It's been a while since I posted my last entry. I've been meeting with customers quite a bit over the last few months, here in the US, in Europe and in China. I even managed to get caught in the Icelandic cloud along the way. I feel these last 6 months have been some of the most exciting times for Informix. There is huge interest in our next release which is code named Panther. On top of that we have a new executive VP of business development - Rob Thomas, a new enablement team led by Dilip Kikla, and our Informix editions have been completely revamped. In additon to all this a brand new market has opened up for Informix - the smart meters market in energy and utilities.
Earlier this year we had several prototypes in the works with various customers in the E&U field. Since these engagements were spread around the world - the UK, Iceland, and India - no one noticed at first that a trend was building. What was happening is that we were winning each of the opportunities and quite easily at that. The real break came when an article was published on our win in the UK with Hildebrand. With that it became quite apparent to many people that we were a great fit for smart meters.
Based on the information in article several different E&U teams began working with us to understand why Informix was such a good fit for smart metering. The bottom line was that the Timeseries datablade, which no other RDBMS has, was the key. Smart metering is a classic example of the sort of thing that the Timeseries blade was built for - collect massive amounts of time stamped data very quickly and simultaneously run reports and do analysis on that data. This is what smart meters do - they collect data about energy consumption at a residence or business and then periodically send the information to be stored in a database for billing and data mining purposes. Applications that access the data do so in timestamp order. Operations can be as simple as pulling data for a particular meter or could be finding the average daily usage for a particular zipcode or even correlating energy usage with weather data. This was exactly what Oncor, a smart meters provider in Texas, needed. They came to us looking for a way to handle 3.5 million meters and store data for 25 months. Their current solution based on Oracle was handing about 1 million meters and was taking too long to ingest the data and run reports. A proof of concept (POC) was setup and the result was that using Informix plus the Timeseries blade resulted in load times going down from multiple hours to about 18 minute for a days worth of data for all meters. Also, reports that were taking hours to run would complete in 6 minutes with Informix, and in seconds if the data was already cached. Not only that but with the intrinsic disk space savings you get with the Timeseries blade disk space when from 1.3 TB down to about 350GB for 90 days worth of data for 1 million meters. With these kinds of results Oncor became a strong champion of Informix and have been reaching out to their customers to encourage them to have a look at Informix.
In addition to customers in the US other smart meter providers around the world have heard of these results and have begun contacting us. This has led to additional meetings and POCs with customers in the US, the UK, Holland, Denmark, and Germany, and I'm sure many more will follow.
Although this blog concentrates on smart meters there are many other applications that work with time series data within E&U. I'm sure as we get more established in the smart meter business there will be additional opportunities in other areas of E&U.