You may have seen announcements for the 2008 IIUG Informix Conference
in Lenexa on April 27-30 this year. Ones like this for example..
But is it worth going to? why Lenexa? what can we expect this year?
I put these and some other tough (well slightly tough) questions to IIUG
President Stuart Litel
who kindly agreed to an exclusive interview with the Informix Application Development Blog..
Q. What's different about this year's IIUG conference over previous years?
A. It will be a very technical event with a concentration on purely Informix. All the sessions revolve around the entire Informix product line.
Q: Why did the IDUG and IIUG conferences go their separate ways?
A: A few reasons.
1) The IIUG Board believed that the users wanted a more affordable and Informix only event. We had experience at doing two day events before and we attracted many more people.
2) We wanted to do an event that was a break even event financially, not where costs were very high and the price had to be high and also not to make a big profit, but only to put a little seed money away to cover costs to do an event each year.
Q: Why would people want to take time out of their work schedule to attend the IIUG Conference?
A: I have personally been to each and every Informix conference since they started about 15 years ago. I personally believe it is not only what you learn but the people and relationships you make, such as meeting you the first time a few years ago and fellow Informix users around the world. If I have technical problems or questions I have the contacts throughout the world to talk to and help with my word situation.
You will be learning and meeting some of the best instructors, but at conferences you are meeting the best technical trainers from IBM, developers like yourself, Jonathan Leffler, John Miller, Madison Pruet, Kevin Brown, Scott Lashley as well as fellow users who you can share work experiences. I have often said give me two days at a conference with power users and developers vs ten weeks of Informix only classes and you will learn not only more but create the right contacts to assist you in your every day business life. And don't forget you can meet Carlton Doe and get a copy of his IDS 11 book autographed!
Q: Attending a conference is a big waste of money, discuss..
A: I definitely dont agree with that statement. See all my comments below. I mean for about $1500, three days, over sixty sessions on JUST INFORMIX and its related products, how can you beat that. I have heard well its not only the money but also the time away from the office. Please tell me what better deal there is in the IT / IBM / Informix world. The IIUG created this event to be just that an event that people will learn about and talk about later. I have heard people comment about coming to Kansas City, whats there to do. Trust me I just about the same thing, but it does not matter where we hold the event, we are there for the event and to learn and meet fellow users and this proved to be the perfect location.
As for the Conferences being a waste, hey I have been to every Informix Conference there ever was under Informix Corp. Every IBM event that had Informix content (the old Technical Conferences and now IOD) and IDUG / IIUG event and most of what I have learned and almost all the Informix contacts I have in the world were all made due to coming to these conferences. It is like anything else, it is what you make of it, and here you have the opportunity to make what ever you want with fellow users from around the world.
Q: What presentations are you planning to attend?
A: Me personally, to tell you the truth I have not looked at the sessions yet. But there is over 60 Informix technical sessions, the most number of Informix sessions than any IBM conference or other event anywhere in the world! and for the price, how can you beat this! The bad news I doubt I will get to any sessions, because I will be too busy with the event. Although I try not to miss sessions from what I call the "Gang of Five", the Five IBM Distinguished Engineers - they are always the best (of course Guy I will get to your sessions).
Q: Why Lenexa, I mean come on, why Lenexa?
A: If you take a right hand turn out of the hotel it is College Blvd. Drive five miles or so down the road and that is where most of the Informix developers and support team for IBM are actually located. Many of these people will be presenters at the conference in addition the Monday night party we intend to invite the entire Informix development and support staff to the party. One big family is what I am calling it!
Also Kansas City is centrally located in the middle of the United States so we are not at either coast. I remember the biggest Informix conference ever was held in Chicago with over 5,000 attendees and I believe one of the reasons was due to the location. What do they say in real estate... LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. well Overland Park / Lenexa / Kansas City provided just this.
Q: Do you have any entertainment lined up for us?
A: Wait you said people were there for the technical sessions... OK I will give you an exclusive PEAK but will not spill all the details.
Sunday night will be a reception in the Exhibit Hall starting around 6PM
Monday night will be an event which I will call "Party with the Informix Family" with all the attendees, developers and support staff from the area invited and Tuesday night is an off site event which I will not give you any of the details. But here is something I will say to you... They put me in charge of the parties, so if you have met me before you will know the food and beverages will be good (and I love to eat and I hate drink coupons hint hint :) )
Over the years I tell lots of Informix stories and I will always remember a few years back at an Informix conference run by IBM I walked down a hallway and there was Jonathan Leffler sitting on the floor eating lunch with some users drawing all kinds of technical information. Give Informix users some good Informix content and pizza on a box and a corner to sit in on the floor and they are happy... We re there for the technical information, but the entertainment will be fun too!
Q: How are the registration numbers looking so far?
A: We are way ahead of schedule. As of the writing of this to you, we only have space for about 110 - 120 more people. The hotel can only hold about 340 people in the main conference room, so that is our limit. Also on the Hotel room block, we have blown over it twice! I had to call the hotel and get more rooms under the hotel room block. We are way ahead of projection. In fact we have more Informix people already registered than attended last years combined IDUG / IIUG event and we still have over 11weeks to go!
Also on the side of Sponsors / booths... We have more booths already signed up an paid for then the IBM IOD and IDUG 2007 events combined!
Q: Why Lenexa again?
A: Cause we want to be where the developers are! It gave us access to the core of the Informix team (of course besides you guys up in Portland, Oregon!)
We have three of the most important people in the IBM Informix world coming to speak. Arvind Krishna is the Vice President of Database Servers for IBM Information and he will be the keynote. If you have never heard Arvind speak, he is truly very informative and very entertaining. Also speaking will be Jerry Keesee and Bernie Spang together. Jerry is the Director of World Wide development for IBM Informix and this past year at IOD, Jerry's session was one of the few for any product that was standing room only. In fact they closed off the room due to fire regulations. Bernie Spang is the Director of WorldWide Marketing for IBM Information Management Databases. These two are great together, which is why I asked them to do it together. It will be fun to see who gets more time on stage!
And speaking of these three individuals, there will be some world class special announcements happening that I cant talk about a this time, but they will be press worthy announcements happening (opps that is all I can say). But there is some other special stuff happening that I have not even told the conference committee yet that I have planned up my sleeve.
Speaking of the Conference committee, these people are doing one heck of an amazing job. Lead by IIUG Board Member Cindy Lichtenauer, One of the IIUG Founders and first President Walt Hultgren and long time IIUG Board Member James Edmiston, they are joined by long time Informix users: Kernoal Stephens, Tammy Frankforter, David Link, Bruce Simms and Tom Beebe.
Also one last note. I got an email from someone in Croatia the other day who is coming. He figured out that he can fly to the USA, stay for the entire conference and pay for the conference registration for less than it costs just for the registration only to an IBM conference in Europe and this event is where the true Informix knowledge will be, so he is coming to the event and urging other users in Croatia to also come.
Personally I have estimated that the total cost of the event for someone in the USA including Airfare, hotel and conference registration is only about $1500 from most anywhere in the lower 48 states! Remember a week at an IBM class is I think about $2500 just for the tuition and IOD registration is about $1595 for the EARLY BIRD. Here you get much much more for about the less cost!!
Thanks Stuart! From what I've heard the list of sessions is being finalized about now. Here is where you can check the list of Confirmed Technical Sessions
. Hope to see you there in April.
Thanks to a habit of arriving fanatically early to airports I can spend a few minutes sifting through the embers of the IOD 2007 Conference, from the perspective of someone who missed half the talks he wanted to attend due to clashes with important engagements such as lunch, refreshment breaks, and food left unattended in conference rooms. Here are some of my highlights:Demo 'til you Drop
Demo 'til you drop is a brutal gong show styled event where participants demo their pants off until they make a mistake, pause, something fails to work, or they mention their product supports Oracle. Congratulations to Informix's Alexander Koerner who won the show with his notorious "Cluster in my trousers" (aka Cheetah to Go) demo of Informix Dynamic Server 11.10's replication features running on memory sticks.Exhibition Hall
Informix had several booths in the Expo hall, including demonstrations of Open Admin Tool (OAT), Replication (ER, HDR and Mach11), Label Based Access Control (LBAC), and IDS for the gaming industry. We were also handing out a DVD which included the free IDS 11.10 Developer Edition. Nearby another line of booths was reserved for Informix partners, such as Cobrasonic
, and Kazer
I'm not very good at gathering freebies at conferences, because I was brought up to feign interest in a product before collecting the loot and this can be time consuming. Fortunately many booths had interesting wares, such as the SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 SP1 Live DVD being given away at the Novell booth, which includes a very nice desktop interface and Lotus Notes 8.Data Studio
There were many talks and Developer Den sessions centered around IBM Data Studio
- the new Eclipse based development environment formerly known as Developer Workbench - and its various tools and features. It was good to see some demo's and tutorials showing how easy this is to use. Now I need to try some of them back at the office..Net application Development
Writing .Net programs for IDS is becoming much easier. Ajay Aggrwal's "Rapid Application Development on .Net for IDS" session lived up to expectations and demonstrated using the new IBM Database Add-ins for Visual Studio 2005 to create working Informix .Net applications in minutes.Self-Contained Informix Applications
Alexander Koerner let us in on his Cheetah to Go secrets with a detailed session showing how to use Qemu
to create a self-contained IDS demo application consisting of a fully functional IDS Mach 11 cluster with demo applications on 512 Mb USB drives.IDS versus the Competition
Simon David, better known as Cosmo, shared some comparisons configuring and benchmarking IDS vs Oracle, and pointed out some inaccuracies and bias in a recent Forrester report.Rise of the Robots
Friday morning sessions can be a little under-populated so I had visions of my Developer Den session about interfacing databases with chat bots going something like this:
Guy: Welcome to exciting world of chat bots.Chatbot1: Sensors indicate room is empty.Guy: Silence Chatbot1Chatbot2: Destroy all humans.Guy: No-one asked you.
Fortunately a few people wandered in by accident and the chat bots cooperated, which was good enough for me.
Overall there was a positive feeling at the conference amongst Informix attendees - the increased investment and focus on Informix by IBM is reaping results. It's good to be working on a product in ascendancy, and hear in person comments from DBA's who use IDS and like where it's going.
I asked Hrvoje Zokovic
how the Cheetah Technical Workshop in Croatia went and here is his write-up..Alfatec Group
and IBM Croatia
organized an IDS Cheetah Technical Workshop
in Zagreb, September 5th-7th for IBM business partners and customers. The presenter was Scott Pickett
and during three days of his addictive presentations attendees were informed about Cheetah new features. Besides the presentations, attendees got to grips with Cheetah during the labs – MACH11 with hdr, rss, clr and sds was configured by attendees in a matter of minutes. The new features enjoyed a rapturous reception, with attendees saying they are ready to start using Cheetah. Scott also announced more exciting features in future IDS releases.
Obligatory view out of the window.. I'm sure I've been lost in that part of Zagreb before
Scott sets his class an impossible exercise
For more pictures of the event check out Alfatec's photo album
The rest of IDUG rushed by in a blur, here are some notes..Tuesday
In the morning I delivered my IDS for Windows internals talk. If anyone downloads the slides from the conference website or IIUG please note they claim the 64-bit Windows port of IDS will not support ISM. As development plans have progressed this has since turned out to be a cheap lie, ISM support is now planned. In my defense, I am a cheap liar.
Freed up to attend a few sessions I followed a meandering path of application development, security and Linux, beginning with Sergio Ferreira
's JSTL SQL tags
talk, which starting with the Java web stack explainedJSTL
- the Java Standard Tag Library, EL
- Expression Language, and how to use the various JSTL components such as SQL.
In the afternoon Alexey Sonkin
provided some tips on Optimizing Linux for IDS
- I was expecting this to get very technical and was not disappointed. Topics included performance comparisons for different Linux filesystems, partitioning optimization for drive geometry, picking the best I/O scheduler for database performance, optimizing the kernel memory swapping algorithm, the quadratic dependency between network connections and SOC VPkernel processing time, and FASTPOLL.
Here is a copy of the official conference agenda for Tuesday evening:
1. Drinks reception at Conference Exhibit Hall.2. CA Party at Tech Museum with open bar.3. ????4. Wake up in hotel room.Wednesday
On Wednesday morning I met Anatole Vishon
who demonstrated some of the new features in Server Studio
6.x currently in beta and due for releaseto coincide with IDS 11.10. There is a lot to cover in Server Studio and I'llsave this for a separate blog entry later this week.
In the afternoon I caught Jonathan Leffler
's Encrypted Communications with IDS 10.0
presentation which took us from Kerckhoff's Principle
, the Diffie-Hellman key exchange protocol
to setting up encrypted network communication in IDS using Encryption CSM
Next was Paul Watson
going through some Public and Free Datablades
- a useful range of blades to extend SQL functionality that are freely available and easy to build and install. For some reason Paul thought I'd make a good sacrificial goat for various object relational questions that came up - maybe it was a punishment for arriving late, either way I'm going in disguise to his next talk.
Later that day coaches were laid on to give conference attendees a taste of BayArea traffic and transport them to a reception at IBM's plush Silicon Valley Lab (SVL)
. As the throng were shepherded to the reception area we were waved and cheered by resident developers - presumably the slow ones who were unable to get away when rounded up.Thursday
On Thursday the only session I managed to see was Gary Ben-Israel
's Hitchhiker's Guide to J2EE
- an illuminating guide to the framework universe
, and some of the serious problems to that need to be overcome when developing within a Java framework. As a result of this talk and some offline chats I've added Wicket
to my "to learn about" list.
Throughout the conference the Exhibit Hall was busy. IDS had 4 pedestals, including an IDSAdmin demo showing new replication features and an interesting gaming development demo which I hope this blog or IDS Experts
might cover in the near future.[Read More
Downtown San Jose was bustling with Mexicans on horses, teenage girls and pasty engineers on Sunday as it hosted Cinco de Mayo
celebrations, the NCVA Junior Girls Volleyball Power League Regionals and IDUG North America
IDUG kicked off with a series of Sunday educational seminars. Of the 5 Informix ones I managed to catch Speed and Performance in IDS
presented by John Miller
and 20 year Informix veteran Scott Lashley
who was grumbling about being offered a senior coffee in Macdonalds - I'm sure it was an innocent mistake. It was good to pick up some performance tips from the experts - must increase my physical log size to take advantage of non-blocking checkpoints - ok the online log has been telling me that for a while but it's good to get a reminder..
Fancy hoof-work on W San Carlos
Today saw the official start of IDUG. For the keynote two retired IBM fellows Pat Selinger
and Don Haderle
were reanimated to discuss the future of database technology. They have a cute comedy routine going with a dash of bawdiness, which makes a change to standard hype-laden conference keynotes.
Monday was the busiest day for me with my interminable JSP/Ajax and Krakatoa/Solano talks and booth duty but did get to attend one Special Interest Group meeting - Informix for Data Warehousing & Business Intelligence
- where hardcore data warehousers shared their thoughts and questions with Kevin Fennimore
, Ron Flannery
and Martin Lurie
. The consensus is these guys would like to see more XPS
warehouse friendly features ported into IDS. Tomorrow I just have to inflict my soul-crushing IDS Internals for Windows presentation (it's soul-crushing in a good way, honest) and can then report on a few other sessions.[Read More
Today's post contains an assortment of events, catching up from having been somewhat lacking in blog time last week..A wet day in Waltham
The New England Informix User group
met last Friday at the IBM Waltham facility. On the agenda were Marty Lurie
and his son Aron
cutting school to present their Google Maps/IDS mash-up
. Carlton Doe
went through some of the many IDS 11.10 feature highlights; and I subjected the attendees to my relentless IDS Internals for Windows
presentations. June Hunt
who organized the meeting was giving out prizes, including two very cute cuddly cheetahs.IDUG NA 2007 - San Jose May 6-10IDUG NA
starts in a few days in San Jose. Expect the usual plethora of seminars, presentations and events. I'll be mumbling my way through the aforementioned IDS Windows and JSP/AJAX talks, along with one on Krakatoa/Solano. The material will differ from the downloadable IDUG versions due to new slides on Windows 64, Windows Vista and other topics being added at the last minute. Free Certification Testing
Note that both the IDUG
conferences include free certification testing
. For the first time the IDS v11 Certified System Administrator
certification test will be available.Hint:
the new exam has a higher percentage of questions about new features than previous IDS certification exams. To prepare for this exam make sure you set aside enough time to thoroughly learn new v11 features.IOD Conference - May 21-25 May 2007 - Düsseldorf
The IOD conference in Düsseldorf is also nearly upon us. Again there is a lot going on, check the Conference website
for more details.KCIUG Tech Day: 9am-4pm June 12 2007
The Kansas City Informix User Group is sponsoring a Tech Day on June 12th, 2007. The theme for the day is:
What will Cheetah offer you?? A.I.R.
A - Agile (Scalability, Extensibility, Web Location Based Services)I - Invisible (Embed-ability, small footprint, Admin Free)R - Resilient ( Global Availability, High Availability, Security)
I'd have called it H.A.I.R (Highly), but that's just me. Details can be found in the latest IIUG Insider
.IOD Conference - Oct 14-19, 2007. Las Vegas, NV
The Information Management überconference Information on Demand 2007
takes place in October. This year's conference will be bigger than ever with the addition of the Filenet
conference. Expect 500 technical sessions.[Read More
Why post a follow-up to a conference I didn't attend? Because the Washington Area Informix Users Group Forum organizers always have the decency to make PDF files of the presentations available. 2006 presentations packed with useful technical information are downloadable here: http://www.iiug.org/waiug/present/Forum2006/Forum2006.html
Having read the presentations you'll no doubt want to see who delivered them. Meticulously documented for the historical record are keynote and party photos
, along with conference speakers/sponsors: 1
But what was it like to actually be there? For that we have Jean Georges Perrin's conference blog
, which begins "I am enjoying a glass of Chateauneuf du Pape in the Air France VIP lounge at Dulles"
. Hmm, I wonder where he's from, I'm guessing England.
The Washington Area Informix Users Group has announced free registration for Forum 2006
to anyone providing proof of a round-trip ticket from outside the United States. The regular registration price is $120. See the Forum Website
for more details, including discount hotel rates.
Kudos to the conference organizers for encouraging international participation.[Read More
The IOD conference ended on Friday. I missed some sessions owing to conferenceduties, but below are some personal highlights..
For a view of the conference from Jean-Georges Perrin's inimitable Gallic perspective, and better photos, check out Postcards from Anaheim: Information On Demand 2006
.Mike Eisner's keynote
I sometimes skip keynotes but was glad to attend this one. Mike Eisner is obviously an art lover, drawing on the world of fine art in many of his points. One analogy he used was that of Pointillism
. Using "Sunday on the Island of La Grand Jatte"
by Georges Seurat
to illustrate micro-management - the dots representing the minute aspects of the organization, which in his viewshould be controlled by management - while at the same time encouraging mistakes, a few bad dots do not ruin the overall picture.
At the Q&A at the end, which sadly avoided anything controversial, he wandered off-topic to repeat something taught to him at a young age - how to tell good art from bad. If you look at a paintingand it is nice, pleasant and comforting, it is probably bad art. If it is repellent and does nothing for you it is probably also bad art. If it is confusing, challenging, makes you think for a while and want to look at it again, it's probably good art.IDS and Web Services
In the developer den Alexander Koerner had in interesting talk about using IDSas a web service consumer and provider. I'm keen to see whether he forsees anypotential in using the IDS Solano feature as a web service provider. The developerden also had free copies of a recent Red Book "Developing PHP Applications for IBM Data Servers
" which covers Cloudscape, DB2 and Informix. IDS Performance
There were several good IDS performance presentations, as well a Birds of a Feathersession. One talk I managed to attend on Friday morning was Jeff Filippi's "Informix SQL Performance tuning tips" which had some effective real-world tuning examples.Blackberries
I enjoyed Christoph Jaeger's "Informix IDS and Blackberry Mobile Applications"session. At one point he threw his Blackberry on the floor, which prompted a member of the audience to throw his Palm into the aisle. I was about to smashmy cellphone and shout "DESTROY THE MACHINES" when I realised they were justextolling the relative durability of their personal communication devices.
An important customer meeting took place here.
Arvind Krishna's Data Servers keynote at IOD today added some detail about Cheetah. Starting with some reasons why 8 of the top 10 retailers and 20 or the top 25 supermarkets use Informix Dynamic Server, he went on to outline some of the new Cheetah features, including enhanced performance, reliability and availability, enhanced spatial geodetic support for location based services, advanced security features such as LBAC, Common Criteria Security Certification, encryption across replicated nodes, encryption for backups and key management.
A new press release also coincided with the start of IOD: IBM Previews IDS "Cheetah" Data Server
In the morning I attended an interesting talk by Christian Holzer (former midfielder for 1860 Munich
) entitled The German Premier Soccer League: Powered By Informix, WebSphere and EGL
, describing how data on every action in German and Austrian football league games are recorded into an IDS database and used by media companies for real-time graphics and by team coaches for researching players and selecting teams. Successful tests with RFID
chips on players and in the ball are leading to massively increased real-time data gathering in future seasons. There was speculation in the audience about whether RFID chips would lead to an end to offside disputes. Christian's view is that the offside rules need to be changed before that can happen since they don't currently specify whether it's just a foot, or any part of the body which triggers offside - this could affect placement of RFID chips.[Read More
The IOD conference officially starts this morning, and various pre-conference events took place over the weekend. A large numbers of IBM business partners showed up for Business Development Day. DB2 and IDS problem determination classes took place, the Informix Customer Advisory Council had a two day meeting to exchange views and learn more about marketing and development plans for IDS. I was there for the second day in time to learn more about planned HDR, security, location based services, XML, EGL, high availability, administration and competitive features for Cheetah and beyond.
Obligatory smudgy cell-phone photo..
The 2007 Informix marketing budget is spent on a t-shirt, and the hotel want their cat back
Today I updated an earlier post about Visual Studio 2005 run-time DLL dependencies
to discuss an additional option - embedding the manifest file in an executable.
Next week this blog will be broadcasting from the IOD conference
in Anaheim, where I'll be kept busy with a JSP talk, making up the numbers in an IDS performance panel, representing Windows in Meet the Experts and volunteering in the daily news team. So if you see a bright and cheerful engineer delivering your news at 6:30am, it won't be me as I'm not good at mornings.
The scale of the conference and number of technical topics
to choose from borders on overwhelming. From the planning emails I've seen the organizers have been working very hard to get this ready. Hope to see you there.[Read More
The main part of the IDUG/IIUG conference in Vienna ended on Thursday, with talks on Advanced Memory Management for datablade developers, IDS security and encryption, 4GL & Java, and Java UDRs. Sadly the keynote by Heinz Wolff
, former head of the European Manned Space Commission, was called off as he was unable to make it out of Heathrow.
Congratulations to Carlton Doe who won the best IIUG speaker prize at the conference wrap-up for his IDS Extensibility talk.Random Vienna-cam cellphone snap..
It's hard to do justice to St. Stephen's Cathedral, or any Viennese architecture with a cellphone, but that's never stopped me before.[Read More
Day three of the IDUG/IIUG conference, a short walk from St Stephen's Cathedral - an imposing gothic edifice if ever there was.
The Informix side had lots about Java, extensibility, PHP, ER/HDR, Onstat, archecker, and a thought provoking demo of Jan Musil's XML blade, which uses the Virtual Table Interface (VTI) to serve XML files as IDS tables.
Cindy fung shared some details from the IDS product roadmap for the next few years.Summary: there is a large ongoing R&D investment in IDS, and some very cool features lined up for Cheetah and beyond.
For another view from the conference floor check out JGP'sPostcards From Vienna
The Washington Area Informix Users Group has an $80 early bird offer for their two day technical conference on December 8-9: Forum 2006
The forum includes:
- Technical presentations by the top Informix Speakers
- Three tracks covering:
- Database Tools and Applications
- Informix Administration and Performance
- DB2 Administration and Performance
- Exhibitors showing products for Informix users
- CD with public domain software, and
- A chance to meet and network with database developers, programmers, DBAs, and users.
To get a feel for the content take a look at the downloadable sessions from Forum 2005