Big data in motion
JacquesRoy 120000A2MS 1,837 Views
I arrived in Vegas Sunday mid-afternoon. Already, the activities have been going on for a day and a half. The expo floor looks good with Informix demos at multiple locations including the blade server with Informix and the theater presentation showing, at least, the clustering capabilities that include SDS, HDR, RSS, and ER.
The evening reception was in two parts: one in the expo and a second one for specific section of the Information management portfolio.
This year I decided to stay at the Luxor, next to the Mandaly Bay. You can walt from one hotel to the other without going outside. To go from my room to the registration desk takes a little over 15 minutes. On my way, I passed 3 Starbucks. I guess a lot of attendees need that to go through the long hours we'll have this week.
The other day I put out a SPL function that converts a DATETIME into a Unix timestamp (number of seconds since Jan 1, 1970). I needed this function as a compatibility function. In the blog entry, I should have called it UNIX_TIMESTAMP. It manes sense to have the reverse function that takes a timestamp and returns a datetime year to second. Here it is:
CREATE FUNCTION from_unixtime(secs int)
JacquesRoy 120000A2MS 1,796 Views
Lately I've had a lot of internal discussions about features, benefits, and qualities of Informix Dynamic Server version 11. Two characteristics tht came up were the fact that IDS can be invisible and that Informix is everywhere. Humm... everywhere and invisible... we could do a lot of jokes about that... but I don't want to be in the doG house :-)
We just closed the second quarter of 2009. A lot happened during that period: we had the Informix conference, the release of IDS 11.50.xC4, Informix Warehouse, and Storage Optimization with deep compression. Of course that does not even include IDS 11 training sessions given around the world, proof of concepts, customer discussions, many upgrades, and multiple production implementations of the latest features.
So, what do we have in store for the second half? I can't really tell you :-(.
There are two things that are pretty obvious that I can mention: IDS 11.50.xC5 will likely come out in the second half and the end of support for IDS 7.31 is September 15. That should not come as a surprise since IDS 7.31 has not been sold since September 2008. It had quite a long life (IDS 7.31. was released in 1999, last millennium!).
I'm hoping that all 7.31 customers are already working on the upgrade (you can upgrade directly from 7.31 to 11.50). Since IDS 11.50 is a superset of 7.31, that's should provide a minimum of inconvenience. Then they will be able to take advantage of all the performance improvements and all the new features that makes IDS even easier to use and manage. I really believe that people that are happy with IDS 7.31 will be impressed with all the improvements in 11.50.
People on IDS 10.0 should start thinking about moving to 11.50.
If you have any questions about going from 7.31, 9.4, or 10.0 to IDS 11, don't hesitate to contact your local IBM Informix expert.[Read More]
JacquesRoy 120000A2MS 1,789 Views
I was working on some existing PHP code that accessed a database. I ran into a problem: When using the PDO->fetchObject() method, IDS was returning the column names in uppercase. Since that translated into attribute names in the returned object that was a problem because the application expected these attribute names to be in lower case. Being new to PDO, I came up with the following clever code (sorry about the formatting, I can't figure out how to indent):
$row = $conn->fetchObject();
I was pretty proud of myself for finding about the stdClass and how to add attributes to the class dynamically.
It turns out that there is a much easier way to do it. I only had to set an attribute on the connection:
I'm sure one day I'll be glad I learned about stdClass. For now, I was reminded about reading the relevant section of the documentation...[Read More]
JacquesRoy 120000A2MS 1,781 Views
A few weeks ago, I was playing with the Change Data Capture API that became available with IDS 11.50.xC3. The API is used through a database connection using the informix user.
With this API, you can read logs and decide what to do with them. The types of records provided include:
This API opens the door to a lot of possibilities. You could monitor specific tables that contain sensitive information and generate alerts based on what appens. You could take some insert and send them to another system through the mechanism of your choice Lots of possibilities.
What about if you don't want to write a program to manipulate the logs? No problem! Take a look at the InfoSphere Change Data Capture software. You could replicate information to another system even using message queues. For more information, take a look at the following URL:
Till next time![Read More]
JacquesRoy 120000A2MS 1,779 Views
In case you missed the announcement this week, IBM announced the availability of the Informix warehouse as of March 5, 2009. Here is a quote from the announcement this morning:
From Kevin Brown, lead architect for IBM and Jim Kobielus from Forrester Research:
Take a look at the press release at: http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/26840.wss
See also the Informix Warehouse page on the ibm site:
There is so much going on!
As you surely know, we've been doing a closed beta of the next version of Informix. We have received a lot of great feedback and we keep on working on this release.
We still can't talk about it. It is just a matter of time before we can do so stay tuned.
On other fronts, I am working on a follow up to my Application development short book. I've received a lot of positive feedback on this book and I am excited about continuing on the subject. When will it be ready? I'm hoping sometime this year.
Finally, do you realize that we are barely more than a month away from the Information on Demand (IOD) conference? I hope to see you there.
JacquesRoy 120000A2MS 1,771 Views
I saw the cover of Computer world the other day with a title of "Swinging toward centralization". I'm not one to be jumping on trends but I think this idea has merit. To me, it ties into virtualization, possibly cloud computing, and also the IBM concepts of the smart planet.
Centralized IT could mean first the optimization of hardware resources. The best approach is to use virtualization so all the hardware resources can be used optimally. For example, instead of having, let say 100 computers running at 50%-70% utilization, you can centralize and use virtualization and either reduce the number of computers to around 70 or use the extra capacity for growth. This is a pretty conservative example. Just consider this quote from Computer World, April 20, 20009:
"Austin Energy: With a new virtual environment, applications run on 150 servers instead of 600"
Centralization gives you this opportunity. Note that I'm talking about centralizing the hardware resources. If you centralize processing for one large application, you'll likely need the help of advance features such as IDS Continuous availablity (CAF) and the integrated replication capabilities (HDR and ER).
Centralization does not mean that the personnel must also be centralized. Today, network access is pretty much a fact of life (I so wanted to use the word ubiquitous!). All the application and system management can be done from anywhere. For IDS, just consider the Open Admin Tool for IDS (OAT) or management tools from our partners such as AGS and CobraSonic. Managers can consider these resources as part of a "cloud".
What a nice segway to my next point
We hear a lot about cloud computing. You can buy time on some machines in the cloud. We could also mention software as a service like in the case of LotusLive (see https://www.lotuslive.com/en/) or the IBM cloud offering. This does not mean that you have to go outside to have a cloud. You could create a cloud from your centralized data center and provide capacity on-demand based on resource optimization.
When we talk about a large centralized data center, the server consolidation is only part of the savings. the saving in energy can be significant. The other day, I listened to a presentation by an IBMer that manages a large data center providing services worldwide. Here are the type of things he did:
His team installed active RFID sensors to monitor the temperature and humidity levels in different areas of his data center, including multiple locations in the racks, and at different times. With this information, he was able to clearly identify machine needs. At one point, he was able to identify that if he installed a (raised) floor tile with holes at a specific location, he could eliminate his "hot spot" without increasing his air conditioning needs. He even figured out the correlation between applications and machines heat output. So he can regulate the room temperature based on which application is running!
Talk about a great example of a smarter planet: instrumented, interconnected, intelligent (devices).
JacquesRoy 120000A2MS 1,765 Views
I was talking to an Informix partner last week. They are upgrading to IDS 11.50.
A partner going to IDS 11.50...What's the big deal? I think it is when the partner is looking at upgrading from Informix SE versions as far back as version 2! And we thought we had problems convincing customers to upgrade from IDS 7.x :-).
Their customers are happy with what they have. It took a long time to convince them that they should move to a more current version of Informix. The customers were just happy with their current systems. Talk about reliability!
Going to IDS 11.50, they are now looking at new approaches to providing reliability in a distributed environment. With shared disk secondaries (SDS), high-availability data replication (HDR), remote secondary servers (RSS), and enterprise replication (ER), they have all the flexibility they need to provide the right solution for their customers availability requirements.
Informix reliability is often taken for granted by Informix customers. Now if the people that are not using Informix could realize the benefit they could get out of IDS 11.50, we could have a database revolution on our hands: set it, forget it, and focus on running the business, not the database system.[Read More]
JacquesRoy 120000A2MS 1,760 Views
I saw some interesting comments related to my blog entries. Hope you are reading them... the main subject is object to relational mapping (OMR). I'll get back to that soon. For now, I want to continue what I was talking about
Some people are really passionate about following a strict approach. This can cause problems with such things as encapsulation that insures that the implementation of the object is opaque. Look at it a little bit as being very strict about following the highest possible normal form. My point is that you have to be careful about not offending people in their approach. Learn about their methodology before jumping into a passionate presentation of your approach: Take them from where they are to where you want them to be slowly, watching for resistance where communication could break down.
Looking back at the employee definition presented in my previous blog entry, note the following: A manager can have multiple employees working for her. This leads to a representation where a manager object includes a collection of employee objects. This also leads to implementation performance problems where because all the objects were instantiated (created) it took a long time to create the object that included the collection of object. The concept of "lazy binding" was implemented to solve this. Basically, the object in a collection is not instantiated until it is accessed.
This is another area where database specialists can start a discussion to improve the overall performance. Now that I've set the premise, I'll cover it in more details next time.[Read More]
JacquesRoy 120000A2MS 1,758 Views
If you're leaning against a wall, you have two choices to increase the distance between you and the wall. Either you push the wall away from you or you push yourself away from the wall.
Not long ago, I heard someone say that to increase performance, we should move the data to where the processing is. I did not want to get into an argument but I could have asked: What about moving the processing to where the data is?
This could be done looking back at user-defined aggregates as discussed in the previous blog entry.
So, which is the wall? Of course, the answer is: It depends. The key is to keep an open mind about where the processing should be. there could be many cases where putting the processing in the database is the right answer. Using user-defined aggregates could be the technology to use.[Read More]
JacquesRoy 120000A2MS 1,755 Views
I did not noticed a session on Wednesday. Luckily, I went to it Thursday morning. It was: "Tuning Informix in a Sandbox Environment" by Russell Glancy from GSN Digital.
Russell covered in details how a product from exactsolutions, iReplay, allows him to test new configurations, versions, and tuning in a safe environment using the same workload as his production machine. this way, he is knows exactly what will happen when he makes the changes to the production environment.
I also co-presented the session "Keeping costs low and maximizing flexibility for Jamaica using IDS" with Walt Brown, senior manager at FSL Jamaica. My role was mainly to introduce Walt and let him present his environment. Walt went into details about their environment and that they basically run all the Jamaican government systems, including tax collections that was even active and used during a hurricane.
There were several other sessions including:
A deep dive into the IBM Informix 4GL Service Oriented Architecture Feature, Gaga Mahesshwari, IBM
Dimensional modeling for IBM Informix warehouse users, Fred Ho, IBM, Sandra Tucker, IBM
Managing IDS configuration ans performance with server studio and sentinel, Keshava Murthy, IBM, Anatole Vichon, AGS Ltd
And several more... All that on the last day of the conference!
The conference is over. It is now time to go back to work.
JacquesRoy 120000A2MS 1,743 Views
I just received an email alerting me to this new article on developerworks. If you're interested in setting up SDS servers, you may want to read this article:
JacquesRoy 120000A2MS 1,721 Views
In case you are interested, This webcast is scheduled for March 12 at 11:00am EST and I will be the speaker delivering it. You can register for it at:
I hope to see you there!
Here is the description:
Developing Web-based solutions can be achieved very quickly with cost-effective and efficient open source development environments. This rapid development in combination with IBM Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) can result in robust, highly available and high performing application that are enterprise-ready.March 12: Developing Web-based Open Source applications with Informix
Date: Thursday, March 12, 2009
Current open source tools and languages in combination with Informix will be highlighted in this webcast. See how easy it is to get up and running with PHP and Ruby on Rails for your database solutions. Informix includes many highly integrated characteristics that help simplify and automate many of the tasks associated with enterprise database deployment. Examples and resources in this webcast will help you learn how to deliver Service Oriented Architecture-enabled applications for information on demand.
If you are unable to attend this event, the replay will be available within 24 hours of the live event.
The IBM developerWorks team[Read More]
JacquesRoy 120000A2MS 1,692 Views
In Arvind Krishna feature keynote titled "Reduce Your Data Management costs with Workload-optimized System", we heard about Cisco Systems. They mentioned that they chose Informix a few years ago after looking at all possibilities for embedded databases including open-source ones.
I spent some time with Walt Brown (from FSL) and Cathy Elliott to fine-tune his presentation. More on that Thursday.
There were several interesting sessions Today:
- SOA Enablement on IBM INformix 4GL, Gagin Maheshwari, IBM
- Building Data Warehouses with Infomrix, Lester Knutsen, Advanced Data Tools
- Hands on lab on end-to-end security with Informix, Ted Wasserman, IBM
- Open Admin Tool for IDS, John Miller III, IBM
- All About IDS CAF, Conection Manager, and Failover, Ron Privett, IBM
- Using Informix in Telecommunications, Kevin Brown, IBM
- Secure and available public finances with IDS continuous availability, Cesar Jiminez, Jalesco Mexico Government
And, of course, demos, discussions and food on the expo floor and in the networking event in the evening.
JacquesRoy 120000A2MS 1,683 Views
My trip to the University of Strasbourg, in a region of France called Alsace, started the usual way with a trip to the airport and a plane ride of over 10 hours.
Then it got better. Pierre Tellier who coordinated the event at the University drove from Strasbourg to Frankfurt to pick me up. He did not want me to have to wait a few additional hours for a bus. When I got out of custom and he was there waiting for me. We drove around 2 hours back to Strasbourg driving at times at 160km per hour due to traffic. On his way to Strasbourg, Pierre was able to test the maximum speed of his car. It apparently clocked at 220km per hour. Of course, he had to make way for other drivers that really took advantage of the no speed limit of the German infobahn.
Picking me up in Frankfurt is extremely nice. Doing it on mother's day in France sounds like a death wish!
We got to Strasbourg and started doing some site seeing that made me feel like I was on vacation. To top it off, Pierre invited me to his house where I met his beautiful family and had dinner. What a way to start an Informix on campus event. Pierre and Strasbourg get an A-plus in hospitality. they are setting the bar very high for any other Universities in the world that will participate in the program.
the only thing I can say is vive l'Alsace, vive Strasbourg![Read More]
JacquesRoy 120000A2MS 1,671 Views
It's hard to believe that we are already at the end of March. Seems like it should still be January. According to my blog, it still is January! I better get on with it!
Informix just came out with version 11.70.xC2. No big deal you may think. Wrong. It is a big deal! With xC2 we are making available a new edition: IBM Informix Ultimate Warehouse edition.
I'll be talking about this at the France Informix Users group next Monday. With this, queries that take hours now could take minutes. Some queries end up perfroming 100 times faster! For more information Look at:
And that's not all. We've been looking at ways to help our 4GL customers modernize their environment for years. We want customers to get more value out of their 4GL code and new application developments. the result: Informix Genero. Find out more at:
Stay tuned. The year is barely starting.
JacquesRoy 120000A2MS 1,667 Views
July 1st was the 10 year anniversary of the IBM acquisition of Informix. Since the acquisition, Informix has releases version 9.3, 9.4, 10.0, 11.10, 11.15, and 11.70. A few days ago, we releases 11.70.xC3. Other recent addition include the Informix Warehouse accelerator that introduce game changing technology for the data warehouse/data mart area. Add to that the Informix-Genero for fast application development and mobile applications.
So much has happened in these 10 years. Go take a look at Informix. Download one of the free edition and give it a try. For people that think they know Informix, go take a look at the large number of improvements we've added to it over the years. Go visit www.ibm.com/software/data/informix and find out more about what is going on. The IBM Information on Demand conference is coming up. This is the best way to learn about the latest capabilities and network with Informix partners, customers, and IBMers. The conference is held in Las Vegas October 23-27.
Now that my major deliverables are done in xC3, I'll be back regularly to talk to you about these major improvements and how many people can take advantage of them.
Ten years with IBM and going strong. There is so much more to come. Stay tuned!
JacquesRoy 120000A2MS 1,666 Views
Here's another one:
This whitepaper summarizes a comparison study in which the total cost of ownership of IBM Informix is shown to be 31+ percent less than Microsoft SQL Server. This is of great interest to mid-size businesses that face considerable challenges in their IT environments to reduce costs while gaining competitive advantage.
You can download the report here: http://ht.ly/2Ln0d
JacquesRoy 120000A2MS 1,652 Views
Second day of class in Strasbourg. It started well: I covered IDS extensibility and the students went through the lab without more serious problems than misspelling and keyboard issues.
Life was good until we got to Data Studio..
I went through the presentation quickly since all the students said they were familiar with eclipse. We then moved on to the lab. Fifteen minutes into the lab, most students were still waiting for Data Studio initialization to complete. For some, it took much longer. All that to say that the lab machines were under-configured in memory. I should have mentioned that the lab machines needed at least 1GB of memory and not only 512MB.
Despite the memory problems, most student were able to get through the lab. I suspect that it will be impossible to do the lab on web services since we also need to start WAS CE in addition to Data Studio.
We continued with a discussion on OO and databases followed by a review of web environments with more emphasis on application servers. These went quicker since, as expected, students covered the OO approach in detail during their years at the university. this was a good thing since we were behind in my original schedule.
the day ended with a presentation on WAS CE followed with the lab where they were able to see an application that runs in the application server and accesses Informix. Another decent day, now on to the last one.[Read More]