etc..) - a task our hosts cheerfully took on.
Mirav and I getting to grips with Windows Server 2008
The readiness program consists of some presentations on Windows Server 2008 features, which have some overlap with Vista features, an introduction to the WS08 Logo Program, Windows Error Reporting, and a Security Analysis. The rest of the time we are free to play around with the machines and try out new features.
I plan two more posts this week describing running IDS on Windows Server 2008 in more detail, but here is a quick summary for the impatient:
Additional articles planned will cover: Compatibility in more detail, Performance, Server 2008 Core and Virtualization.
I noticed one key difference from last year. The ice cream freezer stayed well stocked throughout the week. As always, copious quantities of snacks were provided along with meals. I can only put this down to fear of what might happen if sleep-deprived bloggers lose their sugar high. Of course being entirely focussed on the technology I didn't give any of this much thought.
A quick survey of the freezer contents
As for the Vista program last year, the W2K8 readiness program proved most valuable for identifying incompatibilities early and testing performance improvements. We also found we learned a lot in having the opportunity to dedicate a few days to using the OS and its new features, and also having experts on hand who could help us with solve problems such as how to do function profiling which will benefit follow-up performance analysis.
From a DBA perspective Windows Server 2008 provides a good performance improvement with sufficiently powerful hardware and has some useful file system improvements. I particularly liked the efforts around improved command line interface, and I think the concept of the Server Core has a lot of potential - more on this later.[Read More]
Following on from my last post (a shameful 2 weeks ago) IDS 11.5 Developer Edition is now available as freeware for Mac OS X 10.5 or later on the Apple - Downloads website, and at the time of writing is present in the "Recently Added" section. The direct link to the 222MB download is here: http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/development_tools/ibminformixdynamicserverdeveloperedition.html, and the following product description goes with it:
The latest high availability features in IDS provide endless ways to configure clusters of servers to scale out for high throughput, high availability, and optimal use of hardware investments. Clusters of servers can be combined to synchronize all transactions instantly – whether multiple servers share the same copy of data in a shared disk environment, or if they synchronize with replicas located anywhere in the world. This means that solutions can fully utilize disaster recovery hardware to scale out for performance. The easy setup and maintenance of IDS also allows for complete flexibility to change as business needs and applications grow.
This first beta platform for IDS 11.50 was Mac OS X, and for the last week Informix Dynamic Server has been enjoying the top spot in the Macintosh Products Guide
This coincided with the publication on Friday of a new developerWorks article by Akmal B. Chaudhri: Install IBM Informix Dynamic Server on Apple Mac OS X which includes an install demo along with the PDF transcript.
To download IDS 11.50 on the Mac, including the free Developer Edition go to http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/downloads/im/ids/learn.html.
And once you've installed IDS you may as well set up OAT. Leo Chan recently wrote an IDS Experts post on Setting Up OpenAdmin Tool (OAT) on Mac OS.
What have your experiences of installing IDS on the Mac been like? What have we done right and what can be improved? I have finally re-enabled comments as the memories of the last spam attack begin to fade, so please let me know what you think.[Read More]
The Informix User Group of Northern California are having their first meeting tomorrow Friday May 16 from 9:30 - 2:30.
Here is the agenda:
The meeting is held at:
4400 North First Street, Suite 100, Room 1066
San Jose, CA 95134 (directions)
Most importantly lunch will be provided, so if you're in or around the Bay area take an extra long Friday lunch break and go and see what's new..
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The folks over at Information Management consumability would like you to take the new Information Management Consumability Survey where you get a chance to say what you like and don't like about the Information Management products you use. This feedback gets a lot of attention and your comments really do make a difference.
I know what you're thinking, our products are already so wonderful how could they be improved? I know, but give these consumability guys a break, we don't want to put them out of a job.
On a similar note we had some very useful user feedback sessions at the IIUG conference, where in exchange for free t-shirts conference delegates would share their thoughts on the usability of our products. I attended the IDS Install sessions and we received some good suggestions which are being converted into feature requests.[Read More]
This week I'm teaching an IDS Windows internals and debugging class in Lenexa, which is a follow-on from last week's class, and a team effort with tech support and development engineers helping to write and teach modules. As most of the material has been written for the first time it is fairly hectic, with the class schedule being decided very much at the last minute.
In the mean time, the IBM Informix Dynamic Server v11.50 Information Center is now up and running, in time for the imminent Cheetah 2 GA. The front page includes links to release notes and new features.[Read More]
A few stragglers from the IIUG conference are camping out at the Doubletree for various meetings this week, and the consensus is that the first IIUG conference for many years was a great success as well as being fun. Good job Stuart and team. The sponsors I spoke to appreciated having such an Informix focussed attendance at the booths too.
If you were at the conference this week there is a good chance you'll see yourself in the IIUG Conference 2008 photos, as enigmatic Frenchman Jean-Georges Perrin was very efficient with his camera.[Read More]
The IIUG conference is at an end, and for the rest of the week I'm busy helping with an IDS for Windows Administration and Support class taking place in Lenexa.
Long time Informix guru Jacques Roy has just announced a new developerWorks blog: Informix and Computing. In it he plans to start a dialog with the Informix community, discussing topics such as business problems and approaches to solving them, what Informix programmers are trying to accomplish, and if I know Jacques expect some great articles on extensibility too. He is also welcoming your comments and questions (which reminds I need to switch comments back on for this blog now the spam has died down), so take a look and let him know what's on your mind.[Read More]
This week is IIUG conference week in Lenexa Kansas, and in this morning's keynote speech Dr. Arvind Krishna, VP for Data Servers, officially announced IDS 11.50, also known as Cheetah 2. Available in open beta program for a while, but until now closeted under NDA, we can finally talk about the new features in Cheetah 2. Here is a quick summary of what's new..
Mac OS/X Support
It is great to be at a conference that is all Informix all the time, with around 350 Informix users from around the world attending 4 different technical tracks, and as always good to catch up with people you know mostly through email and newsgroups. The organizers of this conference know how to cater for engineers, and load us up with sugary snacks every afternoon to help with those drowsy end of day presentations and dreary blog posts.[Read More]
The Cheetah 2 open beta (IDS 11.50) started back in February, and since then clients and partners have been busy downloading it on various platforms and testing the new features, but not saying much about them, as all downloads were subject to a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). As a blogger you can bet I really enjoy being subject to an NDA..
As the IIUG conference and the Cheetah 2 release date approaches you'll start hearing much more about this new version of IDS and its enhancements. Next week on the final day of the conference (April 29) there is an opportunity to learn about the Cheetah 2 new features directly from the senior architects. In this eSeminar: Get the Scoop on IBM/Informix Cheetah 2 - from the Product Architects, the Informix Lab Director Jerry Keesee and 4 of the 5 Informix Senior Technical Staff Members (STSMs) Kevin Brown, Jonathan Leffler, Scott Lashley, Madison Pruet, will talk about Cheetah 2..
What's the latest in OLTP Data Server technology? Should you download the open beta version of Cheetah 2, IBM Informix Dynamic Server 11.5? What will Cheetah 2 offer and how will it impact your business' bottom line?
Join us for this live, interactive eSeminar roundtable discussion, directly from the IIUG Power conference in Overland Park, Kansas. Our discussion will be led by IBM Informix Lab Director Jerry Keesee, and will allow you the chance to interact with the IDS 'Power' team of architects.
They will give you a recap of the IIUG Power conference, but most importantly they will answer your questions - so bring them on and take your chance to provide feedback to the IDS experts.
You can register to attend the seminar here.
For anyone going to the conference, see you in Kansas.[Read More]
It's always good to see some of the IDS core high availability and performance features like HDR, ER, fragmentation, PDQ used together in an innovative new solution where. A press release today from Jauka highlights IDS as the key to its new Content Fulfillment and Transaction Services for Mobile Media - Jaduka Launches Content Fulfillment and Transaction Services for Mobile Media.
At the heart of Jaduka's new content fulfillment and transaction services is its award-winning IBM Informix Database Solution (IDS), including high availability data replication, enterprise replication, fragmentation, parallel data query, and other proprietary functions that enhance stability and performance. Jaduka's IDS provides instant access to hundreds of millions of end-user accounts and the existing capacity to manage billions of transactions per month.
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In a recent IT-Director.com article entitled Informix seeks developers, David Norfolk, a senior analyst at Bloor Research shares his thoughts on an "alternative" database, namely Informix Dynamic Server, and how it is looking increasingly attractive to application developers.
With quotes from the Informix lab director Jerry Keesee, there are some notes on IDS positioning as a database for "high-performance OLTP, especially in embedded (integrated) environments — because it is scalable, reliable, easy to manage and performs well".
The main focus of the article is that IDS "doesn't appear to be a dead-end as far as development goes." (Not a dead-end, I'll suggest that one to Marketing.) Evidence cited includes new developer friendly features such as the SQL Admin API, the free Developer Edition, the MAC OSX port, the Data Studio "Application Lifecycle Management" (ALM) environment, and the Solid acquisition with its expected synergy with IDS.
The article can in some ways be seen as a follow-up to an earlier IT-Director analysis by Philip Howard: IBM and Informix, where the IDS 11.10 release and some of its new features were highlighted, and the message conveyed that the future of IDS looks promising with IBM's increased focus on information on demand.[Read More]
Here is a reminder for tomorrow's chat with the lab with Jerry Keese and John Miller III..
Tuesday, April 8th, 2008
8 AM PST, 10 AM Central, 11 AM Eastern, 4 PM London, 5 PM Paris
Optimizing IDS Performance
In this Chat, some of the more popular onstat options for performance issues will be covered, showing how they have evolved throughout the history of IDS. With this as a backdrop, guidance will be given to a performance-minded administrator on how to use the improved onstat information to get the most out of IDS. Our speakers will be Jerry Keesee, Informix Lab Director and John Miller iii, Senior Technical Staff Member.
You may RSVP for this Chat at: https://ww4.premconf.com/webrsvp/register?conf_id=9943887 . For RSVP assistance by phone, you may call 1-800-289-0579 and refer to the call with Confirmation Code 9943887.
Questions, comments: lspina _ at_ us.ibm.com
My erstwhile colleague Johann Backlund writes from Sweden:
...I thought I would take a chance on guessing your email address to send you some of my experiences regarding IDS shared memory allocation and DLL's ...maybe something you could include in your blog series on the topic (part 1, part 2, part 3). I had planned to send this as a comment to your blog, but since comments are disabled...(hint, hint ;o)...Thanks Johan.
About disabling comments. Unfortunately I had to disable comments on the blog the other weekend after getting 150 spam comments in the space of a couple of hours. Each one had to be manually removed. DeveloperWorks has since installed new a captcha mechanism, so I might re-enable them soon when I'm feeling brave. Comments have been temporarily switched off on IDS Experts too.
What Johan's comments show is that there is more than one approach to optimizing shared memory usage on the 32-bit Windows platform. You can rebase DLLs out of the way, but tuning the size of shared memory segments can be equally useful. Thanks to Microsoft not seeming to place a very high priority on DLL base address standards this problem needs to be revisited with almost every operating system service pack. At least 64-bit Windows gets over this problem with 8TB of addressable space.[Read More]
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The open source Ruby/Informix driver developed by Gerardo Santana has been updated to include INTERVAL data type support, along with Ruby 1.9 compatibility and other enhancements and bug fixes. Here is Gerardo's announcement in full:
Update 4/3/08Unfortunately, one of the structural changes introduced in 0.7.0 wasnot done right and caused that the name of Informix resources were notunique.[Read More]
Is there any way to register a datablade without using Blade Manager (also know as blademgr)?
There isn't a great deal of need for this on UNIX since the blademgr command line utility is distributed as part of IDS in the bin directory - though having said that it would be handy to be able to perform as many administrative functions as possible remotely via SQL.
On Windows there is no command line blademgr utility; the only option is to install the DBDK (DataBlade Developer's Kit) and use the GUI Blade Manager utility in order to register a blade with a database. That seems like a lot of effort to go to just to register a blade, especially since IDS 11.10 comes with some new bundled blades like Binary UDT, Basic Text Search and Node.
There is an alternative to calling blademgr, and that is to call the underlying SYSBldPrepare() and SYSBldRegister() SQL functions to register a blade manually. As far as I know this method was first published externally by Jochen Platzer in this comp.databases.informix thread in 2004:
datablade registration in ANSI database
For example here is how I would register the Binary UDT datablade with a database called "mydb":
Now suppose I wanted to automate this process on Windows and create a batch file that registers an arbitrary blade to a database. Something like this would work for simple blades (i.e. blades that do not depend on other blades):
So to register the Binary UDT blade to a database "mydb" using this batch file you would call: bladereg mydb binaryudt.1.0.
See Jochen's original post for instructions on manually registering blades that depend on other blades (like the Excalibur Text Blade for example). In summary, each dependent blade should be registered with SYSBldRegister in the correct order.
Is this method a supported way of registering a blade? Well, since it is not officially documented (AFAIK), it could change at some point, so if you have trouble with it, it would be advisable to try reproducing the problem with blademgr first.
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I love meaningless internet popularity contests where you never really know whether the winning object of affection has the popular vote or the most orchestrated get-the-votes-out campaign. This year IBM Informix Dynamic Server 11 (IDS 11) is in the finals of the CI Product of the Year: Databases, along with Oracle Database 11g, Microsoft SQL Server, MaxDB by MySQL and CodeGear's InterBase 2007 Server Edition. So here's your chance to vote, and take part in direct democracy at its best, where sovereignty is held by the assembly of all citizens who choose to participate, or the most fanatical pressure group, depending on one's perspective.[Read More]
Congratulations to Bell Micro who are the "2007 Top Performing Value Add Distributor - IBM Software" as announced in this press release today:BELL MICRO NAMED IBM’S TOP PERFORMING VALUE ADD DISTRIBUTOR FOR SOFTWARE.
From the press release:
"Bell Micro has been awarded as our best OEM Distributor in North East Europe for 2007,” said Aurore Achour, VAD Sales Manager, IBM Software Group - North East Europe. “The company, whose core offering is Informix OEM, has managed to grow both new business and maintenance OEM revenue in 2007, leading sales for North East Europe. More importantly, Bell Micro has demonstrated great value with a high number of technical certifications and skills, plus 24x7 support for both end-users and ISVs. Not only have they highly performed in OEM sales but they have also more than demonstrated their skills as Value Added OEM distributor.”
Bell Micro develop applications based on Informix technology and use these to help ISV's develop business solutions with lower hardware costs. They are also the creators of the popular Informix City website.[Read More]
There have been some major problems with IDS running in Windows domains, and on domain controllers lately, and now is a good time to summarize those problems and what to do about them. I should start with a confession - we were not doing enough testing of Windows domain installation scenarios on IDS which allowed problems to creep in. As part of this investigation several new QA tests were introduced to prevent problems like this recurring.
Below is a summary of known problems with their APAR numbers which you can reference when communicating with Tech Support. APAR numbers are the defect reference numbers that begin with ICxxxx. These are only generated when a customer case is attached to a problem. If a product defect was identified and fixed internally the reference I quote starts with "idsdb" and it will be equally meaningful to tech support.
All of these problems are fixed in the latest PID (Post Interim Drop) releases of the IDS 10 and 11 codelines: 10.00.TC8W1 and 11.10.TC2W2. If necessary call tech support to discuss the status of individual defects in more detail and whether it is appropriate to receive a patch.
IC55604 WINDOWS: IDS DOMAIN INSTALL IS NOT WORKING
If the Install in Domain option is checked and if the informix user does not exist on the PDC/BDC, then an error message like the following appears: Installation Message --------------------------- The user DOMAIN\informix does not exist. Please specify an existing user name. ---------------------------
IC55601 WINDOWS: IDS CANNOT BE INSTALLED INTO A MICROSOFT WINDOWS DOMAIN
In a new installed and configured MS Windows domain of Windows Server 2003 Enterprise an IDS version 10 cannot be installed. After the installation was started, a new user has to be created during the installation process. When the password for the new user 'informix' was inserted, and the 'ok' button was used an error message box like this appears: --------------------------- Installation Message --------------------------- The user DOMAINNAME\informix does not exist. Please specify an existing user name. --------------------------- OK --------------------------- Normally the information for the new user 'informix' should be collected. Therefore this user cannot exist on this system at this time.
IC55169 WINDOWS DOMAIN USERS ARE ONLY ACCEPTED AS DOMAIN\USERNAME NOT USERNAME
You have a Windows 2000 domain style user, and a client computer that belongs to that domain. Starting from IDS 10.00.TC6 when authenticating domain users, the only format accepted is DOMAINNAME\username while username always returns error -951.(also reported as idsdb00153303 for IDS 11.10.xC2)
Defects which only occur in IDS 11.10
IC55490 WINDOWS: IDS 11 INSTALL ON DOMAIN CONTROLLER FAILS WITH NOROLESEP_CREATEINFXUSER 3
When IDS 11 is installed on a Windows Domain Controller on which the informix user does not exist the installation fails with the following error: norolesep_createinfxuser 3 - Could not add the specified user to the group. Although the Informix user and the Informix-Admin group get created, the Informix user is not added to the Informix-Admin group and not granted the required privileges to start IDS as aservice. This problem is specific to the IDS 11.
idsdb00134811 ONINIT FAILS WITH IXDBSA GROUP ERROR AFTER INSTALLING ON WINDOWS PRIMARY DOMAIN CONTROLLER
It seems like every time Microsoft release a new service pack they introduce a DLL load address regression with it. For a little background on DLL load addresses and the problems they can cause for applications such as IDS refer to two earlier blog entries: part 1, part 2.
This time the culprit is the home networking configuration manager DLL hnetcfg.dll. In IDS installations with large shared memory configurations on Windows Server 2003 SP2 oncheck can fail with an error like this:
shmat: : operating system error
MapViewOfFileEx: w32ec=487 at nt_shm.c:663
Unable to attach to shared memory.
The default load address of hnetcfg.dll changed from 0x7F010000 in Windows Server 2003 SP1 (with KB913409 hotfix) back to an address space fragmenting 0x5F270000 in SP2.
To resolve the new problem, ask Microsoft for a fix of KB 948656.
ps. Thanks to Tim Steele in Australian Advanced Support for keeping track of these defects and chasing Microsoft.[Read More]
On second thoughts don't learn along with me. I have the attention span of gnat. Learn along with Kate Dawson, who recently joined the Data Server Education Team in Toronto and is documenting her experiences in a new blog called Learn along with me: Data Server training, certification, and education resources. In her current post she spotlights the free certifications available at upcoming data server conferences such as the IIUG conference in April, along with available self-study tutorials, certification guides, and self-assessment exams.
Welcome to IBM Kate.[Read More]
Informix security architect Jonathan Leffler is giving a webcast on Tuesday March 4th 2008 at 12PM Eastern (5PM UTC) entitled Securing Your Data: Choosing the Right Platform.
The flyer for this webcast and registration details can be found here.
Draft Redbook: Security and Compliance Solutions for IDS
The draft of new IBM Redbooks publication Security and Compliance Solutions for IBM Informix Dynamic Server is now available at the IBM Redbooks web site: http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/redpieces/abstracts/sg247556.html. This Redbook provides an overview of security features in IDS and has the following contents:
Chapter 1. Technology overviewChapter 2. Role separationChapter 3. AuditingChapter 4. Securing data with SQLChapter 5. Client-server communicationChapter 6. Server-server communicationChapter 7. Security issues with Backup and RestoreAppendix A. Audit event mnemonicsAppendix B. PAM API and macrosSo take a look if you'd like to preview this book prior to final publication and perhaps provide feedback.[Read More]
gbowerman 100000B5T0 2,534 Views
By the time I get around to joining a social network you can be sure it stopped being cool a long time ago. I created a MySpace profile when the only growing demographic was "sad bloggers with nothing better to do". Yesterday I finally joined FaceBook, so if you value your credibility get out now.
If you ignored this warning and still have have an account, you can become a fan of Informix Dynamic Server. I'm not sure about the concept being a fan of a product from a philosophical perspective, but am willing to make an exception for IDS, what with it being a Kult-Datenbank and all. The fan page has some interesting announcements and videos, though no photos as yet - I guess it's just a matter of time until someone adds the race car..[Read More]
gbowerman 100000B5T0 2,939 Views
The newly renamed IBM Database Magazine issue 1 is now published. This month there are a few Informix related articles: