With the IIUG conference around the corner I have been looking through a fair number of presentations on Informix. On the one hand I am excited about all the great technology we have and am sure the attendees will be very happy with the content. On the other hand I also know that many of these presentations will be used with new and prospective customers. What strikes me is that while the presentations do a great job at describing what we have done they do less well describing why we have done it. Looking at isolated features it's hard to get a sense of why anyone would need them or how they integrate with the other features we have. For people that know our product this is not such a problem. If you know our product it is much easier to see how and why we implemented many of our new features.
An example of what I am talking about is replication. We've done a great job presenting each function individually - HDR, ER, RSS, SDS, CDC, etc... but what is often missing is how these features fit together. Its sort of like describing a car in terms of its parts -
- You have an engine here, and it is very useful for generating power.
- You have some wheels that allow forward and backward motion.
- You have breaks which allow you to stop your motion.
All of these are useful in their own right in many situations, however if you don't present the bigger picture then your listener may miss the point. This is basically what I think we often do with our functionality. We talk about the features in isolation without referring to the bigger picture.
To resolve this Madison, myself, Fred, Jasna, and many others have been rethinking ways to present our high availability and scalability so that people realize that we have a seamless suite of functionality rather than a bunch of disparate individual features. Since the lower level presentations seem pretty complete we concentrated on the high level messaging.
The 10,000 foot view is that we have the most comprehensive high availability and scalability solutions around. With Informix high availability we provide "always on" capability in nearly any environment and we are able to do it in the most cost effective way possible. From a scalability point of view we are able to get great performance whether we scale out locally or globally, or when we scaling up. It makes more sense to talk about scenarios where high availability or scalability is needed and how we can solve them rather than starting with describing the features then talking about use cases. If you are unfamiliar with Informix these high level statements and use cases make much more of an impact than saying "We have HDR/RSS/SDS/ER/CDC/CLR... and you really need to hear how each of these work". After this overview is given there will be plenty of time for drilling down into the functionality that makes this possible.
The intent here is not to pick on high availability, we have many features which need to be presented in a more user friendly way. I feel Informix is the best database around and we should look for every opportunity to promote it to as many people as possible, especially those not already familiar with Informix. Enhancing our message to be clearer can only help.