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.
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
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.
Since I've been on a common driver kick lately, might as well keep on going...
There was a chat with the lab on Feb 25th that talked about the common Java JDBC driver (referred as the JCC driver): Top 10 reasons to consider IBM Data Server Driver for JDBC and SQLJ for IDS
You can use the JCC driver with IDS when connecting using the DRDA protocol. Some of the benefits include:
- Better integration with WebSphere
- Ability to use the capabilities PureQuery
- Better tracing and debugging
- Full IDS clustering support
- Superior performance over the Informix JDBC driver
All this is significant:
- PureQuery can increase the performance of SQL statements by analyzing the usage and make changes transparently from the application. For example, it can detect the use of the same statement with different literals and convert that under the cover into a prepared statement.
- Full IDS clustering support includes working with the connection manager to automatically and transparently connect to an alternate server when the primary fails.
- Superior performance: It provides a 5% to 10% performance boost over the Informix JDBC driver.
If you are using Java, maybe it is time to start looking into the JCC driver. You can download it from the IBM site at (10MB):
For more information on this chat with the lab:
Here's Where you can find information on this chat with the lab:
What does Groovy have to do with Informix?
For one, we can develop applications in Groovy accessing IDS since it can use the JDBC driver (or the common data server JCC driver).
Second, the Groovy community has put together an eclipse plug-in that allows you to edit, compile, and run groovy scripts and classes. According to their web site (http://groovy.codehaus.org/Eclipse+Plugin), it works with Eclipse 3.3 and 3.4 but not with 3.2.
For what I can tell, the latest version of IBM Data Studio Developer (version 2.1) is based on Eclipse 3.4.1 so it should work fine.
Third, we should be able to use Groovy to write user-defined routines. I admit, I did not try it but if you compile the Groovy code and make the Jar file that implements Groovy available either as part of the UDR or in the onconfig classpath, it should work fine.
If you want to start playing with Groovy, take a look at the following site:
Let me know how it goes...
Last Wednesday, Terri and I went from Brussels to Roosendaal (Netherland) to visit our Informix partner Informa. The first thing we saw when we arrived at their building was a 4 feet tall informix logo sign, the original blue logo.
We had a great meeting talking about the Informix roadmap and the state of the Informix business as they see it at Informa. Bertino and Rob also told us that they found two Informix customers that did not know that IBM had bought Informix!
We were back in Brussels between 5:30 and 6:00 in the evening and went out for dinner. When it came to pay, it turned out we could not use our credit cards since our cards do not include a chip. Here, in Europe, they all use smart cards.
That reminds me of the Informix conference in Chicago back, I believe, in 1997. At that conference, attendees would get a smartcard that was used for multiple purposes. One of them was that they could go to a PC, insert their card in the reader and take a conference survey. After the survey was submitted, they could go claim a T-shirt as a thank you prize. Before they could get the T-shirt, The smart card would be checked to make sure the attendee completed the survey and then mark their card with the fact that they had received their T-shirt. As it happens, I wrote the application that took care of the survey.
The survey was done through a web browser running on a windows machine (16-bit windows at the time). A smart card reader was attached to the PC. The attendee would insert their smartcard in the reader and invoke the survey URL. This request would execute a program on the server that would call back the PC using the PC internat address and a pre-defined port number to read the smart card and fill out the basic information on the form such as name and address. Once the survey was submitted, the application would again access the smartcard to turn on the indicator that said that the survey had been completed.
I'm sure that the capacity of smart cards has greatly increased over the last 10 years or so. A lot could be stored on those. We could store a biometric key as password (fingerprint) and all sort of personal information such as medical records and medical activities, including prescriptions. With this always up-to-date record, it could reduce risks of errors, drug abuse, and so on. The update could be done to the smartcard at the point of service and also sent to a national database through, let say, web services.
IDS can handle millions of transactions per second. It has a proven track record of reliability and scalability and is used to stringent response time requirements. Fro example, IDS is able to handle the employee badge of IBM employees worldwide to give them access to different areas of IBM. IDS also handles large streams of financial information and makes them available for analysis almost instanteneously. Handling the medical record updates would be no problem since we can easily scale out through the distribution of the data over multiple machines either through the continuous availability feature (shared disks). In the medical record case, I would likely look at Enterprise Replication (ER) as my first enabling feature.
All that to say that smart card may be worth another look. The use of smart card with IDS could open the door to many new capabilities in all sort of emerging market and new application.
I am currently in Belgium, Brussels with Terri Gerber. Last Tuesday, we had a successful meeting with an Informix customer. After the meeting, in late afternoon, Patrick Billens took us around to show us the sites of Brussels including among other things the royal palace and the "grande place". Little did I know that soon, Terri would almost cause an international incident with the digital equipment she was carrying.
It happened soon after we saw the king's working palace. The flag at the top of the palace indicated that the king was currently there working. We turned the corner after the palace and Patrick pointed to another building with an American Flag in front of it. Terri took out her digital camera and quickly took a picture. Within seconds, two Belgium police officer were in hot pursuit and quickly caught up with us. Before all h**l broke loose, Patrick intervened, avoiding the worse. I could only imagine what could have happened: Two officers tackling the red-jacket wearing culprit followed by a struggle to get to the digital camera.
Terri did not surrender her camera. Instead, she wrestled with its ease of use and deleted the offending picture in front of the officers. Satisfied with the action taken, we were free to go on our way.
At this time, Terri is on her way back home to Massachusett. Is the picture really deleted? I'm sure it would be possible to un-delete it. Hopefully this won't be a concern for the department of homeland security. If that becomes an issue, I'm sure Terri would be willing to share information with homeland security on how much Informix could help them make the country safer.
Once again, another full day. There were Informix sessions on embeddability, virtualization/cloud computing, security, and zero-downtime upgrade. We also heard a great presentation on database tuning from Rick Rabe and Tom Girsch from Hilton Hotels.
Great sessions altogether. Now on to Thursday.
I just finished the first day of class at the university of Strasbourg. Almost everything went well.
There are 20 students in the class in addition to Pierre Tellier. The class could accommodate 26 people so a total of 21 makes it look quite full. We started the day with an introduction presentation that includes, among other things, the class objectives, an agenda with tentative timing, some background on databases, and a description of the lab environment. Thiswas followed by a presentation discussion consideration on performance as it relates to hardware, operating systems, and databases. In the afternoon, we went through an introduction to IDS which led to our first lab.
After spending an hour telling them how great IDS is and how easy it is to use, the first thing I saw in the lab was that IDS would not come up! It turns out I hardcoded an IP address for the host address that worked fine on my laptop but when executed on the lab machines, the address was wrong. After struggling through finding the character positions on a French keyboard (think '|', '/', '$', etc.) I figured out the problem, provided the solution to the class and the lab continued without problems. I made sure to explain that the problem was a network address, not IDS!
We finished the day with a partial presentation on database extensibility that will continue Tuesday morning.
the students seemed to enjoy the content and the delivery of the presentations and Pierre was happy with it. I'd say that the first day was a success, two days to go. Let's see what happens...
Another year, another conference. It has been so busy that I have not had the time to write a short blog entry for each day. Here is my quick update.< /p>
It all started Saturday morning with the business partner council and the customer advisory council on Saturday. I attended the customer advisory council and I found it interesting and full of good discussions.
The conference was kicked off with an opening reception on Sunday night and we were off to the race. There were eight Informix sessions on Monday including presentations on how IBM helps Cisco, open source, hands on lab on high-availability, another one on the new features of Informix 11.70, bests practices for virtual environments, and performance enhancements. Of course, the most popular session was from Jerry Keesee titled: "Informix at IBM: The next decade".
The day ended with an Informix reception at the Mandalay Bay beach casino for an Informix 11.70 launch celebration and to start looking forward to the next decade of Informix at IBM.
Tuesday started early with an Informix "eat and meet" breakfast at 7:00am, followed by nine Informix sessions throughout the day. The sessions covered areas such as upgrade, new features, Informix warehouse, application development, 4GL, embeddability, flexible grid, and more. It was also interesting to hear about how Informix is used to run a steel plant.
The day ended with a beach party reception. Now it is on the Wednesday with another full agenda.
Just a quick note to say that I'll resume blogging soon.
I've had some medical issues that took me out for over a month but I'm coming back.
Great things are hppening with Informix. Stay tuned!
If you've been following my blog over the last few years, you can notice a few things lately:
I have not blogged in a few months
My blog's name has changed
The significant part is really the name change. It went from "Informix and Computing" to "Big data in motion".
Let me first address the Informix part. Yes, I am still involved with Informix activities. In fact, I am currently working on a proof-of-concept for Informix TimeSeries that involves technologies such as Java, kafka, zookeeper, fastjson, messagePack, and more. So, Informix continues to be involved in "Big Data" and its use with other current technologies.
Will I continue to talk about Informix? Probably. It all depends if I believe I have something interesting to say on the subject. As long as I have activities with Informix I have opportunities to find interesting information.
Now. What about "Big data in motion"?
A while back I decided to go back to my old team: Worldwide Technical Sales and Enablement.
My main focus is now on InfoSphere Streams. This has already been an interesting ride. I've worked on multiple projects that include putting together an extensive training session, work on PoCs, writing DeveloperWorks articles, and more. I've even put together a DeveloperWorks wiki that centralizes all sort of resources related to InfoSphere Streams. I called it the InfoSphere Streams Playbook.
InfoSphere Streams is part of an overall "Big Data" architecture. There are many ties between Streams and the BigInsights platform and any other technologies that help getting big data under control. Yes, that includes Informix. It also includes many other technologies.
My focus may be mainly on "in-motion" data but the entire "Big Data" solution stack eventually interacts with it. That explains the new blog title.
As usual, I want to continue "casting a large net" so I can be free to talk about anything I find interesting.
So, drop me line, post comments. Let's continue a dialog that will help everyone (including me) learn new things and continue to have fun with our technological challenges.
Please see the following story Trafficmaster and IBM Develop Solution for Smarter Driving to learn more about how Informix makes life easier for drivers in the UK. Here's a quote form the article:
"Trafficmaster is able to provide drivers with real-time route planning and more accurate estimated arrival times than ever before with the help of the IBM Informix data base technology," said Stuart Berman, Executive Director, Trafficmaster.
There is now a new resource for Streams: https://www.ibmdw.net/streamsdev/
The Streamsdev site includes articles, blog entries, videos, and intro labs. You can also get to the download the latest quickstart edition of Streams from there. This way, you can download either the product or a vmware image with it and do the lab at your leisure.
This site is put together by developers for developers. Still, if you are new to InfoSphere Streams, you can find something there for you too. Just go to the getting started section under "Docs".
Since the IBM Information on Demand (IOD) conference starts this weekend, you can also find information on the activities (labs, presentation) on Streams during the conference. You can see the next few acticities on the mainpage or a more complete calendar under events.
This site is evolving. You should go look at it at least once a week to see what's new.
Hopefully many of you are going to the IOD conference next week. Enjoy the conference and learn a lot!
I was reading recently that scripting languages are becoming more and more popular. One of the benefits listed was that it can increase productivity significantly. That brings me back a long time when I used to argue that you could write a solution in APL so much faster than any of the traditional languages...
PHP is a popular scripting language that is used to create web solutions. Here are some information if you want or need to use it with IDS.
To use IDS with PHP, you need to add the PDO_INFORMIX interface to it. tis interface can be found in PECL:
The current version is 1.2.0 and came out in March 2008. You will to use the appropriate Informix CSDK to compile it for your platform.
Note that there is another PHP driver available for IDS 11: PDO_IBM. It is available from IBM in the IBM Data Server Client as a pre-built component. See:
If you want to get going quickly, you can find Apache-PHP-PDO_INFORMIX ready to go with the Open Admin Tool for IDS (OAT). This product is available for IDS 11. You can find it at:
You can also use the package from Zend: Zend Core for IBM at:
If you want to build the environment yourself, here are two articles that can help you figure out the process:A step-by-step how-to guide to install, configure, and test a Linux, Apache, Informix and PHP serverA step-by-step how-to guide to install, configure, and test a Windows, Apache, Informix and PHP server
With this information, you should be able to get started quickly
Another day at IOD.
I did not mention Jerry Keesee's roadmap presentation from yesterday. Praising his presentation seems too self serving :-)
Today, I attended a presentation from a company called Finish Line. They manage 700 stores. Their IDS installation includes 5 servers, 8 instances, 28 databases with a total of 2TB of data. They use 4GL for their backend processing and use SOA to provide a single view of the business environment. One of the benefits of using SOA is that they can keep track of all inventory in all stores and, if needed ship merchandise from one store to a customer. This effectively gives them the capability of 700 distribution center.
They keep looking for ways to make their environment better. IDS is the cornerstone of this strategy.
The presentation started with the top 10 things that their one DBA does:10. Yawn9. Surf the web
Another party in the evening... nights are short...
Another full day.
It started at 7:00 with a breakfast meeting and was followed by a conference call.
I then went to the conference bookstore for a book signing activity and moved on to a customer lunch.
As I mentioned in other blog entries, my new book is now out, at least at the conference:
"The Power of Now: Real-Time Analytics and IBM InfoSphere Streams"
My afternoon was taken by a Streams and text analytics lab.
I went back to the conference floor and had interesting conversations with many technical people
from different world regions. The conference sure provides great opportunities.
I'll be able to catch up on some Streams sessions Tomorrow. I can't wait to hear about some customer/partners stories
Also, I heard through the grapevine that there my be a big announcement at the general session.
I'll make sure not to miss that either.
IOD 2008 is now over. as I mentioned in my blog during the conference, there was a lot of interesting content. And that was just in the Informix track. Many other sessions in other tracks are relevant to Informix since we can use Informix with the other Information management products. Now, if I only had the time to go over all the sessions to see what's interesting...
Overall, this was a great conference to attend for the sessions and for the interactions with customers, partners, and IBMers.
The next MUST ATTEND event for me is the 2009 IIUG Informix Conference, April 26-29 in overland Park, Kansas, USA. By then I am sure we'll have a lot of interesting news to discuss!
I was reading the hibernate documentation the other day. I came across the following statements in chapter 11:
". . .you most likely should consider a Stored Procedure if you need mass data operations"
That makes the case for my previous blog entries. In our case, we should also consider user-defined functions and user-defined aggregates. Let's talk about stored procedure for a bit.
Over the years, I've seen sites where they had basically multiple copied of the same stored procedure. the only difference between the different copied was a variation on a specific SQL statement. With IDS 11.50, we now support dynamic SQL in stored procedures. This is a good time to take a look at these stored procedures and see if you could eliminate some redundancy. One benefit is that if you have to change the processing in the future, you'll have to modify only one procedure as opposed to multiple ones.
Of course, I would also look at the possibility of using user-defined functions or user-defined aggregates as illustrated in another blog entry. Let me know what you find out.