IIUG Insider (Issue #208) October 2017

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Highlights: Petrosoft selects IBM Informix Enterprise Edition as its strategic database platform for powering fourth-generation IoT devices

Welcome to the International Informix Users Group (IIUG) Insider! Designed for IIUG members and Informix user group leaders, this publication contains timely and relevant information for the IBM Informix community.

Contents:

Editorial

My last editorial made some people at HCL furious. However, I just report the facts as I see them.

This is what I have always done in the past and this is what I will continue doing in the future.

At the October IIUG board meeting in Warsaw we met with Marcelo Cabane, Pradeep Muthalpuredathe and Shawn Moe from HCL. It was a very good meeting. We all agreed on working together to promote and support Informix and the Informix community. Regardless, we can already see great improvement to Informix visibility and development.

Besides meeting with HCL executives we started working on improving the IIUG website. Work is still in progress but going to www.iiug.org you will already notice some changes. If you have any suggestions please let us know. We encourage feedback.

There is going to be a very interesting announcement in the near future. I still cannot talk about it but hope it will make the highlight of the next issue.

We want and need much more. But I am optimistic. I believe we will see progress in all aspects regarding our beloved product.

Does it mean I was impatient? Maybe. But as time went by and there was no progress I felt it was my duty to speak out.

You can always rely on the Insider to supply accurate news. We are completely independent.

We do not speak for IBM or HCL.

WE SPEAK INFORMIX.

Gary Ben-Israel
IIUG Insider Editor
IIUG Board of Directors
gary@iiug.org

Highlights

Petrosoft selects IBM Informix Enterprise Edition as its strategic database platform for powering fourth-generation IoT devices

18-10-2017

CHICAGO, Oct. 18, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Petrosoft and IBM (NYSE:IBM) have entered into a strategic partnership to develop its fourth-generation site integration network for the retail and downstream petroleum industries. IBM’s Informix Enterprise Edition provides an extremely powerful database to leverage the capabilities of Petrosoft’s site integration network solutions. These solutions are built using industry standards and leverage today’s most advanced enterprise databases, network architectures, data exchanges, and data models.

“With IBM Informix and the support of Advanced DataTools, we are taking the Direct Connect Site Integration Network to the next level. We are increasing its processing power and adding new capabilities such as data encryption, management, and replication to unlock the real value of IoT for the retail and petroleum industries. It accelerates the digital transformation of brick-and-mortar operations,” said Sergei Gorloff, CEO of Petrosoft.

“IBM is excited to help Petrosoft harness Internet of Things (IoT) technology and embedded IBM® Informix® databases to give clients ultra-fast, up-to-date insight into all aspects of their fuel and retail operations,” said Joe Costabile, Business Unit Executive, Embedded Analytics Solutions for IBM Analytics. “In addition, Informix replication features enable a global footprint, especially in areas where there is limited connectivity. These capabilities are helping to boost safety, efficiency and profitability.”

This fourth-generation solution responds to the growing use of retail IoT solutions, increased security concerns, and compliance requirements. Petrosoft’s CEO, a retail operator and engineer, recognized the need to develop this fourth-generation site integration network to meet the industry’s changing environment. It enables retailers to take advantage of the operational improvements provided by IoT solutions without being overwhelmed by the growing complexity of forecourt and in-store device tracking and compliance. Ultimately, this solution is designed to help retailers gain faster, deeper insights into their operations while meeting growing consumer demands.

“The IBM Embedded Solution Agreement (ESA) has enabled Petrosoft to launch this solution quickly, analyze and optimize their IoT Data with the best in class IBM software, and we are looking forward to an even closer alignment in the future,” said Joe Costabile, Business Unit Executive, Embedded Analytics Solutions for IBM Analytics.

About Petrosoft
Petrosoft’s true-cloud platform provides innovative business solutions to the retail and petroleum industries. Beginning in 2002, Petrosoft transformed the convenience store industry when its founder, a retail operator and engineer, introduced C-Store Office, its cloud-based back-office software solution. Today, the company designs, develops, and markets end-to-end retail technology, enabling a seamless connection between vendors, forecourt, point-of-sale, made-to-order, back-office, fuel management, network and financial systems. The company continually strives to find innovative ways to enable retail operators to better manage their forecourt, in-store and back-office operations. The company supports its product line from its headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA. Find out more at www.petrosoftinc.com.

http://m.euroinvestor.com/news/2017/10/18/petrosoft-selects-ibm-informix-enterprise-edition-as-its-strategic-database-platform-for-powering-fourth-generation-iot-devices/13691525

Conference corner

IIUG WORLD 2018 – Save the Date

Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel, Washington D.C. and will be held October 28th – November 1st, 2018.

This is a beautiful hotel and convenient to Reagan National Airport. It is also convenient to many historical sites, museums and other local attractions Washington D.C. is noted for. To learn more about this venue check out www.marriott.com/waspy.

Details will be posted at www.iiug.org/iiugworld when they become available.

Hope to see you there.

IIUG 2018 Planning Committee

RFE corner

Just in case you are not aware, some time ago IBM created a public website to collect the requests for new features directly from users. The RFE (Requests For Enhancements) website is included in developerWorks. You can access it here.

Once you logged in with your usual IBM ID, choose “Information Management” in the Brand dropdown box and “Informix Servers” or “Client Products” in the Products dropdown box.

The interesting thing is that any request, including your request, if you place one, is submitted to be voted on. This means the RFEs that receive more votes have a greater chance to be considered by the architecture and development teams for further consideration. In other words, this IS your opportunity to provide enhancement ideas even if you are not the biggest IBM customer on the planet earth.

Some RFEs will be of great interest, others will not seem useful to you. This is why your opinion is important. Do not hesitate to vote and place comments!

The idea of the RFE corner is to provide a digest on new Informix RFEs and make those RFEs more visible and accessible for the community, so that you can vote for them in a faster and easier way. By participating actively in this website, IBM will have solid and useful elements from the customer base to introduce new functionality to Informix product.

Also in the area of IBM website, a new functionality has been released: MyNotifications. You will want to register this webpage in order to receive the notifications of your choice (new product defects, new patch release, new versions etc…, on the frequency of your choice (daily, weekly). I have registered and will definitely remain registered, due to the value of the information delivered.

Check at this place.

New RFEs for October 2017

Slow activity in October, but the first RFE in the list may be a revelation for many people, look at it
onstat -g ses 0 should be officially documented
onstat -g ses 0 is a useful but undocumented option. It shows all the sessions in one hit, the only part missing from the documented onstat -g ses <sid> is the parent program name.

Request to add the ‘#’ sign recognized as a comments in dbaccess Votes: 3

Allow disabling automatic Next Extent calculations (109556)
Informix automatically doubles the Next Extent size for every 16 extents on a table. This action will continue until an extent is large enough to provide at least 10% free space. On very large, slow-growing tables, this can lead to an incredible waste of space.

Request to allow disabling of automatic next extent calculation Votes: 3

TOP 14 RFE’s

Abstract Status Votes Progr.
In-Place Alter for varchar, lvarchar and boolean Under Consideration 59 0
Backup from RSS or HDR Secondaries using ontape, onunload, onbar, dbexport Under Consideration 57 0
SQL interface to obtain the temporary space usage (tables, hash, sorts…) Submitted 50 0
Obtain the query plan of a running query Under Consideration 48 0
Request to track and save a time stamp for last time an index was used. Nee… Submitted 40 0
Backup Individual database, not entire instance Submitted 34 0
ALTER owner of database objects after creation Submitted 29 0
Implement CREATE OR REPLACE option for stored procedures Under Consideration 27 0
New feature to have FORCE_DDL_EXEC functionality for all DDL changes Submitted 24 0
Allow triggers install/updates without taking an outage for the box Under Consideration 19 0
Informix should be able to change owner on tables and any other objects Submitted 19 +1
Need an onmode option to terminate orphaned, tightly coupled global transac… Under Consideration 18 0
Ability to re-create views and procedures without dependent objects being dropped (34762 Under consideration 18 0

Hot RFE’s

This new list gives visibility on hot RFE’s that are not yet in the Top 14 nor in the new RFE’s

Abstract Status Votes
Table level restore Submitted 7 (+5)
Improve automatic space management Submitted 5 (+1)
Show session_id – port relationship Submitted 6(+4)
Add SSL certs (91583) Submitted 4 (+2)

Do not forget to vote for one or several of those RFE’s if they fit your requirements.

You can access each RFE by clicking on the above links. At the bottom of each RFE page you will find a hyperlink to vote for it. You will see the Request stats, including number of votes for this request, on the right side of the request page. The more votes, the greater the chance an enhancement will be addressed by the Development Team, taking into consideration the general interest.

Take some time to examine the full list and vote for the enhancement you would like to see implemented.

Eric Vercelletto

Informix corner

Download Informix Developer Edition

The latest version can be found at: https://www.ibm.com/us-en/marketplace/informix-developer-edition

IBM Champion Nomination

It’s that time of the year: IBM Champion Nomination! This is one of the best ways to acknowledge people who have made great contribution to the product and community. Nomination is open from Oct 9 through Nov 13. ibm.com/champion

Support corner

Data Insurance

Disasters are in the news, and it is easy to recognize the value of having the right insurance, Data Insurance.

The Informix Dynamic server implicitly provides you with some basic insurance by automatically maintaining physical and logical logs to provide data integrity should something abruptly stop the server. But that may not be enough when there is a disk failure, corruption, or a flooded server room. While Informix support can help solve many problems, some problems can only be resolved by restoring from a backup.

You may already have routine backups completely under control, but if not, now is the time to get started.

Assuming you don’t have any data insurance, you have three tasks:

  1. Backup the Informix Dynamic Server data
  2. Backup the Informix Dynamic Server Critical files.
  3. Continually backup the logical logs.

Informix Server provides you two ways to back up your server without taking it offline: Ontape and onbar.

The “ontape” utility can sequentially create an archive of the server’s dbspace data in a tape, directory, or other removable media. The “onbar” utility support parallel archiving of the dbspaces and critical files, but requires the use of a Storage Manager, such as Tivoli Storage Manager, or you can use the Informix Primary Storage Manager. The two archive systems are not interchangeable.

System Backup

Since we are just getting started, the simplest backup is done by the “ontape” utility.

You will find a complete documentation for ontape under the Backup and Restore Guide in the Informix Knowledge Center.

Assuming you have your backup device/media mounted at the path indicated in your ONCONFIG’s TAPEDEV path, you are ready to run your system backup:

$ ontape -s -d -L 0

The “-s” indicates system, and “-d” indicates the backup location is a directory, so no need to prompt to mount a tape. The “-L 0” indicates a Level 0 backup which is a baseline backup of everything. Some changes to your system require a Level 0 backup. Backups after a Level 0 backup can be smaller and faster by specifying a Level 1 incremental backup, and incrementally a Level 2 backup. You need to keep the latest of each of the Levels you created if a full restore is needed, and restore them in order. We will just take full backups for now (Level 0).

Critical Files

You will want to capture your critical configuration information, and back that up too:

  1. etc/$ONCONFIG
  2. $INFORMIXSQLHOSTS
  3. etc/oncfg_*

The following command (default values for variables are used if not set) is an example to archive these critical files in the same backup path:
$ cd $INFORMIXIR; tar -cvf /mybackuppath/informix-etc-critical.tar \
etc/${ONCONFIG:- onconfig.std} \
etc/sqlhosts \
${INFORMIXSQLHOSTS:- etc/sqlhosts} \
etc/oncfg_*

You may need to recreate the dbspaces, so capture that information too:
$ onstat -d > /mybackuppath/onstat-d.output
Unmount and remove the backup device, and physically secure the media. You should immediately mount a new device with sufficient space for the next backup. This will keep the latest backup safely offline, and your system will be prepared for the next scheduled backup.

Logical Logs

The logical logs are all the changes that have happened since the last backup (except for non-logging databases and raw table which are only backed with the system backup). These logs can be applied after a restore to bring the server back life with as little loss of transactional data as possible. The easiest way to backup these logs is continually via the ALARMPROGRAM which is run automatically when logs fill up. You need to make two changes to enable the automatic backup of the logs and to use “ontape”. The default configuration has “onbar” as the backup command, and log backups disabled.

Edit the “alarmprogram.sh” (alarmprogram.bat on Windows) and change the value for “BACKUPLOGS” to equal “Y”, and change the BACKUP_CMD:

BACKUPLOGS=Y
BACKUP_CMD="ontape -a -d"

The “-a” is for automatic, and “-d” indicates the logical log device is a directory, and no need for interaction.

Next update the Servers onconfig file to specify the Log Tape Device parameter “LTAPEDEV” to be the location of where you want the backups to be placed.

LTAPEDEV=/mylogbackuppath/

These backups can be restored after your restore the “system” archives, but only if they are preserved. You need to regularly move the completed log backups to removable media to keep with your system backup, or media hosted on another machine so you can recover from a physical machine or disaster.

Repeat

Now make it a habit by automating the entire process, and have it run on a schedule that meets your needs.

More

If you want to shrink the size of your backups you can use a compression “filter” command specified in the BACKUP_FILTER and RESTORE_FILTER onconfig parameters. For more flexibility you can use “onbar”. Onbar and PSM (Primary Storage Manager) or third party storage manager, can provide point-in-time restore, more frequent backup of individual spaces, and parallel backup of multiple spaces. You can find these details on the Informix Knowledge Center for Backup and Restore.

In future blog posts we will cover PSM (Primary Storage Manager) and various Backup and Restore capabilities. For now, you can sleep a little easier knowing you have at least one recent backup.

Informix resources

IBM Informix home page www.informix.com or directly at: http://www-01.ibm.com/software/data/informix/

Informix Blogs and Wikis

Blogs and Wikis that have been updated during the last month

More Blogs and Wikis

Social media

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/25049
Twitter : https://twitter.com/IBM_Informix
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/IBM.Informix
YouTube : https://ibm.biz/BdH2nb
Informix IoT Channel : https://ibm.biz/BdH2nm

Forums, Groups, Videos, and Magazines

Closing and Credits

The International Informix Users Group (IIUG) is an organization designed to enhance communications between its worldwide user community and IBM. The IIUG’s membership database now exceeds 25,000 entries and enjoys the support and commitment of IBM’s Information Management division. Key programs include local user groups and special interest groups, which we promote and assist from launch through growth.

Sources: IIUG Board of Directors
IBM Corp.

Editor: Gary Ben-Israel

For comments, please send an email to gary@iiug.org

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