IIUG Insider (Issue #65) November 2005

Highlights: IIUG Board of 2006 elections, Informix User Forum 2005

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 Board of 2006 elections Started
  3. Informix User Forum 2005
  4. Conference corner
  5. Web Page improves again
  6. IBM Express runtime
  7. Report on IIUG Special Interest Groups
  8. A pop quiz on Informix past, present and future
  9. The IDS V10.0 World Tour Recap
  10. Chat with the Lab
  11. PHP driver for Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) – beta release
  12. I had to try MySQL
  13. IBM developerWorks Informix zone
  14. IBM Express Runtime Integration with Gillani IDistribute V8.2
  15. Calendar of events
  16. Useful links
  17. Closing and credits


First I would like to thank JGP for his great job on the October issue of the Insider. I am back home after a month in Brazil and I miss it already. I love Brazil, the country, the culture and above all the people. I must correct one phrase in JGP’s editorial. Everywhere I have been there was water electricity and as you can see from the picture, taken at Matadores beach in the island of Florianopolis, even Internet access.

Now that we have the past covered let’s address the future. We hope to meet many of you in the Atlanta forum a two-day Informix user conference that will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, on December 8-9, 2005. You can find more about it in the following section. Or visit /waiug/present/Forum2005/Forum2005.html

If you have made it to Atlanta or if you haven’t, do not miss the IDUG/IIUG conference in Tampa, Florida 7-11 May 2006. Five days of top technical presentations and meeting Informix users, developers and experts. We are planning to continue supplying content in the IIUG Insider and the IIUG web page powered by our new Sun server and to provide you with a communication channel via our SIGs.

The IIUG board is planning to focus on reaching countries with small or nonexistent members and to continue the growth of our user community.

The elections for the 2006 board will commence soon. As a board member for the passed two years I highly recommend you run for the board. It is hard work on top of your regular jobs but it is time and effort well spent. In any case please dedicate a few minutes to vote for the nominees you would like to see on the board for year 2006.

IBM has named IDS 10 as its flagship database for pure OLTP and embedded computing we are sure that in 2006 will continue its commitment and hope to see Informix gaining its place as the best OLTP database in the market.

My email address is still: gary@iiug.org

Gary Ben-Israel
IIUG Insider Editor
IIUG Board of Directors

IIUG Board of 2006 elections Started

We have 14 candidates for 11 Board slots and the polls are open! If you are an IIUG member as of 18 November 2005, you can cast your vote at:


You can view the candidate names and their election statements on the ballot page as well as at:


Everyone on the existing board is standing for election and we have three new candidates. This gives us a diverse list with candidates from USA, France, United Kingdom, Portugal, Israel, and New Zealand.

The election is being run on an independent server linked from the IIUG website, under the supervision of the IIUG Nomination Committee.

Please cast your vote today! The polls will remain open until 9 December 2005 23:59 GMT.

Informix User Forum 2005

Informix User Forum 2005 – Moving Forward With Informix Solutions for IBM Informix Users A Two-Day User Group Technical Conference December 8-9 in Atlanta, GA.

Preparations are continuing for Informix User Forum 2005 that will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, December 8-9.

This year’s Forum will feature two full days of technical sessions, plus vendor exhibits and presentations. We will have not only well known Informix experts presenting, but also a number of speakers who may be not so widely known but are nonetheless qualified. Two of our presenters, Lester Knutsen and Darryl Priest, took top honors for their sessions at the IDUG/IIUG conference earlier this year in Denver.

As someone close to the planning process, I can report that interest in this conference is high, with it garnering even international attention. For the latest details on the sessions, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors, visit the Forum Web site using the links listed below.

Informix User Forum 2005 promises to provide great technical content, plus opportunities to network with fellow users and gain access to information on the latest vendor offerings. This, combined with an registration fee of US$90.00 for the entire conference, makes the value of this event hard to beat.

For more information on Informix User Forum 2005:


For more information on Registration:


For more information on Sessions:


For more information on our Sponsors:


Registration is open. Please register now to take advantage of our early bird discount. If you have questions not answered on our Web site, contact forum2005@iiug.org

Conference corner

Go further at the leading user-driven technical event for DB2 & Informix professionals:

IDUG 2006 – North America: May 7-11, 2006 – Tampa, Florida

Go beyond traditional classroom training and experience real-world, independent insights into topics essential to advance YOU and YOUR company.

With a technical agenda that offers more sessions and variety than comparable training events, IIUG delivers maximum ROI for your time and budget. Featured topics include IDS Internals, IDS performance tuning, Data blades, Informix for application developers and how to implement a successful migration to IDS 10.

For the second year in a row the International Informix Users Group (IIUG) has partnered with IDUG to bring real-world experience related to Informix.

IDUG 2006 – North America provides content for MORE than just database administrators and systems programmers. Offerings on .Net, JAVA, XML, SQL, Stored Procedures, UDRs, and more compliment IIUG’s robust technical agenda.

As the year winds down, don’t leave available 2005 educational budgets on the table. Go further and apply them toward IDUG 2006 – North America, thereby reserving your participation now. Registration is now open.

Visit /conf for links to the latest event information.

Web Page improves again

Hi everyone, this is Kate Tomchik, the current IIUG Webmaster. During the Board of Directors meeting in October, a number of improvements were suggested. As a result, you will see the following new features when you log in to http://www.iiug.org:

  1. LOGIN remember feature. Yes, you still have to look up your IIUG member ID for the first login, but after that it will be SAVED for you. Select the “Remember” box. Login is a now a breeze! Just choose the LOGIN button at the start of each session and the displayed login information will be used.
  2. Work continues for decluttering the front page. The number of items displayed is being reduced to try and fit on a standard computer screen. Older items can still be retrieved by selecting “View Previous Announcements” at the bottom left of the page.
  3. Items on the front page are now sorted in date order, with the date (including the year) printing on each item. Top left will always be the latest news.
  4. In an attempt to entice more international users, there are now hot keys on the bottom allowing quick access to the Special Interest Group for that language. This will help for users that don’t speak enough English to get around on the main web page. I’m in the process of getting a welcome message translated into each of our four supported languages for each of these buttons.

If you have any suggestions for improving the usefulness of this web page, please send an email to me, kate@iiug.org.

IBM Express runtime

IBM Express Runtime now allows IDS Express to deliver an integrated middleware stack with your application

With the release of IBM Express Runtime 2.1.1, IBM Informix Dynamic Server Express Edition v. 10 is now included as one of the two integrated database components for this preintegrated middleware stack.

IBM Express Runtime is a unique middleware infrastructure stack designed to reduce complexity and drive greater ease of use for IBM’s Business Partners and their mid-market customers so that they can build on IBM Express Middleware. Express Runtime combines a choice of Express database–DB2 UDB or IDS–along with IBM WebSphere Application Server Express and IBM HTTP Server.

A key feature of Express Runtime is the Solution Assembly Toolkit which has shown to reduce the deployment time for Cognos by as much as 80% (/url/cognos.html).

For more information on IBM Express Runtime, go to http://www.developer.ibm.com/isv/ir/expressruntime.html

Carolyn Woods
Segment Lead, Database Technology Awareness
IBM Information Management Software

Report on IIUG Special Interest Groups

Currently we host 26 Special Interest Groups covering not only classic Informix topics like IDS, admin tools and the like, but also thirds party applications, development tools and specific French, Spanish, Portuguese and German language groups. Some of these groups have had very little activity over the last 2 years. Therefore we propose to reorganize and consolidate the groups as follows.

This existing SIG will map to This SIG
admin-tools admin-tools
classics classics
cloudscape cloudscape
data-modeling data-modeling
datablade-list datablade-list
dev-egl development
dev-java development
euro-ug * This SIG will be eliminated and archived
fourgen-list fourgen-list
ids ids
iiug-deu iiug-deu
iiug-esp iiug-esp
iiug-fra iiug-fra
iiug-por iiug_por
lawson-sig third-party-apps
linux-informix linux-informix
lsdw-group data-modeling
office-connect third-party-apps
partners partners
peoplemix third-party-apps
redbrick-list redbrick-list
retail-list third-party-apps
sapmix third-party-apps
u2-list development
xps xps

As you can see the change is not too traumatic.

If you subscribe to one of the SIGs that is affected you will receive an email from me inviting your feedback. Then, assuming that the feedback is generally positive we will proceed with the consolidation. Again, for existing subscribers, we will not consolidate you without your agreement. This means that you will get a further email from me asking if you wish to subscribe to the new SIG. The process to confirm your subscription is very simple and I hope that you will renew in the new groups.

All of this is going to happen in December when we upgrade to our new server.

SIG visibility. With the implementation of our new server we will be making the SIG’s available in read only mode to the general public. You still need to be a member to post messages. This is a service to help new Informix uses find the treasure of information that exists in the SIGs.

David Fraser
Board of Directors
International Informix Users Group

A pop quiz on Informix past, present and future

Did you know that Janet Perna, the general manager of IBM Information Management software (the division of IBM that owns Informix), recently retired? I first spoke to Janet in 2001, on the day IBM announced it would purchase Informix. We constantly debated the merits of Informix over the next years. Janet asked me to “embrace all IBM technology, as it was first class.” And she was right: IBM technology is first class. And, Janet, you’re also first class. Good luck in all your future endeavors.

Did you know that Perna’s successor, Ambuj Goyal, is an IBM veteran and was most recently general manager of the Lotus Division? Not long ago, I had the chance to meet Goyal and spend an hour with him. When I asked about his plans for Informix, he told me, “I love all my children,” referring to the many databases in the IBM Information Management portfolio. And, from what he told me, he loves all his children equally, especially those products that make money for IBM. Guess what? Informix makes money for IBM.

Did you know that some people still believe Informix will go away? I want to bury these rumors. Informix won’t be going away. In fact, after my meeting with Goyal, I felt quite happy about what I believe will be in store for Informix. Things are looking better than they have since the acquisition announcement.

Did you know that Informix was founded 25 years ago in California by Roger Sippl? The company was then called Relational Database Systems, and its products were known as Informix database software. In the early years, the tools (such as SQL, Perform, Ace, ESQL, and 4GL) were sold and the database was given away for free. That changed years later when the database was opened up to work with other products. When the company went public in the 1980s and changed its name to Informix Corp., it became the number-one performing stock based on percentage stock gain during the period from Jan. 1, 1990, to Dec 31, 1995, for any U.S. stock exchange.

I recently read The Real Story of Informix and Phil White (Sand Hill Publishing, 2005). Written by Steve Martin (no, not that Steve Martin), who worked for Informix during the 1990s, the book sheds a lot of light on the company’s history. I highly recommend the book, available at http://www.storyofinformix.com (IIUG members even get a $4.00 discount).

Did you know that after pulling off a successful joint conference in 2005, the IIUG and IDUG are joining forces for a conference in 2006? Joe Burns and Cindy Lichtenauer will lead the event in Tampa, Fla., May 7 to 11. This will be the largest gathering of Informix users in the world, so mark your calendar for 2006 and visit /conf for more details.

Did you know that the IIUG Web site offers more than 25 special interest groups via email or Web-based forums on everything from database engines to tools and has the largest known repository of Informix tools, programs, tips, and tricks anywhere? That may be why IIUG membership (which, by the way, is free) is up more than 50% since the IBM buyout.

Did you know IBM has a special tele-sales marketing organization to help IBM business partners market their IBM-related products at no charge? Informix partners have used this unique cross-brand lead generation program to reach out to small and midsize business customers using IBM representatives. The team’s mission is to promote partner solutions that include IBM software components. This service showcases the global cooperation between IBM and Informix partners and resellers. Please contact William Freiwah at wfreiwah@ca.ibm.com for more information (and tell him Stuart sent you).

And, finally, did you know that sales of Informix are up quarter over quarter at IBM? Please encourage anyone with concerns about Informix’s future to send me a note at /president.

By Stuart Litel

Stuart Litel is CTO of Kazer Inc. and President of the International Informix Users Group.

The IDS V10.0 World Tour Recap

First of a 4-part series on “Informix@IBM”

This year has been incredibly busy for the IDS team. I have personally visited 9 countries, 30+ US cities…all to “evangelize” the largest IDS release since version 9. Many of the trips were very hectic – sometimes 4 cities in 4 days across two countries. They included Infobahns, T3’s (training for partners and IBM folks), and Informix User Groups – and more than I could cover by myself. Jacques Roy, Christine Normile, Danilo Novelli, Manny Corniel, Jerry Keesee, and others have also addressed similar crowds in many countries this year – we were just “too busy” and had to pull many IDS folks into the mix. This is a great sign for the Informix faithful.

Many asked “how could you do it?” alluding to the schedule and how our team could physically stay sharp and cover so much ground. My take on this is simple – it IS hard work, but right now it’s very important work for the future of IDS. As mentioned, IDS v10.0 is the largest release since v9.x, so there is much to talk about with respect to architecture, features, and future technical direction of the product.

Some highlights of the tour….

  • Close to 100 partners, clients, and developers attended the IDS Infobahn in Argentina. Nearly 200 in the Prague Infobahn.
  • Very good client visits in many countries – including Brazil, Malaysia, Argentina, and Belgium. In almost all cases, this gave the clients confidence to go forward and renew, purchase, and make future plans for the continued use of IDS.
  • T3’s – 2 days of technical training on IDS v10.0 features and functionality, held in Tokyo, Denver, Atlanta, and other locations.
  • A very successful Infobahn in Tokyo, including Janet Perna speaking on the future of IDS. In attendance were many clients and partners. At this Infobahn I received the first request for a help to migrate Oracle applications to Informix. Eventually we started the development of the Oracle-to-Informix MTK, or Migration Toolkit. It is still in development, but it’s very exciting to have requests from multiple clients for this.
  • I visited 30+ US Informix User Groups to continue “evangelizing the clear message” to Informix users.

Everywhere we traveled, we turned heads. We closed many deals for purchase or renewals of IDS, mostly due establishing a new confidence about the future of IDS. We were asked to visit mostly because clients still didn’t believe that IDS is here to stay. This is largely due to the mixed messages that clients have been getting over the past 4 years with respect to IDS and DB2. That message “officially” changed in August of 2004 – that IDS is a flagship database product for IBM, particularly in the OLTP space. But to completely change the message has taken time – and many road miles.

I do continue to receive many emails from clients still concerned about the future of IDS. After all these miles, this seems a bit surprising, but I realize that the continued requests shows that there are still more clients we haven’t touched yet. So we have more chances going forward to solidify “IDS’ rightful place in the industry – and in the IBM portfolio.” So again, we are lining up visits as fast as we can. Our team will still continue to visit, webcast, write, develop, and shake the hands of our IDS clients…until IDS has again taken its rightful place – as a database market leader.

In my next article, I will cover “Proof of Life: IDS@IBM”, highlighting “proof points” that should show conclusively that IDS is here to stay – for our clients, and for the Informix faithful.

Mark Scranton
Informix Technical Evangelist – Worldwide Team

Chat with the Lab

Our December Chat with the Lab will be Thursday, December 8 at 11 AM Eastern Standard Time:

Indexing and Fragmentation Strategies by Mark Scranton.

This month we are joining the Informix Users Forum meeting being held in Atlanta at Home Depot. The session begins on a Thursday which is why we are departing from our normal Wednesday session. Mark Scranton will be discussing Indexing and Fragmentation Strategies. Mark is a Worldwide Technical Strategist for Informix. Jerry Keesee, Director of the Informix Lab, will be kicking the session off.

Please RSVP to: https://ww4.premconf.com/webrsvp/register?conf_id=8964976

Save the date: Our next Chat will be Wednesday, February 8, 2005. There will be no Chat in January.

Replays of previous Chats may be found at:


PHP driver for Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) – beta release

Are you looking for an optimized PHP driver for Informix Dynamic Server (IDS)? IBM has recently contributed a PHP Data Objects (PDO) driver for IDS to the open source community.

The driver is now available:


I had to try MySQL

As some of you already know, I had a bit of free time lately and I investigated MySQL (and PHP). “Why should I keep using IDS when I can get a freebie for free?” Well, this was my initial thinking…

When you get to download the product, it’s a bit faster than to get to an IBM evaluation product. You also need to look for GUI tools elsewhere, which is at first cumbersome. You go back and forth to find what you really need. You really need to pick 2 of them, the MySQL Administrator and MySQL Query Browser. Both tools are far beyond what one can find in excellent AGS ServerStudio. Client connectivity also needs to be downloaded separately.

Installation is pretty straightforward.

One “cool” thing I found was “backuping”. MySQL Administrator has a “single file” backup capability (in a .sql file). So I now archive seven databases in just one SQL file. When backbiters say it’s not possible to back up Oracle data, they should switch to MySQL. I must admit I voluntarily did not try to break the backup tool. I use it on four different web sites, archiving CMS data. The web sites are filled with plenty of read-only data, so there is practically almost no risk (and I cron’ed a backup every 12 hours and the data is mostly recoverable).

Security was really my most painful experience with MySQL. The default user “seems” to be root and you initially start the database with no password. You need to create at least a user and grant it most rights if you plan on using the administration tools remotely. Then you “grant” access to user using SQL commands or the MySQL Administrator tool. You can limit connectivity by your client’s IP address or name (actually, I did not manage to make the machine’s name work). Finally, it gets on your nerves and you grant every right to every user connecting from everywhere. That’s the right way to do security. Oh… Don’t forget to flush the privileges after you ran all those granting SQL commands; otherwise you’re lost.

I did not find system tables, but a system database called “mysql”. The system tables in this database even contain help text… I think Art Kagel would be sad (mad?) not to be able to play with all the systables… It’s a clever system, it does not need anything as complex as systables…

I am still in the early stages in discovering all the features, but I am not excited about the whole story.

Then I studied pricing. It is free as long as you hope it’s going to work. There is no license cost. However, support fees range from Basic at 245₠/server/year (that was a few trillions of USD at the beginning of the year, now about $285) to about 4,000₠/server/year (about $4,650). The supported version includes a “pro version” of MySQL, which does not look like Open Source anymore.

Is the global TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) only a license cost away? Well, it really looks like it is and IDS Express starts at only 633₠ (which turns out to be only $624, thanks to IBM France) – ok, that’s a base price where you add users, but you can also get discounts, so…

Finally, there are also political reasons to make the choice. Reliance in the vendor is one. Alliances is another. Owner of the technology is another:

“October 7, 2005 – Oracle Corporation announced the acquisition of Finland-based Innobase OY. Innobase is the developer of discrete transactional database technology, InnoDB, that is distributed under an open source license. […] InnoDB is not a standalone database product: it is distributed as a part of the MySQL database. InnoDB’s contractual relationship with MySQL comes up for renewal next year. […]”.

If after all you still consider MySQL as a viable choice, you may be right for small, non critical applications, for which I’d use derby (oops, cloudscape)… MySQL managed to fill a niche when no Open Source database was available. Now, as the market matures, we should be more critical and careful in our choices.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The author has provided some post-Insider clarifications at /news/articles/mysql_jgp.html.)

Jean Georges Perrin

IBM developerWorks Informix zone

The Informix zone in IBM developerWorks can be reached at the following URL:


It is a valuable source of technical information.

Introduction to the TimeSeries DataBlade
Sean R. Durity (sdurity@cornercap.com)
27 Oct 2005

Date and time-stamped data is growing at tremendous rates. The Informix® TimeSeries DataBladeTM offers powerful tools for storing, manipulating, and accessing this type of data. Data architects and programmers can learn how to use this DataBlade to shrink data storage and improve processing time for time-related data. The article concludes with real-world advice based on 3 years of production use.

When to step to the plate
The Informix TimeSeries DataBlade was designed to help Informix users better handle time-related data. Using the object-relational technology built into the Informix Dynamic Server, the TimeSeries DataBlade reduces the size of the data, speeds up processing across that data, and provides a new set of tools for analyzing it. As the User’s Guide presents, the performance gains can be remarkable. Space can be reduced by 55%. Processing can be up to 30 times faster. It is truly a useful technology for a specific data problem.

The TimeSeries DataBlade works on large sets of date-time-based data. Examples are: stock/financial data (this is the primary example in the User’s Guide), audit trails or logs, monitoring statistics, weather, seismic readings, and billing. The TimeSeries DataBlade can be paired with the Real-Time Loader to handle huge volumes of streaming, real-time data. Because of the difficulty of migrating TimeSeries data and schemas, TimeSeries is best used with known data schemas that are unlikely to change.

If you are interested in this article you can go to it directly at:


IBM Express Runtime Integration with Gillani IDistribute V8.2

Gillani is currently working with IBM on integrating iDistribute V8.2 – an end-to-end Supply Chain Management Solution, and Gillani Financials (formerly FourGen Accounting) – with IBM Express Runtime. IBM Express Runtime provides packaging and installation technology to create and deploy complete business solutions across multiple platforms and offers a cohesive set of middleware components as a single offering. Gillani/FourGen solutions are deployed by customers on IDS, SE and IDS Workgroup Edition. Now users will have the option to run the applications on IDS Express as well.

IBM Express Runtime contains a variety of integrated components to serve as a scalable yet robust environment to deploy applications. Following is the list of components that is included in the IBM Express Runtime product:

  • IBM Informix Dynamic Server or IBM DB2 Universal Database as part of middleware offering.
  • IBM WebSphere Application Server to support JSP and servlets.
  • IBM HTTP Server and Plug-In to support your Web Environment.
  • Solution Assembly Toolkit to provide development and deployment of tools for creating and delivering a complete Solution Package.
  • IBM Express Runtime Console – an integrated solutions console – to allow developers to create a dashboard to manage their entire set of solutions, locally or remotely. This Console will also allow third party products to be easily integrated into the application solutions environment.
  • IBM Rational Web Developer – an application development environment – to build and maintain J2EE apps & Web Services.

In all, the Integration process will provide Gillani’s customers a seamless & smooth installation process and will have multiple options to choose the type of middleware and web services components at the time of installation. The timeline for the release of Integration process is set for the end of this quarter (Q4 2005). For more information, visit http://www.gillani.com.

Calendar of events

December – 2005
Date Event Location
8-9 Informix Forum
More information available at: /waiug/present/Forum2005/Forum2005.html
Atlanta, Georgia
May – 2006
7-11 IDUG/IIUG North America Conference
More information available at /conf
Tampa, Florida

Useful links

In response to your input, we have created a 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: Gary Ben Israel
Stuart Litel
Jean Georges Perrin

For comments, please send an email to gary@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.