Sunday, July 11, 2010

Innovator-C Excluded Features - The Final Installment

Here is the last installment of the features that are not available with the Innovator-C free version of Informix.

No Multiple triggers and views

I'll admit it, I don't really understand what this feature is. Triggers and views are certainly available in Innovator-C, but what does it mean to disallow multiple triggers and views. Does it mean you can't have multiple Insert triggers on the same table? Probably. If so, work around this limitation by creating a stored procedure that does what you want on an Insert and create an Insert trigger that calls this procedure. I can't find anything in the Informix docs that define Multiple Triggers or Multiple Views. When I find out which feature is excluded here I'll let you know.

No Web feature service

I'm assuming this is the Web Datablade. Never had a need for it and I'm assuming people needing an Innovator-C type database won't miss it either.

No Node DataBlade

Same goes for the Node Datablade, which allows you to use the Node datatype (right?). I won't cry about this feature being left out.

No Auto-gather statistics during index build

Well, I honestly never really liked this feature anyway. There. I said it. This feature certainly has seemed to reduce the number of "Did you run update statistics" threads on C.D.I. and I guess it is a good feature for people new to Informix who don't know about statistics and the optimizer but I always hated that I couldn't disable this feature and Update Statistics manually after the index build because the Auto-gather statistics during index build is a lot slower than the manual counter part with PDQ and other things set correctly.

It does seem strange to me for IBM to remove this feature from Innovator-C. In my mind, the target audience for Innovator-C are users new to Informix and these new people probably won't know to run the proper Update Statistics. So these people trying Informix for the first time will have query optimizers operating on little to no statistics to build query plans and possibly experience poor performance. The first time Informix user won't know why their queries are running slow and they won't know that all they have to do is run some Update Stats to solve the problem.

No Point-in-time table recovery

This is a wonderful feature that has saved me from restoring full engines to test systems just to recover some data that was accidentally deleted but I'm OK with IBM leaving it out. It is kind of a power feature that isn't critical to the potential Innovator-C crowd, plus I don't think the other free database engines offer a feature like this.

Recovering lost data is still an option with Innovator-C via Level 0, 1 and 2 backups and logical log backups. Many people successfully used Informix before this feature came along in 10.0 and I this isn't a show stopper for me.

No SQL Warehouse

Never used this functionality so I can say I won't miss it in Innovator-C. It is my understanding that this is a toolset for maintaining a warehouse with Informix (ETL tools and what not). This is also something new and people managed warehouses on Informix just fine without it for many years.

No Shared Disk Secondary

Shared Disk secondaries (SDS) allow you to attach a second database engine to the disks of the Primary database engine giving you failover capabilities if the Primary server dies (as long as the disks are OK, presumably because they are on a seperate storage device and accessed via a SAN) and gives you extra computing power because you can use the SDS node to service client requests.

In my environment I don't get too excited about SDS nodes because our engine performance is I/O bound. A SDS node that brings more CPU cycles to the party doesn't do much to help me out here because both engines are hitting the same disks. I am more partial to HDR Secondary nodes or RSS nodes because each node has their own disk, not only helping me out in the I/O bottleneck department but also eliminating the disk subsystem as a single point of failure.

SDS nodes are a great feature that are beneficial in the right environment, but their lack of availability in Innovator-C should not prevent you from choosing Innovator-C as a free database solution.

So there you have it, the complete list of everything you can't use in the free Innovator-C version of Informix. At first glance the list is long, scary and overwhelming but when you really look at what has been excluded it isn't bad at all really. Would I love more features to be included for free? Yes, of course I do (PDQ and Partitioning are on the short list), but I also feel that this offerring is well above anything the competition offers for free and is more than enough to build a powerful Informix install.

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