IIUG Insider (Issue #53) November 2004

Just a few hours left – Don’t forget to vote for the next IIUG Board of Directors:


Highlights: June profiled, new services, specials to enjoy before Christmas, 4GL is now more rational & More…

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.


  1. Editorial
  2. IIUG – June Profiled
  3. Event – Seattle User Group to meet (Seattle, WA, USA)
  4. Event – Summary RBUG (Red Brick) EMEA meeting
  5. Product News – Gillani Launches iDistribute Xpress Solution
  6. Product News – Awoma offers special deal on DB Studio
  7. Service Offerings – DataBase Trends & Integration offers “5Minute Briefing”
  8. Service Offerings – Informix Technology with IBM Training Services
  9. Service Offerings – Exciting News for Informix Partners
  10. DBA Stuff – Event-driven fine-grained auditing with Informix Dynamic Server
  11. Developer Corner – IBM Integrates Key Informix 4GL Technology in Strategic Rational Products
  12. Developer Corner – IBM Invites Informix 4GL Customers & Business Partners – Rational Atlantic Launch
  13. People – New Director of Customer Support
  14. Useful Links
  15. Closing and Credits


November was a really tough month for me and my family: thanks to the arrival of Nathaniel, who’s 6 months now, we moved to a new condominium: larger and more comfortable. However, there is a drawback, you need to move. Despite the help of friends, you still have some work… But there is also some fun in the process! As I was unpacking I found out my old collection of the Byte magazine.

I randomly picked the April 1997 issue, which featured “Network computers”, “Web Componentware” and “Java 1.1”. Despite the fact that a 1.2 Gb disk was listed at 217.15 USD, there were a few interesting articles where Informix really was featured as state-of-the-art.

In the first article, by Jay-Louise Weldon, DataBlade technology was discussed and compared to IBM DB2 Extenders, Oracle DataCartridges and Sybase OpenServer technology. At this time, in the early days of Web, the author was thinking about using DataBlades to store complex data like CAD/CAM data, fingerprints or even web pages. No one thought that less than 7 years after that, a company, CopperEye, would create a complete new indexing technology based on that same technology!

The second article discusses about “How to improve RDBMSs” and still makes a great deal about Informix and DataBlades.

I really miss the Byte magazine, as I also miss Informix technology coverage.

In this issue you’ll find an interesting reference to Jacques ‘the King’ Roy’s on auditing IDS, not only for DBAs. There are also a few service and product offerings, which even makes sense for partners!

Don’t miss the special Christmas Insider, last of the year, special content and special coverage!

We love to hear from our members and readers. So drop us a few words at enews@iiug.org. I wish you an Xtremly pleasant reading.

Jean Georges Perrin

IIUG – June Profiled

Changes in the IIUG board made June Hunt to come on board. Here is her profile.

Q: How do you use Informix in your “real” job (DBA, Consultant, Developer, etc.)?
A: I am primarily a developer, but am also considered a backup DBA. Unfortunately, since Informix runs so well, except for the occasional alter, I don’t often get a chance to work with the database at that level.
Q: How long have you been using Informix products?
A: I’ve worked with Informix products since 1992. I’ve used SE through IDS 9.x, and I4GL/RDS – and I love each and every Informix product that I’ve used. (Saw New Era in a demo once, but….)
Q: What is your role on the IIUG Board?
A: I am currently working on two new offerings that we are about to introduce. One is a service that we will be providing for our members, the other is a sponsorship program. I also monitor comp.databases.informix.
Q: Why did you volunteer to be on the board?
A: I had expressed an interest in volunteering a short time ago, but this was outside of an election period. This past September (2004) when a position on the board opened up, I was asked if I’d like to fill in for the remainder of the term. I was in the right place at the right time, I guess. Not surprisingly, I jumped at the chance. As Product Manager for a major financial software developer, I’ve had experience with user groups and found their input to be invaluable. Combining my love for all things Informix and my belief in the value of user groups, working for the IIUG was just a natural step.
Q: What do you want to accomplish this year on the Board?
A: In addition to seeing the kick-off of the two new offerings that I mentioned, I want to work toward making the presence of the IIUG felt among it’s membership, and to represent the interests of our membership to IBM.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I was born and raised in Wisconsin, but having lived in the Northeast (US) for the past 16 years, I now consider Maine my home.
Q: Best Informix story?
A: Being able to use Informix *is* a best story.
Q: Worst Informix nightmare.
A: Having to accommodate SQL Server and Oracle in our code. We were using Four J’s, and they made it very easy, but the fact that anyone would consider any database other than one offered by Informix was heartbreaking.
Q: Can you tell us about your family and hobbies outside of the IIUG?
A: I’m married – we’ve been together 19 years now – and my husband happens to be a fellow Informix user and IIUG member. I love both my work and continuing to learn about all aspects of any subject that relates to my work. Although that single subject occupies most of my time, I am also a wine enthusiast and enjoy cooking, reading, photography, and spending time exploring the wildlife that calls the old logging roads of Northern Maine home.

Event – Seattle User Group to meet (Seattle, WA, USA)

Carl Douglas would like to invite you to our Seattle Informix User Group Meeting on December 3. Our featured speaker will be Mark Scranton, talking about IDS 9.4 and IDS vNext. If you attended Mark’s prior presentation to our user group, you will remember that he thoroughly understands the internal workings of IDS and knows how to get the best performance from it. Mark will take questions from the audience so this is your chance to ask those esoteric questions you’ve been dying to get answered.

We will also be electing the President of the SIUG. We have a volunteer willing to serve as President but if you would like to give it a try (or act as a volunteer Member of the Board), please come and be nominated.


9:30 10:00 Networking (Coffee/snacks sponsored by IBM)
10:00 10:15 Welcome, Election of President, Announcements
10:15 12:00 Mark Scranton, IDS V9.4 and IDS vNext
12:00 12:30 Lunch (Sponsored by IBM)
12:30 4:00 Mark Scranton, IDS V9.4 and IDS vNext

IBM Building
Room 9020, 9th Floor
1200 Fifth Avenue

In order to know how many lunches to order, I would like to get a head count of possible attendees. If you plan to attend, please send a short note to carl.douglass@us.ibm.com.

Event – Summary RBUG (Red Brick) EMEA meeting

The second meeting of the RBUG (Red Brick User Group) was held at the IBM Forum in Milan on 28th & 29th September 2004.

Colin Taylor, Manager of EMEA Technical Sales in IBM, acted as Chairman for the meeting and explained that feedback from the previous meeting was used to create this meeting’s Agenda. User Groups are for Customer’s value, not IBM events and he welcomed all subjects and questions. He pointed out, that the Agenda was not set in concrete and if the group wished to change any part of it, they were free to do so.

Plenty of discussion time was scheduled and people were encouraged to use this to advantage. Customer stories are most helpful to make these meetings be effective and so encouraged the members to discuss their installations, problems, issues, migrations etc as a group so everyone can learn from each other.

Tommy Eunice, IBM – currently WW BI Mktg and Red Brick Specialist, introduced Red Brick’s Development Roadmap, Strategy and covered updates in 6.3 and new version 6.4 features under consideration.

Also, Tommy discussed RB and DB2 integration and input for 6.4 was gathered to put forward to Development.

Allan Pedesen, Red Brick Consultant in Sweden presented the story of Servera, one of his Retail Customers who have 400 users. Allan covered the enhancements that have been made since 2001 one of which was data flow through a web server with 150 users able to access at one time!

Cindy Fung, IBM Red Brick Development Manager, gave an update on RB Tuning and choosing the right star index. She gave indepth technical explanations. She asked that if anyone was experiencing problems to report them, as IBM want to give their customers the best performance possible. She covered many recommended timing principles, using vista aggregates and star index hints, and finally reviewed STARjoin plans. How to fine tune Query Plan using the Query Performance Monitior. Allan Pedersen reported a bug with “set stats info”!!

The day ended by all attending the evening dinner sponsored by IBM.

On day 2, all attendees were encouraged to give their enhancement requests. These were entered onto the flipchart in priority order and Cindy will review with the Development Team.

Enhancement Requests

  • Utility to size ALL objects and segments, including tables and indexes, and corresponding segments and PSUs
  • Store greater than 1K SQL text in dst_commands, and store in accounting log, too, High priority from all attendees, requested by Accenture
  • Provide more information on what p_tmu is doing while loading, store information in dst tables including degress of parallelism and resources usage, useful for loads running in the background, Servera
  • Support double cursor for fetch, Gruppo Formula
  • More efficient tablescan algorithm, more operational support, Gruppo Formula
  • Interactive tool to help monitor PSU, segments, and filesystems usage, anticipate and warn when filesystems running out of space, Accenture
  • Utility to help with database migration to new location, moving/renaming segments’ name and directory to new location, Wuerth
  • Alter table limit increase to greater than 5GB rows, Wuerth, also voted High priority from attendees
  • Better debugging utilities, bundling of problem information automatically, Servera
  • Identify when autorowgen happens, especially during inserts and updates, Servera
  • Objects usage count for indexes and tables, Accenture and Servera
  • For slowly changing dimensioins, automatically generate new row and surrogate key when a column attribute/values changes, Gruppo Formula and Wuerth, rated High priority by attendees
  • GUI Admin informs users which views are “involved”, support displaying of these views, Servera
  • Vista support “when” and “case” clauses for query rewrite, Wuerth
  • Support for cubes to facilitate multi-dimensional OLAP analysis, Wuerth

Lars Brade of Wuerth Pheonix, Germany, presented their use of Red Brick in the IT Division of this Worldwide Company. The core business of the Wuerth Group is the worldwide sale of fixing and assembly materials, including screws, screw accessories, dowels and plugs, chemical products, furniture and construction fittings, tools, and stockkeeping and picking systems. Please refer to their website for more information at: http://www.wuerth-phoenix.de.

Tommy Eunice, IBM presented some Red Brick Customer stories, the largest one being E and J Gallo, the World’s larges wine producer in California. He described their use of Data Mining and how Gallo won a number 1 Innovation Award in Information Week

Cindy Fung continued during the afternoon with Best Practices. What is Vista? Queries run faster with Vista. Good discussion took place as to why people were not using this facility. Cindy also followed on from Day 1 with ‘hints & tips’ for Query performance Monitor and giving you Monitoring On Demand! Also included in this session was Partitioned Parallel Hash Aggregation. Very good discussion here on the flip chart for Starjoin, Functional Join Diagram and Correlated SubQuery. Cindy also covered Loader Performance Tuning and how Red Brick processes loads, giving tuning tips on optimizing load performance.

Colin Taylor, covered User Requirements/Discussion/Q&A. As the Requirements list was already built by this time, the time was spent prioritizing this list as Cindy pointed out it was unlikely all the items would be achieved..

Colin Taylor closed the meeting by thanking all the attendees for their valued input and asked everyone to complete the Feedback Forms with particular focus on what would be required from a third meeting.

The Feedback Forms showed 100% satisfaction with the meeting and a desire to hold another meeting in 2005. Several people also volunteered to help organize the agenda.

The IIUG already run a Q&A Forum, if you would like to join please register at: http://www.IIUG.org.

Product News – Gillani Launches iDistribute Xpress Solution

Message from Gillani.

Gillani recently announced availability of iDistribute Xpress software (formerly FourGen Business Accounting and FourGen Enterprise), which can be rapidly deployed and ready to run your business within 6-9 weeks. The iDistribute Xpress solution is available in 5, 10, 15 and 20 user configurations, targets small and medium size businesses, and includes General Ledger, Receivables, Payables, Purchasing, Inventory, Order Management and Financial Reporting functionality.

The software is Modifiable by Design using the FourGen CASE Tools. It is based upon Informix-4GL tools, runs on IDS V9.4 and will be available on DB2 by the end of Q4, 2004. iDistribute Xpress is available on major flavors of UNIX and Linux.

For details, contact Gillani Sales Team today via e-mail at sales@gillani.com or call 1-877-424-8500.

Product News – Awoma offers special deal on DB Studio

Message from Awoma.

Awoma wishes to thank the IIUG for its help this year.

Get DB Studio and sponsor IIUG!

Awoma DB Studio, bundled with Eclipse, a $195 value, is available for only $95 and Awoma will give $10 to support the IIUG!

For more details, see http://www.awoma.com/iiug.

Awoma DB Studio 2.3.1 offers an easy-to-use, intuitive way of manipulating data and meta-data.

You will be able to:

  • Connect to any IBM Informix database (as well as other databases) in a matter of seconds.
  • Work on data as you would in your favorite spreadsheet.
  • Edit your SQL statements.
  • Work with batches of SQL statements.
  • Enjoy a full distribution of the Eclipse platform.

This is a full offer, not a limited product. Support is included for one year, including upgrades.

Offer expires December 24th 2004.

Supported databases:

  • Informix 7.x and 9.x.
  • IBM DB2.
  • Any ODBC and JDC compliant database.

Supported Operating Systems

  • Linux.
  • Most Unix.
  • Windows NT, 2000, XP, 2003 Server.

Service Offerings – DataBase Trends & Integration offers “5Minute Briefing”

Message from DBTA.

5Minute Briefing: Data Integration is a weekly email newsletter full of everything the data integration professional needs to know each week – new products, new research data points, emerging perspectives and technologies. To subscribe, visit http://www.dbta.com/5_minute_briefing/subscribe.html, or to review the current and past issues of 5Minute Briefing: Data Integration issues, visit http://www.dbta.com/5_minute_briefing/current.html.

Service Offerings – Informix Technology with IBM Training Services

Message from IBM for North American Informix users.

Increase the Productivity of your Informix Technology with Training Services: DB2 Information Management Training offers a complete range of classroom courses, customized courses taught at your site to fit your needs, technical certification preparation resources and e-learning offerings for relational database management and IBM Informix(r) databases and tools. To order the new 2005 training services catalog phone 1-800-IBM-TEACH (1-800-426-8322) To find the training and certification resources as well as the current 2005 class schedule visit our Web site, select course catalog and then Informix.


Service Offerings – Exciting News for Informix Partners

Message from IBM.

IBM Data Management is pleased to announce the beginning of a new service exclusively for our Informix partners! With every new maintenance release of Informix, our partners will get an email from us complete with download locations and descriptions that will allow you to obtain the latest and greatest Informix has to offer with the click of a mouse. As an added benefit, partners will receive this product before it becomes available to our Passport Advantage customers.

Be on the lookout for more information regarding this program from IBM Data Management support in the coming weeks. Until the program’s official rollout, you can still receive the latest product updates by contacting our support center at 1-800-274-8184, option 3 or by email at tsmail@us.ibm.com. Product will be made available to you no later than the next business day.

In addition, Informix partners have full access to our trained and professional Informix certified analysts by calling 1-800-274-8184 or by emailing us at tsmail@us.ibm.com (North America only – partners outside of North America, please refer to the following website for information about contacting your local support center, http://www-306.ibm.com/software/data/informix/support/contact.html.) With Informix support, you will reach an analyst that is trained on the specific product you need help with and is ready and waiting to help you on the first call. We are ready when you are!

IBM Data Management is committed to providing our Informix partners with a world-class service experience, each and every time!

DBA Stuff – Event-driven fine-grained auditing with Informix Dynamic Server

An article from Jacques Roy, one of our favorite technical experts:

Learn how to use triggers to implement fine-grained auditing. This article covers the use of the datablade API to generate auditing events from transactions. It also introduces the new feature of trigger introspection that allows you to create a generic auditing function that can be applied to any table. The article comes with example code that implements the solutions discussed.

Informix(r) Dynamic Server (IDS) 9.x allows you to generate events out of the execution of triggers through the use of callback functions. With the update to IDS 9.40 made available in February 2004, it is now possible to write a generic function that can generate an audit trail of the information manipulated through SQL and captured through trigger.

Web site: http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/db2/library/techarticle/dm-0410roy/

Developer Corner – IBM Integrates Key Informix 4GL Technology in Strategic Rational Products

Message from IBM.

The Informix 4GL – WebSphere Studio integration represents IBM’s strategic Informix 4GL modernization strategy. WebSphere Studio Site Developer and WebSphere Studio Application Developer 5.1.2 released in May, 2004 included important Informix 4GL constructs in a new implementation of IBM’s Enterprise Generation Language (EGL), a proven, high-level 4GL language that Informix 4GL developers, unfamiliar with Java, can use to quickly build data-driven Web Applications and Business Logic.

Version 6 of these two WebSphere Studio products, with further enhancements to EGL, are now available under new product names:

WebSphere Studio Application Developer is now IBM Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software.

WebSphere Studio Site Developer is now IBM Rational Web Developer for WebSphere Software.

These enhancements are also available in Rational Software Architect. All three of these products are part of the next generation IBM Rational development platform products, code-named Atlantic that was formally announced by IBM on November 2, 2004.

The Informix 4GL to EGL Conversion Utility is planned to be available as an Interim Fix (iFix) with the above Rational V6.0 products in the month of December, 2004.

Informix Customers and Business Partners can read how the above Rational products and enhancements offer a fully integrated software development platform by visiting:


Developer Corner – IBM Invites Informix 4GL Customers & Business Partners – Rational Atlantic Launch

Message from IBM.

The Informix 4GL – Enterprise Generation Language (EGL) integration represents IBM’s strategic Informix 4GL modernization strategy. Further enhancements to EGL, are now available as part of the next generation IBM Rational development platform products, code-named Atlantic that was formally announced by IBM on November 2, 2004.

Throughout November, the IBM Team will be bringing the Atlantic news on tour – visiting a city not far from you! Informix 4GL Customers and Business Partners are cordially invited to the Rational Atlantic Launch 2004 and attend these free, one-day events by registering at:


People – New Director of Customer Support

Message from IBM. Note: hmmm, not really interesting…

In September, IBM DB2 Information Management named Debbie Landers as Director of Worldwide Customer Support. Debbie succeeds Cathy Priest who retired from IBM. Debbie’s worldwide organization includes the teams responsible for Informix support.

Debbie has been with IBM for nearly 20 years and with the DB2 IM team since 1992. In 2001, Debbie had responsibility for the integration of Informix Support and Services as part of the IBM acquisition. Most recently, Debbie has been working on a cross-IBM software initiative to define and take to market a suite of new support offerings. Debbie shares the Informix passion for excellent customer support, and looks forward to working with the IIUG community to ensure your evolving needs are met. Debbie can be reached via email at landers@ca.ibm.com or by phone at +1 (519) 735-7039.

Useful Links

In response to your input, we have created a new page on the IIUG web site containing all the links we used to include. Please find it at: /quicklinks.html

Closing and Credits

The International Informix Users Group (IIUG) is an organization designed to enhance communications between its worldwide user community and IBM. IIUG’s membership database now exceeds 25,000 entries and enjoys the support and commitment of IBM’s Data 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.
Editors: Jean Georges Perrin
Stuart Litel
Sam Gentsch
Neil Truby
For comments, please send an email to enews@iiug.org.
Categorized as Insider

By Vicente Salvador

Board member since 2014, a user since 1989 and Informix fan. I'am software architect which allow me to combine technical and business skills.