Administrating and Developing with Informix
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]
This week I'm hanging around San Francisco, working at the Macworld Expo. IBM has pedestals for Informix, Rational Buildforge and Lotus Notes / Symphony (there is an announcement this week for Mac versions of the Lotus products integrated with Google and other calendars).
Here is a view from the Expo floor..
Venu, PJ and Terri trying not to scare people away from the Informix booth
Recently IBM has added a 32-bit Mac version of the Informix Client SDK (useful for Ruby developers) and made improvements to the IDS installer look and feel on Mac OS. We have a few demo's running this week.. a FileMaker application using an Informix backend, a high availability demo showing Mac based Mach11 and ER systems handling failover scenarios, an IDS virtual appliance guest OS running under VMWare Fusion acting as a client and using OpenAdmin Tool to administer IDS running on a Mac, and a Cocoa application written in Objective C integrated with ODBC which uses the Basic Text Search Blade to do freeform text searches on an Informix database.
The high availability theme will be continued on Friday at 1pm when Carlton Doe presents a session entitled Building Enterprise-class and Virtually Fail-safe Database Services on the Mac.
Certain people have accused me of being a PC and not a Mac. Maybe, but after spending some time tinkering with Xcode and seeing how fast IDS runs on it, the platform is starting to grow on me.[Read More]
Back in May I mentioned there may be a tech fair in Menlo Park later this year. I was a few miles out but if you're based in the California Bay Area mark your calenders for September 14th - the Bay Area Informix Tech Fair is going ahead in San Jose. This is an opportunity to spend a day learning about Informix topics from Advanced Support and Development engineers and meet other Informix users in the area. If you'd like to attend or have questions please RSVP..
FREE Informix Tech Fair
IBM Informix Advanced Support & Development Speakers:
Ajay Gupta, Guy Bowerman, Joaquim Zuzarte, Santosh Sajip, Suma Vinod,Vijay Lolabattu
Come and see demos integrating several application technologies.
Having a problem or question about Informix? Talk to an engineer and get free advice about your specific issue. Time is limited.
WHEN: September 14, 2006 9:15am - 4:30pm
4400 N 1st St, Suite 100
San Jose, CA 95134
Not finding a lot of time to blog from this year's IOD conference in Las Vegas yet. This is of course due to high workload and not related to unlimited free drinks in the Expo Center and receptions. Here is a quick personal view of some of the announcements from the conference so far, will hope to post more later.
Informix Application Development Website
The IBM website has a new portal dedicated to application development with Informix: http://www-306.ibm.com/software/data/informix/ids/ad/. This is a good place to get started for information on using Informix Dynamic Server with .NET, PHP, Perl, Ruby on Rails, IBM Data Studio, Java, EGL, ESQL/C and 4GL.
IDS Developer Edition - Free
At last... a free edition of IDS 11.10 for non-commercial use with no time limits. The Developer Edition will be downloadable from developerWorks and the IIUG website. Check the Developer Edition website for updates around November 6. The Developer Edition limits concurrent sessions to 20, CPU VPs to 1, memory to 1GB, database size to 8GB. Beyond this all IDS Enterprise Edition features are available including the Mach 11 replication features, built-in blades, Server Studio, J/Foundation etc. People have been requesting a fully-featured free edition of IDS for years, and the debate has continued this year so it's great to see this change in policy. If you're at the conference stop by the IDS booths at the Expo Center for a free Developer Edition DVD. IDS DE will initially be available for:
The release notes can be found here.
IDS on Mac
A free version of IDS 11.10 for the Mac OS is under development and will be available for the Developer Edition. There was going to be a demo of this in the exhibition center today, though I'm not sure the machine arrived. Watch the DE website for announcements.[Read More]
For anyone going to the IOD conference next week, here's a preview of the Developer Den sessions. Now that IDS 11.10 supports the DRDA protocol more common API technology is becoming available that was once only for DB2. The Developer Den format is a 30 minute presentation and/or demo followed by an open discussion. I am mostly interested in learning more about the Data Server Workbench and related technologies. Some of the new talks I'm hoping to get to see are:
There also talks by old favorites like Paul Watson on Advanced SPL, and Martin Lurie on the Google Maps API. I have a session on using chat bots as a database interface, where I'll try and convince you chat bots are the next big thing. A full guide to the Developer Den sessions can be found at the Technical Skill Building - Developer Den website.[Read More]
Yesterday was the last day to upload draft presentations for IDUG 2007 - North America (May 6-10), taking place in San Jose, home of the Museum of Quilts and Textiles, not to mention the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts in Western North America, allegedly. So far I have uploaded 1 out of 3 drafts, and in the spirit of prevarication am now writing about it rather than finishing the job.
Browsing the conference grid I see there are 4 separate Informix tracks and plenty of new material. It's reasonable to expect we'll be learning a lot more about Cheetah (IDS 11.10). There is an early bird discount available until March 23rd.
The IBM Information Management Technical Conference 21-25 May 2007 in Düsseldorf, birthplace of Altbier and Kraftwerk, in that order, is currently gathering papers. Early bird discount lasts until February 28.[Read More]
Greetings from the IDUG/IIUG conference in Vienna where I'll be sending inaccurate reports from the conference floor (or the Kunsthistorisches Museum if I manage to sneak out). See http://idugeurope.blogspot.com/ for the official conference blog.
Attendees, with their shiny new IIUG Internet phones and laptop bags, began filling the key-note room at 9:30 for a welcome and introduction from Jeremy Dodd of the conference planning committe. This was followed by a key-note entitled "Information as a Service...A New Era in Databases" by Bob Picciano, IBM Information Management VP of database servers. As he reviewed the Information Management products DB2 Viper with XML support was a major theme, and equally prominent was IDS with its cost of ownership message, a review of the Cheetah announcement, a new and surprisingly artistic marketing video with some telling customer quotes.
After the day's technical tracks the exhibition hall opened, with Gösser on tap, snacks on trays and some interesting exhibits from Informix and DB2 partners. IBM's Informix booth has IDSAdmin for PHP, IDS 10.0 features and replication demo's.
Meeting so many people known only by email has been a real bonus. Instant messaging is all very well, but some things get sorted out a lot quicker face to face.
Jean-Georges Perrin gets to grips with 4GL to EGL migration..
The San Jose Informix tech fair attracted a mixture of customers (from as far away as North Carolina) and IBM engineers, including some old Menlo Park colleagues who have recently come back to Informix development and QA groups from other projects, and some new hires in the IDS development teams who came along for the day to get some training.
The day started with an introduction to IDS 10.0 new features, followed by an HDR overview.
Two demo's accompanied lunchtime pizza, an HDR set-up and operation overview to show it really was as easy as promised in the preceding talk, and IDSAdmin for PHP (formerly known as phpIDSAdmin). IDSAdmin is an administration tool which utilizes some of the features due in the next major release of IDS.
The afternoon sessions were "IDS and the Websphere MQ Datablade", "Application Optimization Techniques", and a detailed look into the IDS Optimizer, including some of the new features.
IIUG kindly supplied some gizmos to give away, and attendees who made it through to the bitter end were treated to pristine condition vintage Informix mugs recently unearthed by archaeologists from a time capsule.
I enjoyed spending a week in the Bay Area revisiting some old haunts. Not much has changed. Suraj still has spicy tea, Shoreline still has night herons, and the 101 still needs repairing.
Bay Area Souvenier Photo
Black Crowned Night heron at Shoreline
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:
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 email@example.com.
The IIUG Conference Team
Here's an IIUG conference summary email that was sent to IIUG members today..
No other conference in the world will focus this intensely and comprehensively on the Informix product set. For 3 action-packed days across 5 content-rich tracks, from April 26-30, there will be an absolute focus at The Marriott Hotel in Overland Park, Kansas — which is right down the street from the Informix Development Labs.
Don't delay register now! http://www.iiug.org/conf/2009/iiug/register.php
No matter how you look at it, this conference is an unbeatable deal. So, plan on being at the 2009 IIUG Informix Conference in Overland Park, Kansas April 26-29, 2009.
TUTORIALS (Sunday April 26th)
TECHNICAL SESSIONS (Monday April 27 — Wednesday April 29)Over 85 technical sessions over three full days!For an updated list of sessions, visit: http://www.iiug.org/conf/2009/iiug/sessions.php
CERTIFICATIONAll attendees can take IBM Information Management Certification exams at no cost. Each of these tests is a $150 value!
The IIUG 2009 Conference in Overland Park, Kansas is coming up on April 26-29th.
Cindy Lichtenauer from the IIUG Board of Directors recently sent an invite which introduced the conference as follows:
Nowhere in the world will you find a conference where you will get more foryour money!
For the low price of $649 you will be able to attend three jam-packed daysof Informix-only content. You can attend the 2009 IIUG Conference and yourconference fee, hotel, airfare and all meals will be less than what youwould pay for the registration fee alone at other conferences! Beat theprice increase on March 1 and make sure you will be able to attend, as the2008 event was a complete sellout.
We have lots of new content this year including 5 tracks containing 88technical sessions, Keynote presentations from IBM executives, greatnetworking opportunities, an exhibit hall filled with Informix vendors andfree IBM certification.
Afternoon Sessions (1:00pm-4:30pm, Lunch 12-1 included)
All Day Sessions (8:30am-4:30pm, Lunch and breakfast included)
If you're going I hope to see you there. This year I'm currently scheduled to give a presentation on Informix virtualization, and have a standby session on IDS on Windows. If all goes well I'll get to participate in some usability sessions and demo's as well..[Read More]
This year's European IOD Conference is taking place in Berlin, June 2-5 2009, and the deadline for submitting papers is Feb 13.
Here is the conference information...
The largest and most valuable IBM Information Management event in Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA)
Wednesday - Friday, 3-5 June (Business Partner Programme Tuesday 2nd June)
Estrel Convention Centre, Berlin, Germany
Come see how…
* You can reduce costs within your organisation * You can leverage your existing Information Management technology investments for new business opportunities * You can build an Information Agenda for your organisation * You can improve the customer experience * You can drive competitive advantage through reuse * You can get to market faster * You can improve the reliability and flexibility of your infrastructure * You can optimise operational efficiency * You can utilise innovative solutions for data and information management * You can create new selling opportunities * You can mitigate risk and manage compliance * You can uncover best practices from leading EMEA organisations * You can network with your peers and learn from each others’ experiences * You can ensure success for global sourcing strategiesWho?
Technical and Business leaders, together with our Business Partners across all industries who are responsible for:
* Business Intelligence & Performance Management * Enterprise Content Management * Data Management * InfoSphere (Data Warehousing, Data Integration and Data Quality)
Call for Speakers
Informix CAC Meeting at IOD
The Informix Customer Advisory Council will also be meeting at the conference. Here are the details:
A face-to-face meeting will be held before the start of the IBMInformation On Demand EMEA Conference 2009, where there will be numerous IDS technical sessions and customer-led Informix success stories. The meeting details are as follows:• Venue - Estrel Convention Centre, Berlin, Germany • Date - Tuesday, 2nd June, 2009• Hotel & Travel information - http://www-01.ibm.com/software/uk/data/conf/hotels/index.html• IOD Conference information - http://www-01.ibm.com/software/uk/data/conf/Please contact Gayathri Magie at gayathri _at_ us.ibm.com for more details about the CAC and the upcoming meeting.[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]
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..
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.
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, AGS, 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.
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[Read More]
The rest of IDUG rushed by in a blur, here are some notes..
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:
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 and AES 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.
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, AJAX, EJB, 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 and JSP/AJAX presentations. June Hunt who organized the meeting was giving out prizes, including two very cute cuddly cheetahs.
IDUG NA 2007 - San Jose May 6-10
IDUG 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 and IOD 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.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, 2, 3, 4.
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.
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.
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]