Administrating and Developing with Informix
Antonio Cangiano writes in his Zen and the Art of Programming blog that version 0.7.0 of the Python driver/wrapper for DB2 and Informix is now out of beta.
This release includes improved Unicode support, plus some bug fixes.
Antonio's blog also mentions in the comments that we can expect to see a Django adapter soon.[Read More]
RSS feeds provide a convenient way to display up to date information directly in your Firefox browser toolbar. I for one spend more time perusing the BBC News and Slashdot feeds than I should.
Implementing an RSS feed that displays database information is very simple, hence the 5 minute Informix RSS feeds..
These two examples, for JSP and PHP, display a summary of the last 20 orders from the IDS stores_demo database. They both use the following IDS 10.0 SQL query:
Five Minute JSP Informix RSS Feed
If you have a working Tomcat installation setting it up to work with Informix JDBC drivers is as simple as copying the JDBC jar files into $CATALINA_HOME/common/lib and restarting.
Customize the machine, Informix Server and links in this code and create a new Tomcat webapp. The resulting URL can be added to the Firefox toolbar as a Live Bookmark.
Five Minute PHP Informix RSS Feed
Here's the equivalent code in PHP. This example uses the Informix PDO Driver.
This should result in the same output as the JSP example.
The look of the XML output when viewed from a browser can be improved by using an XSL stylesheet, and various parameters such as refresh interval (TTL) can be tweaked. There are some good RSS tutorials and books available, or it can be fun to reverse engineer the stylesheet of your favourite news feed to see what they do.[Read More]
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Look out for the upcoming Ziff Davis seminar on Wednesday September 26th, when Kevin Brown and Madison Pruet will talk about 99.999% - How Available is Your Business?
"Attendees will hear from IBM IDS technical leaders Kevin Brown and Madison Pruet who will discuss the importance of reaching 99.999% uptime, and why this level of business continuity can rarely be achieved with a "one-size-fits-all" solution. The availability capabilities of IDS 11 will be prominently featured."
Inside Informix V11
Eric Herber has written an article about IDS 11 in Database Trends magazine, which includes a nice Open Admin Tool screenshot of a MACH11 topology. For the impatient, go to http://es1.tecnavia.com/ee/databasetrends/# and skip to page 18.
September Chat with Labs - RFID and Web Services
This month's Chat with the Labs covers the new Web Feature Service - which can provide a useful service layer for any kind of data, including GeoSpatial. Here's the blurb.
Location Based Services and RFID using Web Feature Services
This feature implements an Open GeoSpatial Consortium(R) Web Feature Service (OGC WFS) in IDSto act as a presentation layer for the Spatial and Geodetic DataBlade modules. The OGC WFS interface allows requests for geographical features across the web using platform-independentcalls. The XML-based GML (Geography Markup Language) is used as the encoding for transportingthe geographic features. Our speakers for this Chat will be Jerry Keesee, Director of the Informix Lab and Alan Caldera, Senior IDS Development Engineer.
RSVP for this Chat at: ttps://ww4.premconf.com/webrsvp/register?conf_id=7267470
Comments, questions: lspina AT us.ibm.com
There are 3 IIUG Cheetah tech days on the US West coast in the next week:
Since the directions to the San Jose IBM facility on the website are allegedly unreliable, here are the directions in full:
Morgan Hill/GilroyTake highway 101 and head North. Take the 880 highway exit, right and head towards Oakland. Go 4.1 miles to 237 and go West onto 237. Go 2.4 miles to the North First Street exit, turn right. We are on the right side - 4400 North First St.
From San Jose Airport:Get onto North/West 87 (Guadalupe Parkway) and take ramp onto highway 101, towards San Francisco. Take the Great America Parkway/Bowers exit and head right. Keep straight onto Great America Parkway for 1.9 miles. Take 237, right, towards Milpitas for 1.0 miles and take the North First Street exit and head North.You.ll now be going over 237. We are on the right side . 4400 North First St.
From San Francisco Airport:Get onto highway 101 and head South towards San Jose. Go 26.7 miles to 237, towards Milpitas. Go 4.7 miles to the North First Streetexit and head North. You.ll now be going over 237. We are on the right side - 4400 North First St.
From Oakland Airport/ East BayExit airport onto highway 880 South, go 26.3 miles to 237 West. Go 2.4 miles to the North First Street exit, turn right. We are on the right side, 4400 North First St.
Firstly, if you follow The Informix Zone you will already know there's a new Informix RedBook, 162 pages of high availability goodness entitled: Informix Dynamic Server V10: Superior Data Replication for Availability and Distribution. This compliments the RedBook published last December: Informix Dynamic Server V10 . . . Extended Functionality for Modern Business.
Secondly, IBM RedBooks are pioneering a new authoring process known as RedWiki. The old style RedBook authoring process took the form of a residency. Authors, typically IBM employees, would travel to a specific site and work there until the job was done. With the new process, anyone can apply to be an author, and the team collaborate on the book via a Wiki page from their regular locations working part-time. I like this concept, it can mean larger teams, and can draw on a greater pool of authoring talent. We use wiki pages extensively within Informix support and development both informally in small teams and in a larger more structured environment.
I turned down the last opportunity for a RedBook residency.. the flesh was willing but the time was lacking. With the Wiki-based authoring process I'd have probably applied. To see an example of the new style of RedWiki take a look at PHP Zend for i5/OS.
I hope this concept catches on and look forward to seeing some Informix RedBooks written this way. Judging by the expertise on display in the IIUG and comp.databases.informix newsgroups there would be no shortage of enthusiasm and talent for a distributed Informix RedBook.
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I just read an interesting post from ZDNet blogger Paul Murphy entitled Sun’s training problem..
I know of a Sun V880 installed in January of 2002 with eight 750Mhz processors, 16GB, and four A1000 disk packs that ran Informix 10 with Sybase/IQ with exactly zero downtime for almost three years despite a half dozen or so disk replacements and a Sybase upgrade....Paul's main point is about Sun not evangelizing their SMP and in-memory data integration solutions, though the implication is also there that IBM has work to do to evangelize the modernity, relevance and reliability of Informix Dynamic Server.
Reading this led me to reminisce about my first Sun machine at Informix, an Ultra 2, running several IDS instances, it never stopped working.[Read More]
The Informix Application Development blog marks its first anniversary today. When I started this blog a year ago I wondered how long it would be before I ran out of things to write and the blog went the way of most blogs, slowly running out of steam. Fortunately it has been a good year to be writing about Informix. With rapidly growing sales, an open beta for a major new release and many people generating content to review in the form of technical articles on developerWorks and other sites, there is always something to write about. There are more detailed articles lined up waiting for me to have time to write them.
A great sign of the rejuvenation of Informix is the proliferation of new blogs and websites devoted to the product in the past year. Highlights include The Informix Zone, independent of IBM and the definitive website for Informix advocacy and content. The Informix Technology blog, an excellent source of well-researched in-depth articles. Informix Magazine an IDS driven portal and aggregator for all things Informix. The IDS Experts blog - a new platform for Informix Tech Support and Development engineers. Meanwhile, the International Informix User Group has negotiated a free download of IDS with no time-limit, in addition to the growing repository of user contributed Informix utilities. Open source Informix initiatives have also been on the increase, for example the Informix Driver for Ruby and the continued development of DBD::Informix.
Lessons I have learned after a year of blogging include:
It has been fun writing the blog this past year and I have got to know some good people along the way. Informix has a loyal and growing following both inside and outside of IBM, having earned its status as a cult database through a combination of performance, reliability, small footprint and ease of administration that place it in a category of its own. Yes I am biased.[Read More]
This is part 1 of what will ultimately be a 3 part article describing an AJAX-based front end to an image database written in ZK - an event-driven component-based development framework. ZK can work well for GUI web applications as it provides a simple markup language to define the user interface and takes care of the AJAX synchronization behind the scenes.
Part 1 - Uploading and downloading images to a database
A ZK database application has the following dependencies (if you have ZK installed and you know how to get a database connection you can skip this part):
2. Create a Database
For part 1 a simple table consisting of an image number, image name and a byte data type to store an image is sufficient:
create database imgdb1;create table album(id serial, name varchar(100), img byte);create unique index nameIdx on album(name);
3. Create a new ZK Application
Create a new application directory, say "imgdb1", (under $TOMCAT_HOME/webapps if using Tomcat), and edit the WEB-INF/web.xml file to add ZK support. The ZK Quick Start Guide (PDF) section 5 describes how to do this.
4. Write the Presentation Layer
One of ZK's strengths is the ease of writing a user interface with the ZUML markup language. Note: the <ZK> tag shown here is closed in step 5. In my example, the code in steps 4 and 5 is written to a file called index.zul (which the server will recognize as a default file like index.html). A window containing the image and Display/Add/Delete buttons can be succinctly defined in ZUML as follows:
5. Write the Database Service Methods
The displayImage() method selects the named image from the database, retrieves it from the ResultSet as an InputStream object which can then be set to the image defined in the window via an AImage object.
The uploadImage() method calls FileUpload.get()to upload an image from the local filesystem to the database. If the file is confirmed to be an image it is retrieved as a byte array and bound to a prepared INSERT statement.
The deleteImage() method sends a DELETE statement to the database.
<zscript> import org.zkoss.image.AImage; import java.sql.*;import javax.sql.*;import javax.naming.*;In this example the Connection conn = ds.getConnection(); statement gets a JDBC connection from a connection pool. Replace this (and the Context and DataSource declarations) with a direct DriverManager.getConnection(url) call and associated initialization code if you prefer to make a direct connection.
Now, assuming the data server is online, pointing the browser to the application URL (in my case http://localhost:8080/imgdb1/) should display the application.
Part 2 will add basic browsing, update, delete, and a incorporate a few informational fields to the database application. Comments are welcome, particularly suggestions on improving the code.[Read More]
In part 1 of this article I looked at how to use the ZK AJAX web framework to:
The application created in part 1 was a demo of implementing these two methods, but did not do anything usable. In Part 2 I will use these methods to create to create a working BREAD (browse, read, edit, add, delete) application for a database table containing an image file and informational columns.
Note: This example was tested using the Firefox browser.
Part 2 - a photo database application
To convert the simple demo of part 1 into a working application the following major features will be added:
This article builds on part 1, and assumes a working ZK environment with database connectivity via JDBC, and a new or existing ZK application.
2. The species database
For this example I am choosing to store the photo column in a separate blobspace. This is a design choice at the Informix data server level and makes no difference to how the application works (it just reduces I/O to the physical log). On my Windows laptop the commands I used to create a 100Mb blobspace called blobspace were:
copy NUL c:\ifmxdata\%INFORMIXSERVER%\blobspaceonspaces -c -b blobspace -g 4 -p c:\ifmxdata\%INFORMIXSERVER%\blobspace -o 0 -s 102400ontape -s -L 0onmode -l
The new database will store some basic information about animal species in table spc_list: name, genus, species, photo:
create database imgdb2;
3. Define the presentation layer
In previous ZK examples I have inter-mingled ZUML markup tags which define the presentation with the ZSCRIPT Java code which defines the service methods. This is ok for small examples but starts to look messy for larger applications. This time the ZSCRIPT code is stored in a separate file: part2.jul for clarity. Note the file can have any name and extension, I just made up ".jul" to remind me that this is Java code sourced from a ".zul" file.
The GUI part of this application consists of a listbox on the left side of the screen. On the right side of the screen is an image and detail grid, with a panel of buttons separated by a splitter. This is my index.zul file:
<zk> <window title="Pacific Northwest Fauna" border="normal" width="1000px">Note one deviation from the default display characteristics.. I redefined the listbox element slightly using a STYLE tag to make the border between rows stand out more.
Note also there is one line of embedded zscript code at the end, to call the method to retrieve the records at startup, and pass on the name parameter if it has been optionally included in the URL (e.g. http://localhost:8080/imgdb2/?name=Hairy%20Woodpecker).
4. Define the service methods
This is the Java code to populate the listbox and implement functionality behind the buttons. The listbox is dynamically generated by implementing the ListitemRenderer class. Note that the listbox is populated using the retrieveRecords() method and is set to use the SimpleListModel.
The displayRec() method is called when a row in the listbox is clicked on and uses the same approach as in part 1 to select the image object from the database and display. In part 1 if the image was too large it would overflow the window it was defined in. Here the image is set to a fixed width of 500 pixels and the height is dynamically set to maintain the aspect ratio; this way the application maintains its overall proportions and the images are displayed correctly.
The file upload is implemented in a separate method called doFileGet() called when the New photo button is pressed. A boolean variable newImage is set when an image has been uploaded.
This allows the addRec() method to support adding a record with or without an image, and query the user to make sure they wanted to add a record if no new image is present.
Similarly the modifyRec() method can modify fields in the table without changing the image if the user did not upload a new image before pressing the Modify button.
The part2.jul file contains the following:
// image database application zscript codeimport org.zkoss.image.AImage; import java.sql.*;import javax.naming.*;import javax.sql.*;Now the application is starting to become useful, particularly for a small database; but suppose there were thousands of records - dumping them into a simple listbox is not going to work so well, the application would need to display records pages at a time. The following features would also be nice to have:
In part 3, when I get around to writing it, I'll look at adding some of these features. If you have any suggestions for part 3, or ways to improve the existing code please let me know.[Read More]
A new developerWorks article was published last week by Abhishek Mathur called Using the new Deployment Wizard in IDS Cheetah - New control for the IDS install process.
The article highlights an important new feature in IDS 11.10 install - the ability to customize which components are installed.
Now instead of copying all the files during installation, just those for the chosen components are copied. For IDS 10.0 and below most of the files in the media were language files of which only a small subset were likely to be relevant to your locale. I am not sure I go along with this sentence though..
Have you seen how large some other Enterprise RDBMS installations are? However the point of this sentence is well-intentioned. Perhaps 270Mb should be viewed as considerable if we can reduce the footprint by only copying the required files.
This goes a step towards Componentization - where you can pick and choose which Software components you wish to install rather than legacy all-or-nothing software installations.[Read More]
IBM announced a security vulnerability involving insecure use of the /tmp directory by the IDS and CSDK UNIX install scripts recently. The text of the announcement is here: Possible security vulnerabilities with Informix Dynamic Server, CSDK, and I-Connect product installers.
Reports of this vulnerability have been around since the beginning of October when someone called Larry Cashdollar sent an announcement directly to Bugtraq. As far as I can tell, in contrast to other security advisories we receive, IBM were not given any advance notice of this so had to start working on a response from that point. Since the announcement the usual security sites have picked it up, generally giving it a rating of less critical:
FrSIRT Security Advisories: IBM Informix Insecure Permissions and Temporary File Creation Vulnerabilities
Secunia Advisory #1: IBM Informix Dynamic Server Insecure Temporary File Creation
Secunia Advisory #2: IBM Informix Products Insecure Permissions and Temporary File Creation
Security Tracker: Informix Dynamic Server Uses Unsafe Installation Scripts and Directory Permissions That May Let Local Users Gain Elevated Privileges
I've been waiting for the dust to settle before writing about this given the less than critical impact, the straightforward workaround, the difficulty of exploiting and the IIUG coverage, but now the official IBM announcement is out it's worth at least highlighting the workaround:
Use the -log option when performing your product installation to redirect the temporary files created to a secure directory.
The following example from Jonathan Leffler illustrates using the -log workaround:
umask 077mkdir /tmp/informix./installserver -log /tmp/informixThis creates a directory with no public (or group) access, and then directs the install logs to that directory.
It is also worth mentioning that Informix products running on Windows do not have this vulnerability.[Read More]
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Adria Informix User Group Meeting 11/17/09
The Adria IUG president Hrvoje Zokovic sent me a note reporting on the 1st Adria Informix User Group Meeting..
Stockholm Informix User Group Meeting 11/16/09
After a busy week of meetings in the UK and Ireland I went to Stockholm to talk at the Stockholm Informix User Group meeting. I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't snowing but you can't have everything. The meeting started with an introduction from IBM Sweden's Information Management sales manager Fredrik Prien, followed by me presenting the IDS roadmap, then discussing embeddability, virtualization and cloud computing. Next up was Rickard Linck with a very detailed and informative talk on recent IDS features, followed by Ulf Åkerberg with an interesting talk on High availability demands at the Swedish Migration Board.
Speaking at this event turned out to be a lucrative endeavour, with all presenters receiving some bottles of Schnapps, Schnapps glasses and a scarf. Forgetting that the Schnapps was in my hand luggage and going through 3 sets of airport security to get home was challenging, but somehow I managed to bring them home without needing to drink them on the spot.
After the user group meeting most attendees decamped to a very pleasant Swedish restaurant for nourishment and bibulation..
Too bad this has already started, but it looks like a useful resource nonetheless: Ajax Code Camp - a free online class that describes itself as an 18 week training course, but in fact appears to be a 22 week course.
The class is written by San Shing, a technology architect at Sun, who puts the class material online in various formats as he writes. I read through Ajax Basics slides from week 1, a 65 slide PDF file with speaker notes which does a thorough job at explaining the fundamentals of AJAX.
It's good to see this much information presented in a class format made available for free. Note he is also asking for volunteers:
If you do Websphere now might be a good time to get involved in the Ajax for IBM WebSphere Platform Early Program..
The early program release includes:
The package is available to download for the usual platforms, along with a getting started guide and information center.
If anyone tries integrating this with Informix I'll be interested to hear how it went.[Read More]
So I ran into an interesting issue last week. A customer couldn't alter a table. Non-Exclusive access. Sounds pretty normal right? I mean after all it's not like a DBA doesn't see this fairly often.
The Normal routine is for a DBA to run the following:
However what happens when you still get non-exclusive access after doing the above?
You need to have two considerations then. #1, check for referential integrity issues, and #2 look for open cursors?
RI can be checked using dbaccess, or dbschema, but how do you check open cursors?
The easiest way is with
onstat -g opn
In the situation I wan into, we had several open cursors with transactions running against the child table holding RI.
This allowed us to identify where applications were forgetting to close the cursors. As soon as those cursors were closed, the alter table was successful.
From a development standpoint, this brings up a salient point to always remember, close your cursors.
For more info on onstat -g opn
Amazon Web Services announced an addition to their pricing model today called Reserved instances. Instead of just an hourly and usage fee, you pay an annual or triannual fee together with a lower hourly usage fee. The details can be found here: Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud Pricing.
If I take the simplest example of running a small standard demand Linux instance continuously for a year (8760 hours) in the US and ignore data transfer, storage and leap years, the prices work out as:
Reserved Instance: $325 + (8760 * 0.03) = $587.80
x = 4643 hours (rounded up)
To make a real world cost-effectiveness calculation for pay-by-the-hour computing resources implies you have a comprehensive understanding of your physical hardware costs (electricity, rack space, IT staffing/hardware support, equipment costs, replacement costs, etc.) as well as average and peak data storage and usage requirements factoring in growth, and implementation costs of any new software solution. The calculation is further complicated when data service providers start offering license fees by the hour instead of fixed one time or annual fees - another calculation around the number of usage hours required to break even becomes necessary.
Also to be factored in is whether security, performance, availability and reliability concerns outweigh the many cloud benefits including rapid scalability and SAAS friendly model. Not everyone is convinced commercial cloud offerings currently meet all the requirements: Cloud computing not fully enterprise-ready, IT execs say - though enough people are convinced to make for some nice looking graphs; and AWS customer numbers are now approaching half a million.[Read More]
Resources and publications relating to Data Studio are on the increase. Here is a quick round up of places to read about, download, post questions and follow tutorials pertaining to IBM Data Studio - the new Eclipse based data management and development environment..
There are two forums where you can post Data Studio questions and look for announcements, take your pick..
IBM Data Studio: Get started with Data Web Services
pureQuery: IBM's new paradigm for writing Java database applications.
Increase productivity in Java database development with new IBM pureQuery tools, Part 1: Overview of pureQuery tools
Common Development Tool
email for now. (Update: I since relented and switched comments back on.)[Read More]
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Today is turning into a good day for announcements...
Brought to you from Hagenau, France a new Web magazine has arrived: Informix Magazine. A Joomla! based creation, powered by IDS Cheetah, Hibernate and Java, Informix Mag describes itself as
..focusing on Informix Technology on products like IDS (Informix Dynamic Server), Informix 4GL (I-4GL)..
Looking at today's page it has some news items, as well as a conglomeration of other Informix news feeds, a DBA Zone and a Developer Corner for job postings.
JGP, looks good, when you read this please comment and tell us more about the site...
Here are Jean Georges Perrin's comments, which I'll add directly to this post, thanks JGP...
InformixMag aims to be the central place for Informix information, offering news, etc. It is purely a news site, it won’t have much unique and exclusive content, but I wish it to become the “Google for Informix information”. We have a real web-based forum, where we hope to see people discuss the news in a more efficient manner, etc. You have plenty of different partners already providing banners, Alfatec from Croatia, MoreData from Portugal, famous Kazer. We don’t want to “own” or steal content, just provide a convenient aggregation. We keep all copyright notices, and we are (soon) shortening long feeds, like yours :-). The project has been quite secret for a few months, released in a very early stage a few weeks ago, finding some partners has started last week. On the purely technical side, we have developed some technologies to aggregate the data from various places (including but not only RSS) and we are polishing the product and applying it in InformixMag. I’ll talk about the product later. It’s still alpha. We use a derived (or very extended) of Joomla, as you said, but the core of the data, is using Cheetah, Hibernate and Java…[Read More]
Hi all, another PSA today.
Still this one is pretty cool, because the lab will be talking about application development with Data Studio and Informix. Even if you don't use Data Studio, and even if you don't plan to, I highly recommend attending. The more interest a call like this generates, the more calls like this (i.e. Application Development) will occur.
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]
So I got back from this years IIUG. It was a blast, as usual. The IIUG is making efforts to increase the number of presentations that are applicable to developers. This year it included presentations on Database programming with PHP, a section on open source coding with informix, programming with drupal, and then I did a best practices presentation for application developers.
I don't know when the IIUG will make the presentations available, but you do need to be a member to get them, and the process is simple, and free. Just go over to
And sign up.
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
The free Bay Area Informix tech fair is Thursday September 14th in San Jose. Send your RSVPs (or questions) to email@example.com if you can attend.
Here is a final list of planned talks and demos:
Bring your problems - engineers from Advanced Support and Development will be on-hand to discuss problems and answer questions. Hope to see you there.[Read More]
Here are the provisional agendas for the upcoming Beaverton and San Jose Informix tech fairs. Agendas are subject to whimsical and subliminal change.
Beaverton, OR - Wednesday May 20
San Jose, CA - May 28
The time after 2pm is currently set aside for more demo's and in depth chats with developers, advanced support and product management - bring your problems.
We're planning another Beaverton Tech Fair for May 20th. Not many details yet but here's what we have so far...
There will be a full day of talks, meet the developers lunch and new demos you have to see to believe.
There will be more details about this information packed day to follow. Please put this day on your
WHEN: May 20, 2009 between 9:00 – 4:30
WHERE: IBM Beaverton
15400 SW Koll Parkway
Beaverton, OR 97006
The Beaverton tech fairs are always good for a few giveaways, pizza, and lots of technical information. Hope to see you there.[Read More]
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Here are more details for the Beaverton Tech fair on May 20th...
Free Informix Tech Fair
Talks include the following topics:
IIUG President Stuart Litel
IBM Informix Engineers
Free ConsultingHaving a problem or question about Informix? Talk to an engineer and get free advice about your specific issue.
WHEN: May 20, 2009, 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
WHERE: IBM Beaverton
15400 SW Koll Parkway
Beaverton, OR 97006
Hope to see you there.[Read More]
The latest issue of the innacurately named DB2 Magazine has a very helpful article on the IDS 11 certification test. As anyone who has taken it knows, the IDS 11 exam is challenging - it is heavily focussed on IDS 11 features, and passing it requires preparation.
The new article, written by Eric Herber, entitled Becoming a Certified Informix Professional deconstructs the exam format and the weighting of questions. Looking at the exam in this way allows you to focus your study time and prepare intelligently.
On a positive note, perhaps a certification should be tough. What use is an easy certification to a potential employer or client? Anyone with IBM Test 918 to their name deserves to be called an IDS Expert.
As well as providing a collection of study references, Eric also mentions how to take the test for free (attend the IIUG conference). I'll add one other way to take it for free.. attend the Beaverton Tech Fair next week.[Read More]
Sitting on a flight to Las Vegas for the IOD conference affords an oportunity to tear myselfaway from the laptop and turn my attention to Carlton Doe's new book: Administering Informix Dynamic Server - Building the Foundation.
I should start by admitting a bias. I like Carlton, and from before Iknew him I've liked his writing; he writes not only with energy and passion for the subject, but with a great deal of technicalknowledge and experience. What this means is that you get all the information you would expect, but also something more than just adry technical book. So, needless to say, I was looking foward to a chance to read this book.
Is there a need for an Informix book when there is a comprehensive set of high quality Informix documentation available online?
The documentation is great but there is a huge amount of it, and zeroing in on exactly what you need can take time. Carlton addresses this question in the introduction:
One thing this book does very well is provide current information. A greatdeal of new functionality has been added to IDS in the last year, andknowing how much of a lead time publishing deadlines impose I am impressed by the amount of up to date 11.50 feature descriptions thebook has. It can be stressful trying to write about a feature beforerelease while the developers change it as you watch (OpenAdmin Tool which keeps getting new features is a good example).Somehow Carlton has managed to stay current, and write with an inside knowledge ofwhich features are likely to change.
I'm glad to see a few in-jokes to keep us paying attention. In a section entitledProblem solving with Extensibility a fictitious org chart is introduced,where Mukta, Fred, Kevin and Kassa report to someone called Jerry. That soundsstrangely familiar, though I can't quite place it.
At 424 pages Administering Informix Dynamic Server is small enough tocarry around, yet comprehensive enough to serve as a single referencesource. It also manages to provide a balance between introductory material for new Informix users and advanced technical information forInformix power users. After flicking through the backup and restore chapter I find myself drawn into a few diagrams and now know enough about XBSA architecture to be dangerous.
Overall, an excellent reference that both new and experienced Informix DBA's will find useful to have around.
Books links: Barnes & Noble, Amazon
Bruce Weed, who leads Informix marketing strategy for Informix and IBM Information Management Business Partner Strategy, has started a new blog: Bruce Weed's Blog. In his first post he threatens to share thoughts, experiences, and conversations about Informix and Information Management channels and begins with an interesting analogy about multi-talented olympic snowboarder Shaun White and how he chooses to focus his talents. I'm looking forward to part two of this when Bruce finds another can of Red Bull..
Thanks to the wonders of jet lag I'm in the office bright and early and catching up with some of the Informix content over the last two weeks...
Real-time Database Monitoring with PHP
Marty and Aron Lurie have published an intriguing developerWorks article DB2/Informix and open source: Database defense against the dark political arts - Real-time monitoring of your database for career enhancement. It includes PHP code which uses ODBC to monitor system tables to provide real-time database information. I see they managed to include a reference to the quasi-mythical Informix race-car..
Ruby/Informix 0.5.0 released
Gerardo Santana's Ruby extension for IDS continues its rapid development with the release of version 0.5.0. Download it from http://rubyforge.org/projects/ruby-informix/
0.5.0 12/27/2006------------------New features: * Easier to install * BigDecimal accepted for input parameters * BigDecimal used for instantiating DECIMAL and MONEY values * Cursor, Statement, Slob and Database accept an optional block that automatically frees resources after execution. Based on ideas and pseudo-code by Edwin Fine
Ruby on Rails/AJAX developerWorks Article
Continuing the Ruby theme Jack Herrington has written a database generic developerWorks article entitled Build Ajax into your Web apps with Rails Practical examples of how to use Ajax with Ruby on Rails. Worth a look.
Informix Zone has a new Python corner which kicks off with a tutorial from Carsten Haese on using a number generator to create a Fibonacci sequence. Part 2 promises a how-to on incorporating number generators with InformixDB.
Happy New Year![Read More]
This week saw an interesting pair of articles in Computer Business Review Online..
The first article on Monday, had the dramatic title: IBM has lost 80% of Informix users in six years by Jason Stamper. This must have sounded a little strange to anyone who has been paying attention to the rise of Informix in the last 18 months, and the fact that Informix revenue has been growing at a significantly faster rate than database market as a whole.
Sure enough, today the same journalist appears to have accepted the story is entirely false and issued a follow-up.. IBM corrects its own Informix customer figures. "Instead we are now told there are 20,000 in the International Informix User Group, over 100,000 Informix customers, and millions of users." - Good to see a journalist make a humble and gracious apology for releasing a bogus story without checking the facts. Many people in his position would be tempted to blame their sources.
Code line merger seems unlikely
A better-researched analysis of post-merger Informix is offered today by Philip Howard of Bloor Research in his Regdeveloper article: IBM and Informix tie down Cheetah - Code line merger seems unlikely. In it he discusses IBM's evolving strategy when it comes to Informix; contrasting the increasing scope of the last two major IDS releases, versions 10 and 11 and concluding favourably that any initial hints that the DB2 and IDS code lines might merge are off the table. Viewed from the inside, seeing the rate at which the IDS development team is growing, this assessment seems pretty accurate.[Read More]
I don't see it on the Webcasts page yet but here is the invite to the next Chat with the Lab - Jonathan Leffler talking about LBAC...
Join Jerry Keesee and Jonathan Leffler to discuss LBAC and why you might want to use it. The topics covered will include how to set-up and use a simple policy, the role of DBSECADM and its ramifications, backup and restore and import and export.
You may RSVP for this call at: https://ww4.premconf.com/webrsvp/register?conf_id=7996493
Another useful reference if you're interested in IDS Label Based Access Control is the 2-part article by Jihong Ma in the IDS Experts blog.[Read More]
The Informix Basic Text Search Extension (aka BTS blade) is a powerful and free search tool based on the open source cLucene project. It is easy to set up and use, especially now it works with smart blobspaces (instead of the ext spaces that BTS 1.0 required). The current version has some nice new features such as stop words. I just hope we get searches on multiple columns enabled one day (which would require an enhancement to the underlying virtual index/table feature VII/VTI).
Getting to the point, the BTS extension guru Mark Ashworth will be discussing advanced text searching topics in the next Chat with the Lab.
Here are the details..
Topic : Advanced Text Searching Topics in IDS
This month's Informix Chat with the Lab will be deep dive into how to setup and perform full-text searching on unstructured/plain text and XML based document repositories. Learn about search predicates and options, some techniques to handle inconsistent diacritical marks, enhanced index searching based on text found in XML tags and attributes, and ways to improve reliability and performance.Objectives:
Jerry Keesee, Director of the Informix Lab will introduce the call and Mark Ashworth, Informix Datablade Architect will be our technical speaker.
Web RSVP information:
To register for this event:
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Here is the flyer for the August 12 Chat with the Lab which covers Cognos and Informix integration. I am wrestling with the new My developerWorks blogging interface and am not sure how much I like it yet, here's my first (and probably only)attempt at reproducing the Chat invite..
Informix Chat with Lab
If you're interested in the storage savings and performance gains available with compression, one of the IDS compression feature developers Kevin Cherkauer will be discussing the feature and answering your questions on July 15. Here are the details..
Informix Chat with the Lab - Wednesday, July 15, 8:30 AM Pacific, 10:30 AM Central, 11:30 AM Eastern, 4:30 PM London, 5:30 PM Paris
Compression and Storage optimization support in IDS!
This month's Informix Chat with the Lab will be related to Smarter Planet initiative, helping save energy and cost via Compression & Storage Optimization support in IDS.
This talk will provide an introduction to Informix Dynamic Server's new Compression and Storage Optimization features. We will cover compression basic concepts and affects on the data, compression ratios and compressibility, performance, scaling, and interactions with other features such as HDR and ER. The talk will also include details of the new operations and behaviors introduced by these two closely related features.
Jerry Keesee, Director of the Informix Lab will introduce the call and Kevin Cherkauer, Informix Sr Technical Lead will be our technical speaker.
Participant access information:URL: https://www.mymeetings.com/emeet/rsvp/index.jsp?customHeader=mymeetings&Conference_ID=4572107&passcode=7232225Conference number: 4572107Passcode: 7232225
To register for this event:1. Go to the URL listed above and choose Web RSVP under Join Events.2. Enter the conference number and passcode3. Provide your information for the event leader and then click submit. 4. You will receive a confirmation email from "e-meetings." Please follow instructions to join the call on day of call (Note: for security reasons, a passcode and pin will be required to join call) [Read More]
The next Informix Chat with the Lab is on September 8th at 8am Pacific, 11am Eastern, with replication architect Madison Pruet talking about continuous availability in IDS 11.5..
Informix Chat with the Lab, Monday, September 8th 8 AM Pacific, 10 AM Central, 11 AM Eastern, 4 PM London, 5 PM Paris
IDS 11.5 Continuous Availability Feature (MACH 11)
The Continuous Availability Feature of IDS 11.5 offers easy and seamless deployment of applications on cluster solutions, providing a rich set of options for high availability (HA) with seamless scalability and lower hardware costs. Cluster nodes can be added dynamically, on demand, as workload increases on the cluster with client connections routed dynamically to any node in a cluster. Configuring, managing and adding cluster nodes are simplified with enhancements to the Open Admin Tool (OAT) that was discussed in the August Chat. Our speakers will be Jerry Keesee, Director of the Informix Lab and Madison Pruet, Senior Technical Staff Member and Informix Replication Architect.
RSVP for this Chat at: https://ww4.premconf.com/webrsvp/register?conf_id=4569387 For assistance by phone, call 800-289-0579 and refer to confirmation number 4569387.
Questions, comments, or to be removed from this distribution: lspina _at_ us.ibm.com[Read More]
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Mark your calendars for December 11th to hear Deen Murad from Informix Advanced support talk about upgrading IDS to 11.50 and answer your questions.
Here is the announcement:
Informix Chat with the Lab - Thursday, December 11th 8:30 AM Pacific, 10:30 AM Central, 11:30 AM Eastern, 4:30 PM London, 5:30 PM Paris (note new start time - 30 minutes later)IDS 11.50 Upgrade[Read More]
Set your alarm clocks for the next Chat with the lab on Jan 30, 2008...
Jerry Keesee, Director of the Informix Lab, discusses the latest information about the Informix product family, and provides a roadmap for future initiatives and releases. Included in this discussion will be a new announcement for an additionally supported platform.
You may RSVP for this call at: https://ww4.premconf.com/webrsvp/register?conf_id=6702647
Comments, questions or to be removed from this distribution: lspina _at_ us.ibm.com
I wonder what the new platform announcement is going to be. Personally I hope it's ReactOS.[Read More]
If you're going to learn about about HDR and RSS, you might as well learn it straight from the horse's mouth. The horse in this case being our resident high availability STSM Madison Pruet...
IDS 11.50.xC6 recently release in Decemeber has some useful new features and I can think of no-one better than Cosmo, AKA Simon David to tell us about them. Please join Cosmo at the next Informix Chat with the Lab on Mar 23rd to learn more.
Here are the details..
Topic : What's new in IDS 11.50xc6 ?
IBM IDS 11.50 release has been enhanced with new functionality to timely meet several customer needs. These features cover a range of areas, further strengthening IDS position by improving on Availability, Performance & Administration.
Presentation material will be available at www.ibm.com/informix/labchats prior to the event.
Questions, comments or to be removed from this distribution: firstname.lastname@example.org
To register for this event, use the following link:
If clicking the above link does not work, please copy the entire link and paste it into your Web browser.
A commonplace requirement for embedded database environments such as those in the telecommunications and financial industries is real time reaction to high speed (sub-millisecond), high volume events. IDS has a key ally in this area in the form of solidDB.
To find out more about how Solid can work with IDS attend the next Chat with the Lab where Ari Valtanen will talk about the solidDB in-memory cache. Here are the details..
IBM solidDB - Complementing Informix to Provide up to 10X Data Acceleration
In 2008, IBM introduced in-memory database technology known as solidDB. This presentation will cover the key capabilities of IBM solidDB - micro-second response time, high transaction throughput, and instant failover – and how those capabilities address the real-time requirements for data access in key Informix markets including telecommunciations, financial services, healthcare, retail, and communications. The presentation will also provide details about how solidDB in-memory cache complements IDS to accelerate response times and increase transaction throughput, achieving extreme speed for data residing in IDS. Use cases will be explored. There will also be good opportunities for technical Q&A. Our speakers will be Jerry Keesee, Informix Lab Director and Ari Valtanen, Director of solidDB Technology (CTO). Ari comes to IBM from the acquisition of Solid Information Technology, where he was Co-Founder, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. As a member of the founding team at Solid, Valtanen spent 7 years as an Architect in core product development in Helsinki, Finland.
RSVP for this call at: https://ww4.premconf.com/webrsvp/register?conf_id=9914805 or by calling 800-289-0579 and referencing confirmation code 9914805
On the day of the call, please plan to dial in 5-10 minutes early so you will be connected when the call begins.
Questions, comments: lspina _at_ us.ibm.com
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As an addendum to the last post, the following Chat with the Labs will make a good starting point for anyone interested in learning more about IBM Data Studio:
DB2 and Informix Chat with the Lab - Thursday, November 29, 2007 8 AM PST, 10 AM Central, 11 AM Eastern, 4 PM London, 5 PM Paris
IBM Data Studio and pureQuery
IBM Data Studio is a comprehensive data management solution that empowers you to effectively design, develop, deploy and manage your data, databases and database applications throughout the entire application development life cycle using a consistent and integrated user interface. pureQuery is Data Studio tooling runtime that improves application performance, manageability, and problem determination across the life cycle. Our speaker is Dr. Stephen Brodsky, Information Management Architect and Senior Technical Staff Member. This Chat is for both Informix and DB2 customers.
You may RSVP for this call at: https://ww4.premconf.com/webrsvp/register?conf_id=7342813
Questions to lspina _at_ us.ibm.com[Read More]
Coming up on Monday, December 17th 2007 is a Chat with the Labs about the IDS High-Performance Loader (HPL) - the tool for fast loading, unloading and filtering of data. Here is the invite:
RSVP at: https://ww4.premconf.com/webrsvp/register?conf_id=7437448
Times are: 8 AM PST, 10 AM CST, 11 AM EST, 4 PM GMT, 5 PM CET.
Comments, questions to: lspina _at_ us.ibm.com.
Webcast - Monitor and analyze recent SQL statements
Next Thursday, December 13th, Suma Vinod, a Resolution Team engineer from IDS Advanced Support will talk about how to configure and use SQL history and other features to monitor and analyze recent SQL statements.
Times are: 8 AM PST, 10 AM CST, 11 AM EST, 4 PM GMT, 5 PM CET. Check http://www.iiug.org/news/announcements/partner_training.php for more details.[Read More]
The next Chat with the Labs on Wednesday March 14th 2007 looks at how IDS 11.10 makes it easier to deliver SOA-enabled applications and information on demand. This is a special webcast co-hosted by developerWorks.
Jerry Keesee, Director of the Informix Lab, will be talking about Cheetah features and the test drive program, and Syed Kamal, president and CEO of Gillani, Inc will be talking about his experiences with the early Cheetah beta program.
Keep an eye out for a Cheetah Beta DVD expected to be available around mid-March, containing Linux and Windows open beta code, plus additional documentation.
Here is a reminder for tomorrow's chat with the lab with Jerry Keese and John Miller III..
Tuesday, April 8th, 2008
8 AM PST, 10 AM Central, 11 AM Eastern, 4 PM London, 5 PM Paris
Optimizing IDS Performance
In this Chat, some of the more popular onstat options for performance issues will be covered, showing how they have evolved throughout the history of IDS. With this as a backdrop, guidance will be given to a performance-minded administrator on how to use the improved onstat information to get the most out of IDS. Our speakers will be Jerry Keesee, Informix Lab Director and John Miller iii, Senior Technical Staff Member.
You may RSVP for this Chat at: https://ww4.premconf.com/webrsvp/register?conf_id=9943887 . For RSVP assistance by phone, you may call 1-800-289-0579 and refer to the call with Confirmation Code 9943887.
Questions, comments: lspina _ at_ us.ibm.com
This month's Informix Chat with the Lab takes place on Thursday, and I'll be talking about virtualization and cloud computing. Here is the announcement..
Informix Chat with the LabThis month's Informix Chat with the Lab will be on the popular topic of Virtualization and Cloud Computing with IDS.
There are some impressive new features coming into the next version of OpenAdmin Tool. Here's the blurb for a Chat with the Labs taking place on August 20th where the new features will get their first airing..
Informix Chat with the Lab - Wednesday, August 20th
8 AM Pacific, 10 AM Central, 11 AM Eastern, 4 PM London, 5 PM Paris
What's New with the OAT (OpenAdmin Tool), a graphical administration for IDS
Join one of our most popular speakers, John Miller, as he explores the capabilities and architecture of OAT, the OpenAdmin Tool. This will be an overview of the capabilities of OAT, highlighting such things as SQL Explorer, Performance History Graphs, Auto Update Statistics, and Space Management along with many other capabilities. Highlights of the architecture and what open source components are utilized within OAT conclude this talk. Jerry Keesee, Director of the Informix Lab will introduce the call and John Miller, Senior Technical Staff Member, will be our technical speaker.
You may RSVP for this call at: https://ww4.premconf.com/webrsvp/register?conf_id=4679866.
For assistance by phone, please call 1 - 800-289-0579 and reference confirmation code 4679866.
Questions, comments or to be removed from this distribution: lspina _at_ us.ibm.com
Just back from vacation and am now spending a couple of weeks working in San Jose on an IBM Redbook, where compared to Portland at least, it's hot.[Read More]
This week I managed to listen to most of Veronica Gomes' and Dennis Allen's Chat with the Labs on integrating Informix with SolidDB and was glad I did. It was packed with useful information.
Incidently, if you ever need slides for any of the chat with the lab series, including the latest one, you can download them from here:http://www.ibm.com/software/data/informix/labchats/. The audio replays appear here after some time as well.
If you're interested in developing PHP applications that integrate with SolidDB, you could do worse than read this developerWorks article: Building dynamic Web page applications using PHP and IBM solidDB by Abhinay Nagpal, Gaurav Mehrotra andYogesh Gawali.[Read More]
The DB Scheduler is a key new feature in IDS 11.10 which allows tasks to be scheduled and monitored. A potential problem is the default Sensors have a fairly aggressive monitoring rate in the current Beta which can cause the root dbspace to fill up on a busy system. It is likely that the default sensor settings will be tuned before Cheetah is GA.
This problem was the subject of a recent Cheetah Test Run Support Forum discussion. A few suggestions on how to avoid this problem were made..
Stopping the DB Scheduler
Shutting down the DB Scheduler means missing out on some very useful features but it is a reasonable temporary diagnostic strategy if you suspect it may be causing problems or if oncheck -pe shows the sysadmin database is filling up the root dbspace.
The recommended way to shut down the Scheduler is to use the task() routine..
database sysadmin;execute function task("scheduler shutdown");close database;Another method mentioned in the forum discussion was to create an empty file $INFORMIXDIR/etc/sysadmin/stop before starting IDS, which will prevent the Scheduler from starting. This method is not documented and not guaranteed to work in future versions.
Modifying the Scheduler to limit space consumption
Better than disabling the Scheduler altogether is to update the ph_task table of the sysadmin database to limit the amount of data that is collected. This example tells the Scheduler to delete data older than 4 times the collection frequency:
database sysadmin;update ph_task set tk_delete = (4*tk_frequency) where tk_type ='SENSOR';
Mirav's response to the forum question pointed out the relevant section of the 11.10 Admin Guide: Setting up Tasks which discusses setting up and monitoring Scheduler tasks.
On the subject of the sysadmin database - John Miller's Chat with the Labs is at 9am Pacific (5pm GMT) tomorrow (Wednesday Feb 28 2007) entitled Cheetah - Expanding the Administration Free Zone. Having had a sneak preview I can say it's definitely not to be missed.[Read More]
The latest Chat with the Labs has been announced on the Informix Webcasts site. This one, entitled Cheetah - Expanding the Administration Free Zone will take place at 5PM GMT (9am Pacific) on Wednesday February 28 and will include a detailed presentation of the enhanced administration features and interfaces in Cheetah.
Hear John Miller discuss the new features of the next release of IDS that lower the total cost ofownership by providing easy, scalable administration. Features such as SQL Tracing for detailedperformance monitoring, the open Admin API for custom administration and a built in database scheduler allow for an industrial strength, highly reliable environment. John is an IBM SeniorTechnical Staff Member who will be joined on the call by Jerry Keesee, Director of the Informix Lab.[Read More]