The New Informix
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Alright - so this is THE big gathering of Informix "fans"! And for 2012 it's in sunny San Diego, California. If you haven't already registered, don't procrastinate! You can find all the information you need here : http://www.iiug.org/conf
There will be a host of technical sessions and they are all listed at the conference website. Something new this year is an entirely separate applicaiton development track featuring Genero.
There are also several sessions on the Informix Warehouse Accelerator including two that I am presenting : One on the technology trends that have become popular in the warehousing/BI acceleration segment and another around the various case studies of customers with IWA. There have been a lot of different technologies adopted by vendors to solve the area around performance of analytical processing and as I talk to customers and partners, this is an area where questions always come : How does our solution compare to others? What the different design principles and architectures used in solving data warehouse challenges?
But besides all that, this is the one place that you can get to meet a lot of fellow Informix users, network with them, share your ideas and Informix stories as well as meet with some of the great IBM Informix engineers, architects and other folks who are working hard to deliver all this technology on Informix.
Additionally, for the Informix Customer Advisory Council (CAC), we are working hard on a "newer" format this year that personally I think is exciting and more engaging. So if you have the opportunity to do so, please sign up for the CAC - we would love to connect your thoughts, as customers, into the informix business.
So sign up now if you haven't already !!
Informix Product Manager
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In March, I found myself in "Dear ole Blighty" - yes - England. I was on a visit with Informix customers and partners in London/Leeds sharing the Informix roadmap. Stability, availability and OLTP performance stood out as "core" for operations. No surprise there. To give you an idea of the data rates/volumes that some of these customers need to deal with, how about 2500 transactions per minute online (a transaction could range from a few SQL statements to several hundred) or 12,000 transactions per minute from retail shops during peak season. Disaster recovery was key to some of these customers and they readily took advantage of the Remote Standalone Secondary (RSS) capability to provide geographically dispersed DR. Understanding and knowing that Informix will continue to invest in these strengths as part of the roadmap was very important to these customers. Further, as most of these customers are trying to design better analytics and insights and become more "customer-focused" as opposed to being purely "transaction-focused", they highly appreciated the Informix Warehouse Accelerator and the technology behind it.
Informix Product Manager
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YES - I have been slow with my updates. Call me a slacker, but better late than never. My travels have taken me eastward in the last two months. My first trip was on an Informix event for customers and partners in Mumbai, India. We held a "unique" one of a kind one-day event for our Informix loyalists in India. This was our opportunity to present some of the key new Informix capabilities in 11.70 and especially gave me the opportunity to shed some more light on IWA or the Informix Warehouse Accelerator. The event was well attended and you can find all the details at the Informix India facebook page https://www.facebook.com/informixindia
Already knowing that Informix customers are Informix fans, it still pleasantly surprises me to see how passionate the Informix customers are about Informix. In a country where bottom line savings, reliability needs and low cost of ownership take on a whole new meaning, it's easy to see how Informix stands out with this user base.
I also got reprimanded for not blogging enough by one our loyalists (you know who you are :-)).
One of the goals out of this meeting was to kick-off a local user group in the region and I am happy to say that with the help of Stuart Litel our IIUG president, we have found a couple of our customer/partner representatives who have agreed to lead this important agenda for us. Stayed tuned to hear more about that from Louis Cherian. Additionally we know have regularly scheduled "Chat with the Lab" events that provide deeper insights from the lab on many of the Informix features.
For details of Informix things happening in India, be sure to bookmark the following pages:
Informix Product Manager
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If you are looking to understand , read more about or trying to decide on choosing a warehouse technology that is right for you, this article on DBTA by Roger Gaskell should make an interesting read:
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Today, we announced the Informix Growth Warehouse Edition along with some pricing updates on the Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition. The announcements can be found here:
Built around the same Informix Warehouse Accelerator technology available with the The Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition, the Informix Growth Warehouse offering brings the same performance and capabilities to the mid-market. The Growth Warehouse can be put on a machine that has upto 16 cores and 48 GB of RAM allowing customers the potential to accelerate data mart sizes up to 250 GB or sometimes a little more, depending on the compression obtained.
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A few weeks ago we delivered Informix 11.70xC3. Along with some other enhancements, there are three things I want to bring to your attention around the Informix Warehouse Accelerator component of the Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition:
1) A Smart Mart Tool that can be used to generate data mart definitions from workload analysis
2) Multi-cultural support (IWA support for different locales)
3) the Informix Ultimate Warehouse Time-Limited Version for Evaluation (not really a 11.70xC3 enhancement )
The Smart Mart tool can significantly help reduce the efforts to designing a data mart for deployment with the Informix Warehouse Accelerator. This is really valuable when you are unfamiliar with the database schema or there are a large number of tables. The first step to generating a data mart definition is workload analysis. Workload analysis consists of "Query Probing" where information is gathered about the query workload. Based on the analysis of the probing data and database schema, the probing data can be converted into a data mart definition(probe2mart stored procedure). This definition is in the form of relation tables and can be used to generate the data mart definition as xml (genmartdef() ). This xml file can be imported using the ISAO studio administration interface.
The Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition time-limited evaluation now allows you to conveniently try out and experience the extreme performance gains at your convenience. The download can be found here
What can happen in 10 years ? A lot can happen and a lot did happen at IBM Informix. In fact, in the last ten years at IBM, the Informix community can look back and be proud. While we had a little bumpy ride at the start, a product that has a rich innovative heritage like Informix was meant to excel and innovate more. And that's what we did - I am personally proud of all the technical achievements that the Informix team delivered and as an Informix user , I am sure you are too. While the list of new features and capabilities is long and rich, how often do you find products that not only add new capabilities that exceeds customers' expectations in solving their problems, but doesn't waver from it's heritage of performance, reliability and ease of use that customers have come to expect of the product ? Informix is legendary for it's performance, so I'd like to pay my little tribute with this little performance chart.
So there's a lot that can be achieved in 10 years and I am looking for to the next ten years of innovation with Informix
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Fred Ho and Lester Knutsen talked about the Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition on a very well attended web cast organized by InformationWeek. There were a lot of questions that Fred has documented as Q&A at this blog which can be found here
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Ok well, I tried. Over the last week we seemed to have skipped Spring altogether in the "Heartland of America" and taken a short cut to summer PLUS, more to the point of the blog, I have been on some calls with our business partners and a couple of customers over our new offering - the Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition. As a result, I have compiled a set of "generally asked" questions that I thought are worthwhile sharing with you. Here they are:
Q. How does this new Informix warehouse offering announcement impact existing entitlements and contracts?
The IBM Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition is a new edition in the Informix family. It has no impact on existing entitlements and contracts. This edition is not a replacement offering for any existing offerings or editions.
Q. What does this new edition offer those who have the Informix Ultimate Edition?
The Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition offers additional value over the Informix Ultimate Edition. This new offering is composed of 3 key software components: a) Accelerator-ready Informix Ultimate Edition, b) Informix Warehouse Accelerator and c) Informix Compression. This edition offers customers significant performance improvements and allows customers to optimize performance in a mixed workload environment. The Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition is available as a trade-up to existing Ultimate Edition customers.
Q. I have a warehouse currently on Informix Ultimate. How do I obtain this new edition? Is this available on all platforms?
Customers on Ultimate Edition have a trade-up option to obtain Ultimate Warehouse Edition for their current PVU entitlements. This Edition is available on the following platforms: Sun Sol 64 bit, AIX 64 bit, Linux 64 bit, HP-UX 64 bit, however please note that the Informix Warehouse Accelerator needs to run on Intel Linux 64-bit.
Q. If I have Growth Edition, can I trade-up to Ultimate Warehouse Edition?
Customers on Growth Edition would need to trade-up to Ultimate Edition. If customers have extreme performance requirements for their warehouse that are not met by Informix Ultimate Edition, customers can trade-up to the Ultimate Warehouse Edition.
Q. Why is this a new edition and not a new feature option?
Based on our new strategy around pricing and packaging (announced May 2010), which was based on feedback from our user and partner community, we have moved away from adding new feature options to the Ultimate editions for the server. Further, the warehouse offering really is a combination of Accelerator-ready Informix Ultimate(which is required for the Informix Accelerator to work), the Informix Warehouse Accelerator itself and the set of tools to configure and deploy.
Q. What is the sweet spot for this offering?
This is targeted towards the Informix install base. Additionally, the following is defined as the sweet spot for Informix Ultimate Warehouse:
a) Up to 5 TB data mart requiring acceleration
b) Data warehouses with Star Schema design
c) Requirement to support mixed
OLTP/OLAP workloads and high concurrency on the same system
Q. I currently have Informix Ultimate Edition on one of the supported platforms other than Linux. What does a trade-up provide me with?
The trade-up gives customers additional value at a nominal price. For the price of the trade-up, customers get entitlements to an accelerator-ready version of Informix Ultimate and Informix storage optimization feature that they can immediately deploy to their existing environment plus entitlements to the Informix Warehouse Accelerator. The warehouse accelerator needs additional processing power as well as memory and customers would typically need to purchase additional cores to deploy the accelerator component.
Q. What BI tools does this offering support?
Popular vendor tools such as IBM Cognos, Microstrategy, Business Objects all work with Informix and have been deployed by several Informix customers.
Q. Will SAP/Peoplesoft work with this offering?
Customers have to ensure that the versions of SAP and Peoplesoft in question have been
certified with Informix 11.70xC2. Secondly, customers will need to be given access to the schema and data maintained by SAP/PeopleSoft in order to define the data mart for acceleration with the Informix Warehouse Accelerator component.
Q. Will these new editions be eligible for sub-capacity licensing?
Yes. All for-purchase
Informix software is eligible for sub-capacity licensing.
Q. What metric is the Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition available on?
Processor Value Unit (PVU)
Q. How are my PVU entitlements counted for when I install the different components on different systems?
Customer has to acquire PVUs to cover processor cores for all systems on which the resources managed by the program reside. For instance, if the customer plans to deploy the Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition on an HP itanium system, they may do so, and would deploy the Informix Warehouse Accelerator on a Linux-Intel system. The customer then configures the required data marts from the warehouse for deployment with Informix Warehouse Accelerator. Those data marts reside on IWA for processing. If the HP system is 4 cores and the Linux Intel system is 12 cores, the customer acquires PVU entitlements for 16 cores.
Q. What if I still have questions?
There is an e-mail alias where you may send questions and get answers from the most appropriate IBM resources: askIFMX@us.ibm.com#informix
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This is the sign hanging on data warehouses today: "Wanted: Technology for Extreme Performance ".
Introducing the Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition for our Informix customers - you can read the official announcements here:
So what's all the excitement about ? The IBM Informix Ultimate Warehouse offering is all about bringing extreme performance enhancements to Informix warehouse workloads using breakthrough warehouse acceleration technology. Yup I know that is a mouthful. But hold your questions right there!
First let me delve into the packaged contents of this offering before we get into the details. The offering is basically a brand new edition that consists of :
Here is how it all works in a nutshell :
Your warehouse continues to be managed by #Informix and your BI queries continue to run against Informix. When a query is run against a data mart that is configured for acceleration, the Informix optimizer ships off that query to the accelerator and returns the results from the accelerator back to the BI application. The following graphic attempts to illustrate this:
The Informix Ultimate Edition is supported on 64-bit versions of the following OSes: AIX, Sol, HP-UX and Linux:
The IWA component is supported on the following platforms:
To learn more about the Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition visit the Informix Warehouse page or attend the various Discover Informix and IIUG events coming your way or look for other blogs from various Informix experts. Don't forget to register for and attend the IIUG Conference in May 2011.
To leave with a final thought, here's my favorite one for your warehousing environment : Take "NO" for an answer !!!!
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Check out the press release and some great quotes from some of our customers and partners.
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It's here !!!!
Here is the US announcement
Here is the Canada announcement
Here is the EMEA announcement
Here is the AP announcement
Here is the LA announcement
True to it's heritage, Informix continues to build on it's key differentiating capabilities that Informix customers and partners, known more widely as "Informix fans" have come to love. You can read more about the different features across the editions at http://www.informix.com
So what's new with Informix v11.7? Let me provide a very brief intro here.
Informix Flexible Grid : Informix now offers a very easy way to do something truly powerful - deploy Informix engines in a grid environment. With grid based replication enhancements, you can now:
Best-of-Breed Embedability enhancements that gets more autonomics: Again, this continues to enhance one of the core strengths of Informix, mainly the ability to embed Informix easily. Over the last few years, especially starting Informix v11.10, a lot of focus went into autonomics - self configuring, self-healing, self-optimizing and self-protecting characteristics. So what did we do more?
Security: Security remains a top business priority for Informix customers. With that in mind, Informix v11.70 offers:
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The foot traffic was slower today. However one of the key sponsored sessions today was the IBM session - "Optimizing Infrastructure - Decisions that impact hardware, software and management costs". This was basically a panel made up of two industry experts : Derek Wise, Technical Director, CCP and Rick Lambright, previously Chief Architect of Gazillion Entertainment and currently CTO and Co-founder of Motiga. The session was kicked off by Lisa Johnston, Director, IM Marketing programs, IBM.
The panel was moderated by George Dolbier, CTO, Interactive Media at IBM. This was a very insightful session and was well attended. It was obvious very soon that there were some serious challenges on the infrastructure for games. The session meandered through several topics - biggest hidden costs, provisioning challenges , game design, data driven programming, performance and latency.
My own personal observation is that the amount of data generated and the usage of this data for analytics has definitely been on the rise in this industry. Database scalability and high availability were other topics that were discussed. Overall it did seem that the decision around database selection is still more on the tactical side , than strategic. However, all indications are that over time that is slowly changing. Here are some pictures from the session today(from left to right: George Dolbier (standing) and Derek Wise, Derek Wise and Rick Lambright, Rick Lambright
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The Expo to the Austin Game Developer Conference opened today. Again as I mentioned before, this conference is somewhat unprecedented for Informix in that the sole IBM product focus for this conference is Informix !
And in fact our day at the booth was pretty busy, lots of booth visitors and questions on Informix. Here's my personal summary of day 1 at the expo booth:
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The Game Developers Conference kicks off on October 5th 2010 in Austin, at the Austin Convention Center. This year IBM , more than anyhas other year, IBM has put some significant $$ into this event and it's all specifically for - yes you guessed it - Informix!
IBM will have a booth that will be running Informix demos, a sponsored coffee session break and a sponsored session on Optimizing Game Infrastructure. This session will be a panel of couple of experts from the industry - current and former CTOs and moderated by George Dolbier from IBM. These experts will talk about the crucial role that databases play as part of optimizing game infrastructure and some of the market leading and differentiating capabilities of Informix. If you will be at this conference, don't miss out on this session! If you know of anyone in the industry attending this conference, do encourage them to attend this session.