The New Informix
In March, I found myself in "Dear ole Blighty" - yes - England. I was on a visit with Informix customers and partners in London/Leeds sharing the Informix roadmap. Stability, availability and OLTP performance stood out as "core" for operations. No surprise there. To give you an idea of the data rates/volumes that some of these customers need to deal with, how about 2500 transactions per minute online (a transaction could range from a few SQL statements to several hundred) or 12,000 transactions per minute from retail shops during peak season. Disaster recovery was key to some of these customers and they readily took advantage of the Remote Standalone Secondary (RSS) capability to provide geographically dispersed DR. Understanding and knowing that Informix will continue to invest in these strengths as part of the roadmap was very important to these customers. Further, as most of these customers are trying to design better analytics and insights and become more "customer-focused" as opposed to being purely "transaction-focused", they highly appreciated the Informix Warehouse Accelerator and the technology behind it.
Informix Product Manager
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YES - I have been slow with my updates. Call me a slacker, but better late than never. My travels have taken me eastward in the last two months. My first trip was on an Informix event for customers and partners in Mumbai, India. We held a "unique" one of a kind one-day event for our Informix loyalists in India. This was our opportunity to present some of the key new Informix capabilities in 11.70 and especially gave me the opportunity to shed some more light on IWA or the Informix Warehouse Accelerator. The event was well attended and you can find all the details at the Informix India facebook page https://www.facebook.com/informixindia
Already knowing that Informix customers are Informix fans, it still pleasantly surprises me to see how passionate the Informix customers are about Informix. In a country where bottom line savings, reliability needs and low cost of ownership take on a whole new meaning, it's easy to see how Informix stands out with this user base.
I also got reprimanded for not blogging enough by one our loyalists (you know who you are :-)).
One of the goals out of this meeting was to kick-off a local user group in the region and I am happy to say that with the help of Stuart Litel our IIUG president, we have found a couple of our customer/partner representatives who have agreed to lead this important agenda for us. Stayed tuned to hear more about that from Louis Cherian. Additionally we know have regularly scheduled "Chat with the Lab" events that provide deeper insights from the lab on many of the Informix features.
For details of Informix things happening in India, be sure to bookmark the following pages:
Informix Product Manager
If you are looking to understand , read more about or trying to decide on choosing a warehouse technology that is right for you, this article on DBTA by Roger Gaskell should make an interesting read:
rnair 120000QPR1 Tags:  warehouse exadata in-memory analytics data mart informix sybase teradata 2,420 Views
Today, we announced the Informix Growth Warehouse Edition along with some pricing updates on the Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition. The announcements can be found here:
Built around the same Informix Warehouse Accelerator technology available with the The Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition, the Informix Growth Warehouse offering brings the same performance and capabilities to the mid-market. The Growth Warehouse can be put on a machine that has upto 16 cores and 48 GB of RAM allowing customers the potential to accelerate data mart sizes up to 250 GB or sometimes a little more, depending on the compression obtained.
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A few weeks ago we delivered Informix 11.70xC3. Along with some other enhancements, there are three things I want to bring to your attention around the Informix Warehouse Accelerator component of the Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition:
1) A Smart Mart Tool that can be used to generate data mart definitions from workload analysis
2) Multi-cultural support (IWA support for different locales)
3) the Informix Ultimate Warehouse Time-Limited Version for Evaluation (not really a 11.70xC3 enhancement )
The Smart Mart tool can significantly help reduce the efforts to designing a data mart for deployment with the Informix Warehouse Accelerator. This is really valuable when you are unfamiliar with the database schema or there are a large number of tables. The first step to generating a data mart definition is workload analysis. Workload analysis consists of "Query Probing" where information is gathered about the query workload. Based on the analysis of the probing data and database schema, the probing data can be converted into a data mart definition(probe2mart stored procedure). This definition is in the form of relation tables and can be used to generate the data mart definition as xml (genmartdef() ). This xml file can be imported using the ISAO studio administration interface.
The Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition time-limited evaluation now allows you to conveniently try out and experience the extreme performance gains at your convenience. The download can be found here
rnair 120000QPR1 Tags:  in-memory warehouse mixed analytics edition in memory data informix ultimate workloads mart 1 Comment 4,081 Views
Fred Ho and Lester Knutsen talked about the Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition on a very well attended web cast organized by InformationWeek. There were a lot of questions that Fred has documented as Q&A at this blog which can be found here
rnair 120000QPR1 Tags:  in analytics time informix real warehouse questions data mart asked memory frequently 1 Comment 4,016 Views
Ok well, I tried. Over the last week we seemed to have skipped Spring altogether in the "Heartland of America" and taken a short cut to summer PLUS, more to the point of the blog, I have been on some calls with our business partners and a couple of customers over our new offering - the Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition. As a result, I have compiled a set of "generally asked" questions that I thought are worthwhile sharing with you. Here they are:
Q. How does this new Informix warehouse offering announcement impact existing entitlements and contracts?
The IBM Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition is a new edition in the Informix family. It has no impact on existing entitlements and contracts. This edition is not a replacement offering for any existing offerings or editions.
Q. What does this new edition offer those who have the Informix Ultimate Edition?
The Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition offers additional value over the Informix Ultimate Edition. This new offering is composed of 3 key software components: a) Accelerator-ready Informix Ultimate Edition, b) Informix Warehouse Accelerator and c) Informix Compression. This edition offers customers significant performance improvements and allows customers to optimize performance in a mixed workload environment. The Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition is available as a trade-up to existing Ultimate Edition customers.
Q. I have a warehouse currently on Informix Ultimate. How do I obtain this new edition? Is this available on all platforms?
Customers on Ultimate Edition have a trade-up option to obtain Ultimate Warehouse Edition for their current PVU entitlements. This Edition is available on the following platforms: Sun Sol 64 bit, AIX 64 bit, Linux 64 bit, HP-UX 64 bit, however please note that the Informix Warehouse Accelerator needs to run on Intel Linux 64-bit.
Q. If I have Growth Edition, can I trade-up to Ultimate Warehouse Edition?
Customers on Growth Edition would need to trade-up to Ultimate Edition. If customers have extreme performance requirements for their warehouse that are not met by Informix Ultimate Edition, customers can trade-up to the Ultimate Warehouse Edition.
Q. Why is this a new edition and not a new feature option?
Based on our new strategy around pricing and packaging (announced May 2010), which was based on feedback from our user and partner community, we have moved away from adding new feature options to the Ultimate editions for the server. Further, the warehouse offering really is a combination of Accelerator-ready Informix Ultimate(which is required for the Informix Accelerator to work), the Informix Warehouse Accelerator itself and the set of tools to configure and deploy.
Q. What is the sweet spot for this offering?
This is targeted towards the Informix install base. Additionally, the following is defined as the sweet spot for Informix Ultimate Warehouse:
a) Up to 5 TB data mart requiring acceleration
b) Data warehouses with Star Schema design
c) Requirement to support mixed
OLTP/OLAP workloads and high concurrency on the same system
Q. I currently have Informix Ultimate Edition on one of the supported platforms other than Linux. What does a trade-up provide me with?
The trade-up gives customers additional value at a nominal price. For the price of the trade-up, customers get entitlements to an accelerator-ready version of Informix Ultimate and Informix storage optimization feature that they can immediately deploy to their existing environment plus entitlements to the Informix Warehouse Accelerator. The warehouse accelerator needs additional processing power as well as memory and customers would typically need to purchase additional cores to deploy the accelerator component.
Q. What BI tools does this offering support?
Popular vendor tools such as IBM Cognos, Microstrategy, Business Objects all work with Informix and have been deployed by several Informix customers.
Q. Will SAP/Peoplesoft work with this offering?
Customers have to ensure that the versions of SAP and Peoplesoft in question have been
certified with Informix 11.70xC2. Secondly, customers will need to be given access to the schema and data maintained by SAP/PeopleSoft in order to define the data mart for acceleration with the Informix Warehouse Accelerator component.
Q. Will these new editions be eligible for sub-capacity licensing?
Yes. All for-purchase
Informix software is eligible for sub-capacity licensing.
Q. What metric is the Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition available on?
Processor Value Unit (PVU)
Q. How are my PVU entitlements counted for when I install the different components on different systems?
Customer has to acquire PVUs to cover processor cores for all systems on which the resources managed by the program reside. For instance, if the customer plans to deploy the Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition on an HP itanium system, they may do so, and would deploy the Informix Warehouse Accelerator on a Linux-Intel system. The customer then configures the required data marts from the warehouse for deployment with Informix Warehouse Accelerator. Those data marts reside on IWA for processing. If the HP system is 4 cores and the Linux Intel system is 12 cores, the customer acquires PVU entitlements for 16 cores.
Q. What if I still have questions?
There is an e-mail alias where you may send questions and get answers from the most appropriate IBM resources: askIFMX@us.ibm.com#informix
rnair 120000QPR1 Tags:  in-memory ultimate warehouse intelligence columnar informix business analytics bi 4,782 Views
This is the sign hanging on data warehouses today: "Wanted: Technology for Extreme Performance ".
Introducing the Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition for our Informix customers - you can read the official announcements here:
So what's all the excitement about ? The IBM Informix Ultimate Warehouse offering is all about bringing extreme performance enhancements to Informix warehouse workloads using breakthrough warehouse acceleration technology. Yup I know that is a mouthful. But hold your questions right there!
First let me delve into the packaged contents of this offering before we get into the details. The offering is basically a brand new edition that consists of :
Here is how it all works in a nutshell :
Your warehouse continues to be managed by #Informix and your BI queries continue to run against Informix. When a query is run against a data mart that is configured for acceleration, the Informix optimizer ships off that query to the accelerator and returns the results from the accelerator back to the BI application. The following graphic attempts to illustrate this:
The Informix Ultimate Edition is supported on 64-bit versions of the following OSes: AIX, Sol, HP-UX and Linux:
The IWA component is supported on the following platforms:
To learn more about the Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition visit the Informix Warehouse page or attend the various Discover Informix and IIUG events coming your way or look for other blogs from various Informix experts. Don't forget to register for and attend the IIUG Conference in May 2011.
To leave with a final thought, here's my favorite one for your warehousing environment : Take "NO" for an answer !!!!
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Check out the press release and some great quotes from some of our customers and partners.
It's here !!!!
Here is the US announcement
Here is the Canada announcement
Here is the EMEA announcement
Here is the AP announcement
Here is the LA announcement
True to it's heritage, Informix continues to build on it's key differentiating capabilities that Informix customers and partners, known more widely as "Informix fans" have come to love. You can read more about the different features across the editions at http://www.informix.com
So what's new with Informix v11.7? Let me provide a very brief intro here.
Informix Flexible Grid : Informix now offers a very easy way to do something truly powerful - deploy Informix engines in a grid environment. With grid based replication enhancements, you can now:
Best-of-Breed Embedability enhancements that gets more autonomics: Again, this continues to enhance one of the core strengths of Informix, mainly the ability to embed Informix easily. Over the last few years, especially starting Informix v11.10, a lot of focus went into autonomics - self configuring, self-healing, self-optimizing and self-protecting characteristics. So what did we do more?
Security: Security remains a top business priority for Informix customers. With that in mind, Informix v11.70 offers:
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The foot traffic was slower today. However one of the key sponsored sessions today was the IBM session - "Optimizing Infrastructure - Decisions that impact hardware, software and management costs". This was basically a panel made up of two industry experts : Derek Wise, Technical Director, CCP and Rick Lambright, previously Chief Architect of Gazillion Entertainment and currently CTO and Co-founder of Motiga. The session was kicked off by Lisa Johnston, Director, IM Marketing programs, IBM.
The panel was moderated by George Dolbier, CTO, Interactive Media at IBM. This was a very insightful session and was well attended. It was obvious very soon that there were some serious challenges on the infrastructure for games. The session meandered through several topics - biggest hidden costs, provisioning challenges , game design, data driven programming, performance and latency.
My own personal observation is that the amount of data generated and the usage of this data for analytics has definitely been on the rise in this industry. Database scalability and high availability were other topics that were discussed. Overall it did seem that the decision around database selection is still more on the tactical side , than strategic. However, all indications are that over time that is slowly changing. Here are some pictures from the session today(from left to right: George Dolbier (standing) and Derek Wise, Derek Wise and Rick Lambright, Rick Lambright
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The Expo to the Austin Game Developer Conference opened today. Again as I mentioned before, this conference is somewhat unprecedented for Informix in that the sole IBM product focus for this conference is Informix !
And in fact our day at the booth was pretty busy, lots of booth visitors and questions on Informix. Here's my personal summary of day 1 at the expo booth:
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The Game Developers Conference kicks off on October 5th 2010 in Austin, at the Austin Convention Center. This year IBM , more than anyhas other year, IBM has put some significant $$ into this event and it's all specifically for - yes you guessed it - Informix!
IBM will have a booth that will be running Informix demos, a sponsored coffee session break and a sponsored session on Optimizing Game Infrastructure. This session will be a panel of couple of experts from the industry - current and former CTOs and moderated by George Dolbier from IBM. These experts will talk about the crucial role that databases play as part of optimizing game infrastructure and some of the market leading and differentiating capabilities of Informix. If you will be at this conference, don't miss out on this session! If you know of anyone in the industry attending this conference, do encourage them to attend this session.
We now have two published documents on Informix that talk about the positive impact of Informix in terms of the return on investment that companies can realize by deploying Informix. One of them is a Forrester paper titled "The Total Economic Impact™ Of IBM Informix Database Server" and can be found at this link It is an analysis of a 3 year investment cost vs benefit and validates what many of our Informix customers believe about and realize from Informix : "Less is More" - less admin requirements, less overall support costs, less impact during planned/unplanned downtime. It is based on the database server deployment infrastructure of a very large global retailer who have other database vendor products deployed and still sought to expand their footprint on Informix.
I encourage you to read this and present this data to your IT managers and/or other decision makers.
The other is actually a comparison of Informix vs Microsoft SQL Server done by ITG and the link can be found here.
n an earlier blog on what is now a non-existent edition - the Ultimate-C and which has now been replaced by Choice Edition, I did some comparison already on some of the capabilities of SQL Server vs Informix with some examples. This study is also based on a three year scenario surveying several midsize organizations in North America and Europe. Some of the findings include : on an average 63% lower personnel costs deploying Informix vs SQL Server, comparing Informix Growth vs MSFT SQL Server Standard Edition for installations with 65 to 200 users, overall cost of Informix was 42% less than SQL Server, while for larger installations comparing Informix Ultimate with MSFT SQL Server Enterprise, overall cost of Informix was 31% less than SQL Server. These are substantial savings! Again I encourage you to read this and present this data to your IT managers and/or other decision makers.
I am reposting this - there were some formatting issues with the last post !
Q. When are the new Informix pricing and packaging changes effective and what version?
A. The new changes are effective May 25, 2010. The version is 11.50xc7.
Q. How does this new Informix pricing and packaging announcements impact my existing entitlements and contracts?
A. Customers entitlements will be automatically migrated to equivalent new entitlements, see next few questions.
Q. Where I can find information about the new products, what they include and what they are replacing?
A. All customers should have received a “customer entitlement migration letter”. This letter is intended to show exactly how license entitlements will be migrated.
Q. How do the new entitlements map to what I have today?
A. Customers will be migrated to the new and equivalent license entitlements on 5/25/2010:
Workgroup -> Growth ; Enterprise -> Ultimate. For customers who are on Workgroup for Windows or Mac OS, see customer entitlement migration letter for additional details.
Q. Will my entitlements be automatically migrated?
A. Yes. For customers who are on Workgroup for Windows, instructions on how to move to a new edition has been provided in the letter to the customer.
Q. Will all existing part numbers be replaced by new part numbers?
A. Yes, except Informix Express.
Q. I currently have Informix Workgroup on Windows. It looks like this product is now free. Does my Workgroup edition get automatically entitled to Ultimate-C? If not, why can’t I simply move to that?
A. The Workgoup Edition on Windows and the Ultimate-C are not exactly the same in terms of functionality. There are differences. There is no automatic entitlement to a no-charge product. Any customer may use the free Ultimate-C Edition on Windows. Customers will still retain their entitlement on the new Growth Edition regardless of which OS platform they are using. License entitlements are perpetual. Customers have the rights to retain their license entitlements.
Q. I currently have entitlements on Transaction Processing Gold Bundle. What happens to my entitlement?
A. Customers who have license entitlements on the Transaction Processing Gold Bundles will have to manually unbundle. They may elect to unbundle to the new Informix edition. When they pay for Subscription and Support (S&S) on the new Informix edition, they will be able to receive Informix software on V11.x and later.
Q. If I choose to remain of an earlier fixpack or release from Informix V11.50xC7, what does it mean to me?
A. Customers can remain on any version they choose. The new license entitlement allows them to remain on older Informix releases and fixpacks. However, in order to take advantage of the higher value functionality in the new Informix editions, customers must be on Informix V11.50xC7 or later.
Q. Which Informix version is the new pricing and higher value functionality available on?
A. Informix version 11.50xc7 and later.
Q. Where can I find information on the new pricing ?
A. IBM does not publish pricing when announcing new offerings. Pricing varies by country and additionally can depend on other factors. To get specific pricing information, customers should contact their IBM representative.
Q. I bought feature options just before this announce came out. How will this pricing and packaging impact my purchase? Can I have my money back?
A. IBM does not offer refunds. But your IBM sales representative has some valuable options that she or he can discuss with you. Contact your IBM sales representative.
Q. What are the requirements for optional support when using Innovator-C or Ultimate-C for HDR or in a cluster? Can I purchase optional support only for the primary?
A. Optional Support is on a “per Install” basis and is valid for only one install of the product. Customers cannot just buy optional support on the primary. They will be required to buy support on all the nodes/deployments that they want support on.
Q. Why are you including previous feature options into the new Ultimate Edition?
A. To simplify pricing, but more importantly, give customers more value to use the industry leading technologies from Informix without additional costs.
Q. If I bought the Continuous Availability Feature but I am still on V11.50xC6 (or earlier), do I still have to pay renewal on this feature?
A. No. This feature and part number has been withdrawn. Customers will not have to pay renewal on features that have been withdrawn from marketing, regardless of the version and fixpack they are running on.
Q. Can the free versions be deployed in production?
Yes for Innovator-C and Ultimate-C. However redistribution of the product as part of an OEM/ASL model, requires a license from IBM.
Q. I have Express Edition. What happens to my entitlement?
A. No change. You can remain on it. If you decide to move to the new Innovator-C Edition, which has high-availability functionality and allow up to 1 socket or 4 cores, you can still get software support with the Selected Support offering for Innovator-C Edition. Contact your IBM sales representative to discuss the best option for you.
Q. Why do you still have the Developer Edition and time-limited Ultimate Edition with the free offerings ?
A. The Developer Edition has full functionality that is not available in the Innovator-C and Ultimate-C Editions. It is still suitable for customers and partners who wish to use Informix full functionality. Note that Developer Edition has limited scalability, and it is for development and test use only. The time-limited Ultimate Edition has both full functionality and scalability, but it is available for evaluation only up to 90 days.
Q. What are the charges for different HA standby modes?
A. The HA warm standby mode charge has changed for HDR, RSS, and CLR. Informix no longer charges for warm/idle standby mode. However, the hot standby mode charge remains unchanged. Customers have to pay full Informix license, based on Informix usage, for each hot standby secondary. We no longer require the same charge metric on the secondary as the primary. Customers pay the appropriate charge metric based on usage for each hot standby node. Cold standby remains at no charge.
Q. Will there be any limitations to the numbers of free downloads? Ie: Can I download one free copy, then just copy it to 10,000 different machines?
A. No limitations will be put on number of downloads. However, you require a license from IBM if you plan to re-distribute as part of your solution.
Q. What keeps me from buying just one support license agreement for one server instance and make support calls on the other 3000 downloads they did?
A. Customers should not purposely abuse their support, just like they cannot do that today on 1 license for 3000 instances. This will be picked up in IBM compliance audits.
Q. What is the difference between IDS and Informix? Why is everything called Informix now?
A. In terms of marketing, messaging and awareness, the name “Informix” has a much better branding recognition, connotation, association and appeal. For instance, “IDS” as a product name is not at all search engine friendly and does not return any top hits relating to Informix. Secondly, existing customers have always referred to and continue to refer to the product as Informix.
Q. How do I use the new limits for Growth Edition? How will sub-capacity work?
A. The resource limits for Growth Edition are 4 sockets or 16 cores and 16 GB of memory for the Informix instance (Shared Memory Total). This is across all charge metrics. IBM sub-capacity rules apply as they were for the IDS Workgroup Edition. In terms of sub-capacity, for LU Socket metric, the machine cannot have physically more than 4 sockets. On LU Socket, customers can utilize sub-capacity on 1-3 sockets. For all other charge metrics, customers can utilize sub-capacity up to 16 virtual CPUs and 16 GB on a machine of any size.
Q. What does it mean in terms of upgrading? If I am on an earlier version and upgrade to 11.50xc7, what happens, does it change what I can use?
A. Usage of product depends on the entitlement a customer has. Check the customer entitlement migration letter to find your new entitlement. As an example if you currently have Enterprise Edition and have not purchased feature options, you are now entitled to the Ultimate Edition and entitled to use features that are part of the Ultimate Edition such as CAF. Similarly if you are entitled to the Growth Edition, you will be entitled to use a 3 node cluster with a primary and 2 of any type of secondary servers.
Q. How does the Selected Support or Elite Software support work? What do I really get out of it?
A. It is optional software support, renewable annually. Customers will get unlimited technical contacts, support for software fixes on the most recent 2 fixpacks. See Informix Support portal for more details at www.ibm.com/informix/support . Note there is no subscription with Selected Support offering, since customers are free to download new Informix software.
Q. What do I get with Selected Support at Elite level compared to regular S&S?
A. Under IBM Elite Support for IBM Informix Innovator-C and Ultimate-C Editions, customers will be entitled to:
· Cross-platform software technical support—around the clock and around the world
· Online technical support including enhanced self-help and search capabilities
· Voice support for new deployments, migration, and code-related questions
· Fast problem resolution by phone for all “Severity 1” situations—24 hours a day, seven days a week—you decide which issues to classify as 'Severity 1'
· Special Builds will be delivered on the latest release and one release lower only.
Q. Will there be different level of support packages offered?
A. No. Selected Support on Elite Level only.
Q. Can I run multiple instances on my free edition ? Does each instance have the limit of 4 cores and 2 GB memory ?
A. Yes customers can have multiple instances within the same install. However, the resource limits are per install and therefore will be shared across the instances.
Q. Will these new editions be eligible for sub-capacity?
A. Yes. All for purchase Informix software is eligible for sub-capacity.
Q. What is an Install, versus server or computer?
A. An Install is a copy of the Informix software that is installed on a server/computer or on a virtual server or logical partition.
Q. Does memory limit apply to the physical memory or Informix Install memory?
A. Memory limit applies to an Informix Install. For example, if a computer machine has 32GB memory, and customer is only using up to 16GB of total shared memory (SHMTOTAL) across all instances for this Install, then customer is eligible for the Growth Edition, subject to socket and functionality limits.
Q. What is the new metric Authorized User Single Install ?
A. Fundamentally, each specific individual must be licensed for each Install he/she is using.
Q. Do I still need to use the same charge metric on the hot standby secondary as I do on the primary server? What about the SDS/CAF cluster?
A. For HDR and RSS secondary nodes, it is no longer required to be on the same charge metric as the primary. Customers may purchase full use Informix licenses on each secondary based on available charge metrics for the edition. For the Shared Disk Secondary (SDS, aka CAF) cluster, it is highly recommended that all nodes in the cluster are the same charge metric, as the work can be more dynamic and load balanced across nodes. The cluster is treated as a virtual server view. It will be extremely difficult to track usage on different charge metrics over time on each node.
Q. Is there an e-mail alias where I can send my general questions to?