Friday, August 20, 2010

Free Discover Informix Event - North America

I just heard about a free Informix event in San Jose, CA. If you're in the area, register for the event and hear from Steve Shoaf, Worldwide Sales Manager, Informix, Jerry Keesee, Director, Informix Database Development and Craig Humphreys, Vice President, Technical Services. After the talky talky there will be lunch and a complimentary Tech Museum tour.

Discover the New Face of Informix

When: September 16, 2010 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Where: The Tech Museum, San Jose, CA

Participants will:
  • Learn how to achieve faster time to value for data analysis and reporting with Informix Warehouse
  • Find out how Informix is the ideal platform for applications that require embedded data management
  • Get an up-close look at the capabilities that set Informix apart, including exceptional performance, high availability, easy administration and the ability to scale on demand to meet your changing business needs
  • Hear IBM's Informix product strategy and roadmap
  • Meet your industry peers, Business Partners and Informix experts
  • Take the opportunity to have your questions answered
  • Network with other forward-thinking IT leader
 Register for this event today!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Discover hassle-free data management with IBM Informix

Not sure if this is old news or not but Infoworld is hosting an ebook sponsored by IBM about Informix, the overview goes a little something like this:

"Today, unprecedented data volumes and shrinking budgets are stretching IT departments to their limits. Now, leading businesses are discovering that success can be derived from the right database-one that does not tie up resources, yet performs better at lowers costs. Read this ebook to discover how IBM® Informix® can help your business."

The ebook talks about the low maintenance overhead, scalability and efficient use of hardware, reliability and embeddability of Informix and even touches on Informix as a warehouse that can utilize compression features to reduce storage, energy and administration costs.

Take a look see for yourself.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Take a 10 Minute 1 Page Survey - Win a Giant iPod

Everyone has their favorite Informix uptime story. Mine is about the time I came across a 5.0 instance that had been running for years. I thought it was neat, I had never seen a version earlier than 7.2x and when I asked the other people in my group why they hadn't told me about this instance they were just as shocked as I was to find it still running. The damn thing had been running quietly in the background, still doing work mind you, and since it caused no problems they simply forgot it existed!

Oninit, Advanced Data Tools and IBM are conducting a survey to collect Informix uptime and DBA resource data to be used in a "Continuous Availability White Paper" that will be distributed, as Advanced Data Tools puts it, to every CTO, IT Director and IT Manager along with a list of all major application vendors now porting their applications to Informix and a list of key reasons to choose Informix.

I took the survey yesterday and it was quick and painless. Seriously. 1 page, in and out in 10 minutes and as a special thank you for filling out the survey I was entered into a drawing for and iPad.

If you have not yet taken the survey you have to hurry because it is over soon (Friday?).

Here be the link:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Informix HDR Will Save Your Butt

If I had to guess, I would say that most production database engines utilize RAID technology to protect against the inevitable disk failure and the ones that don't probably should. Disk is cheap and the revenue saved by avoiding an extended outage can be enough to pay for disk mirroring many times over.

If I had to guess again, I would say that not nearly enough production database engines utilize High Availability Data Replication (HDR) to protect against the inevitable server failure. Why is this? Servers can fail too. Sure, servers are more expensive than disks and sure the MTTF is longer than disks but the money lost during an extended outage that could have been avoided with HDR is probably going to be more than the cost of implementing an HDR solution.

HDR continuously replicates the changes made to a Primary server to a Secondary server that can be quickly converted to a Primary if the original Primary fails. As an added bonus, the Secondary server can be used for reads and writes allowing you to make use of this hardware to improve performance instead of letting it sit there idle. You could also implement multiple Remote Standalone Secondary (RSS) or Shared Disk Secondary (SDS) servers to create a grid if your Informix Edition supports this. I'm going to focus on a single HDR Secondary which is available for no cost in Innovator-C.

As with most Informix features, HDR is incredibly easy to configure and does not require much administration.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Installing and Configuring Informix Connect on the Client

It is likely that some of the clients connecting to your Informix engine will run on a different server than the engine.  Enabling a remote server for Informix connections is a simple three step process of setting up some environment variables, installing the free Informix Connect product and creating a sqlhosts file.


We need to create an INFORMIXDIR to hold our Connect install.  This is very similar to what we did with the engine install, except I like to name the INFORMIXDIR /opt/informix-connect to instead of just /opt/informix.

root> mkdir /opt/informix-connect-3.50.FC7
root> chown informix:informix /opt/informix-connect-3.50.FC7
root> ln -s /opt/informix-connect-3.50.FC7 /opt/informix-connect
root> ls -ltr /opt
total 4
drwxr-xr-x  2 informix informix 4096 Aug  1 20:56 informix-connect-3.50.FC7
lrwxrwxrwx  1 root     root       30 Aug  1 20:56 informix-connect -> /opt/informix-connect-3.50.FC7

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Autoextenze: Dbspace Enhancement for Informix. No Gimmick . . . Just Science!

Recently Google alerted me about new Informix sutff on the web, this time it was a question on from an Oracle DBA who was also administering an Informix engine and wanted to know if Informix had autoextend functionality for chunks similar to what Oracle has for datafiles in a tablespace. It was late, but I was up playing some poker trying to kill time before a 2 AM maintenance so I replied.

I answered with No, there isn't anything built into the engine but you should be able to use the SQL Admin API and the Informix Scheduler to accomplish the same thing. I've never implemented anything like this and I don't know if anyone else has, but it seemed like an interesting project so I gave it a shot.

My Informix Autoextend functionality consists of:
  • A Stored Procedure that is run by the Scheduler and adds a chunk to a dbspace if needed
  • A Stored Procedure that executes the ALARMPROGRAM to notify us when a chunk is added
  • A modification to to capture my new Event Classes for autoextend
  • A Task run by the Scheduler for checking each dbspace I want to autoextend

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Configuring Informix Virtual Processors

Virtual Processor (VP) is the technical term for an Informix process. Informix forks off a handful of these VPs at engine startup to take advantage of multiple CPUs or cores and increase parallelism. Each VP is multithreaded allowing Informix to efficiently use the CPU time each process is awarded by the OS, letting ready threads do work while other threads are busy waiting on something else to finish.

There are multiple types of VPs, each performing a specific job.  Some VPs are configurable (i.e. the number of VPs and what CPU they should run on, etc.) through the VPCLASS ONCONFIG parameter and some are not.  The 2 VPs you need to be concerned about right now are:
  • CPU - Runs all session threads and some system threads.  Runs KAIO (Kernel Asynchronous I/O) if enabled. This process will consume most of the CPU cycles given to Informix by the OS and is configurable.
  • AIO - Performs all I/O except for physical or logical logging if KAIO is disabled. Performs I/O to cooked chunks if KAIO is enabled and is configurable.
Initial CPUVP Configuration

Sunday, August 1, 2010

IIUG Insider #121 - New Informix Packaging

I was up late playing some poker on the interwebs and the IIUG Newsletter hit my Inbox. I was knocked out of the tournament just shy of the money shortly thereafter. Gary, you owe me the $1.75 I was going to win from my freeroll because the two events are clearly related.

In case you don't get these delivered to your Inbox (did you know IIUG membership is free?) the new Insider can be found on the IIUG Website and contains a super awesome writeup (much better than my feeble attempt) on the new Informix packaging.

Wow! Look at all that stuff that comes with Growth and Ultimate Editions now. I'm really happy to see Enterprise Replication included for no additional charge in the Choice, Growth and Ultimate Editions. Even awesomer is ER getting included in the free for production Innovator-C Edition.

If you have never used ER, let me just say it is freakin' awesome. The day we replaced our trigger based replication (and the in house application from the 9th circle of Hell called change_log) was a good day.