Administrating and Developing with Informix
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..
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...)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The IIUG Conference Team