IIUG Insider (Issue #75) September 2006

Highlights: IBM Information On Demand 2006: October 15-20 2006, Anaheim, CA; IBM To Unleash Cheetah, The Next Informix IDS Release

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.



Editorial Back to top

In a few days I will be on my way to Vienna for the first full technical Informix conference in Europe. We worked hard to bring the best speakers and great technical content to the European users’ doorstep. We were under the impression our users are interested in having this event. We backed our feelings with survey results.

I must say I am disappointed with the current status of registration. It seems European Informix users don’t share our enthusiasm. Is it the price? The dates or lack of support from your management? I have no idea. If you are a European Informix user, please, write me a short email and tell me why you didn’t attend and would you attend the 2007 conference in Athens. One line will do. It is very important for us to know if the idea of a conference in Europe is worth pursuing.

Gary Ben-Israel
IIUG Insider Editor
IIUG Board of Directors

Highlights Back to top

IBM Information On Demand 2006: October 15-20 2006, Anaheim, CA.

Register now for the premier information management event for business and IT professionals. IBM’s new five-day event combines the following conferences into one: IBM DB2(®) Information Management Technical Conference; IBM Content Management Technical Conference; Business Intelligence Customer Solutions Summit; IMS Technical Conference; Master Data Management Conference; and Information Integration Live! By combining individual conferences into one global event, you gain access and exposure to the full breadth of IBM Information Management technologies and experts.

More IBM technical and business solutions content will be in one place than ever before! Select from over 800 sessions: a 2 1/2 day business leadership track with 180 sessions and a 5 day technical track with 650 sessions.

Get To Front of the Line

Enrollment for educational sessions, hands on labs, meet the experts sessions and all other programs at the IBM Information On Demand 2006 conference opened on August 15. Register early to get the first choice of classes!

Registration at Information On Demand 2006 includes admission to all 800+ educational sessions and programs, to the huge EXPO Solution Center, to the conference receptions and entertainment, to the conference party at Disney’s California Adventure theme park, and for all conference meals. Information On Demand 2006 will take place in Anaheim, California, 15-20 October 2006.

IBM To Unleash Cheetah, The Next Informix IDS Release

True to its word, IBM continues to update the Informix IDS database, a cult favorite among some database VARs and customers.

The next release, code-named Cheetah, is due to beta this spring and will feature record-level locking, technology carried over from the latest release of IBM DB2, said Arvind Krishna, vice president of database servers for IBM Software’s Information Management Group, Somers, N.Y.

IBM is also making sure the new release will win federal security certifications including the Evaluation Assurance Levels 3 and 4.

The current IDS Version 10 Release Change 5-IDS uses its own release terminology-offers row-level and column-level locking. IDS has long been known for its extensibility, its ability to run for long periods without human intervention, and its ability to handle non-relational object like data.

“IDS fits really well in that space where you don’t need or can’t have a million DBAs. It can go into a DBA-less environment, often hub-and-spoke environments used by branches and retail operations,” Krishna told CRN.

One unnamed customer runs 4,000 physical locations and more than 10,000 instances of the current IDS release with just eight DBAs, he claimed. “If you can show me an Oracle installation [doing that], I’ll buy you the bottle of wine of your choice,” he said.

For the full article by Barbara Darrow, CRN go to:


Conference corner Back to top

IDUG/IIUG Europe Conference Vienna, October 2-6, 2006

Just come and register on site!

The conference is only 3 days away. Come to Vienna and attend this extraordinary educational event. Attend 34 technical sessions by the best presenter from US and Europe, meet your Informix colleagues. Enjoy the lovely city of Vienna.

IDUG/IIUG NA Conference San Jose May 6-10, 2007

Call for presentations for the IDUG/IIUG NA Conference 2007 ended September 1st. We had almost 100 abstracts submitted from both end users and IBM employees! The IIUG CPC will be meeting in Chicago the weekend of September 29th to select the best abstracts and create an agenda for the conference.

There will be 4 tracks again in 2007, jam packed with new and exciting Informix technical content! Stay Tuned.

Informix User Forum 2006

A Two-Day User Group Technical Conference December 8-9, 2006 Washington DC, USA

The Washington Area Informix User Group (WAIUG) and the Southeast Informix Users Group (SEIUG), based in Atlanta, GA, are teaming up to present Informix and DB2 User Forum 2006, the premiere Informix and DB2 regional user group technical conference in the eastern U.S.

The Informix User Forum, previously sponsored biennially by WAIUG, has long had a reputation for excellence in both value and technical content. Now, the two groups have joined forces to evolve the Forum into an annual two-day conference. This year’s event will be held December 8-9 in Washington DC.

Forum 2006 promises to provide even more technical content, plus opportunities to network with fellow users and access to information on the latest vendor offerings. This, combined with a registration fee of US$ 120.00 (pre-register for $80) for the entire conference, makes the value of this event hard to beat.

Call For Presentations

We are currently accepting presentation abstracts for the Forum on Informix and DB2 related topics in any of the areas listed below.

Subjects related to all current DB2, Informix and Informix-heritage products are welcome, as well as products that operate in those environments such as other IBM products, plus third party, Open Source and cross-platform products.

Presenters will receive a complimentary all-conference pass.

The Forum will be organized into three general subject areas or tracks that will run concurrently.

The Application Development track will cover such topics as application development tools and methodologies, application and database architecture, and maximizing application and SQL performance as well as aspects of Informix that provide a distinct edge in application development and processing such as emerging technologies like XML and Web services, operation in cross-platform and heterogeneous environments, and support for Open Source and third-party tools.

The Database Engines and Administration track will feature sessions on topics including database and data warehouse design and administration, performance tuning, backup and restore, and security.

The DB2 track will feature sessions on topics including database and data warehouse design and administration, performance tuning, backup and restore, and security.

Tracks will feature extended session lengths of 70 minutes, which conference goers have said they prefer.

Visit the Forum 2006 Web site /waiug/present/Forum2006/Forum2006.html to find more details about the conference and an on-line application for submitting your presentation abstract.

The on-line application for submitting presentations can also be directly accessed here:


Education Back to top

Information On Demand 2006 Global Conference Pre-Conference Technical Education

Now available at Information On Demand 2006 October 15-20, 2006 are 14 unique pre-conference technical training courses as well as Professional Certification preparation courses to all registered attendees. These courses will deliver more in depth information and skills than is possible in a regular conference session. The technical training courses will cover a wide range of topics addressing some of the hottest issues affecting IBM Customers today! Plan to arrive a day early as the courses will only be available for one day, Sunday, October 15, 2006. Courses will be offered at a discounted rate of $399 USD each. Space is limited, so check out the course descriptions and register early to ensure your seat. Non-registered students may attend courses on a first come first served basis, space permitting.

Complimentary Informix Professional Certification at the IBM Information On Demand 2006 Global Conference

Join us October 15-20 in Anaheim CA for this premier event and get certified for free! Conference attendees will be offered three complimentary certification exams. Certification will be available on Informix software as well as other Information Management software products, WebSphere, Rational, Tivoli, and Lotus software. Many new certifications will be available this year, including Informix Dynamic Server Version 10, XML, Content Management OnDemand, DB2 9, IBM Alphablox and DWE. If you would like to take more than three tests, additional exams will be offered at the conference at a discounted price of $75.00 each. For more information, please visit:


IBM Training eCatalog Fall Edition – Now Available

We just announced new courses and updated courses in the IBM Training Fall eCatalog. Get your skills in shape for fall with one simple click that opens the door to the training information you have been seeking. It has everything you need for your technical training needs!


Learn more
Informix Class from IBM

Get the latest information on Informix courses public training classes from IBM. Recent announcements include:

FN848 Managing and Optimizing IBM Informix Dynamic Server Databases – 4 days
FN613 IBM Informix Structure Query Language – 3 days
L2403 IBM Informix Dynamic Server Performance Tuning – 4 days
MW729 IBM Informix Dynamic Server Advanced Performance Tuning – 5 days
L1846 IBM Informix Dynamic Server Administration – 4 days

Bookmark this page and check back periodically to see all the new courses that get added to our portfolio.


Just Released: IBM Alphablox Professional Certification

Validate your skills and demonstrate your proficiency with Alphablox technology with this new certification. This certification and exam are designed for candidates with knowledge of IBM’s Business Intelligence solutions and the fundamental concepts of relational and multidimensional database technologies, and are capable of performing the intermediate and advanced skills required to design, develop and support custom analytical applications. Upon completion of the Alphablox Certification exam 715 as well as required prerequisites, you can become an IBM Certified Solution Developer – IBM Alphablox.


Informix Chat with the Lab –Informix Executive Roundtable

Wednesday, October 25th 11-12:30 Eastern time.

Hear the latest on Informix from the execs – Jerry Keesee, Director of the Informix Lab; Stuart Litel, President of the International Informix Users Group; and Bruce Weed, Program Director for Informix Marketing. Informix sales are strong, Cheetah development is adding some phenomenal functionality to the product set and the press is saying some very favorable things about IDS. You won’t want to miss this Chat which will include a special IBM/IIUG announcement of an offering exclusively for IIUG members!

RSVP at: http://www.ibm.com/informix/webcasts

Linda Spina
IBM Information Management Sales – Americas

Developer corner Back to top

New on developerWorks

Please visit our site for new and updated content:


Informix Dynamic Server Locking, Part 1:
Understand locking behavior and analyze locking conflicts in IDS

September 7, 2006
This is the first of a two-part article series talking about locking mechanisms in IBM’s strategic data server, Informix(r) Dynamic Server (IDS). IDS is an optimal choice for high-end online transaction processing (OLTP) and embedded solutions. This article helps you to understand locking methodology and assists you in analyzing locking conflicts.


V10 External Directives

We have all been there and found a query that is causing performance problems and we cannot change because

  • It is not your application or a 3rd party application
  • You don’t have the source code access or the developer is unavailable
  • The application is heavily used and can’t be switched without downtime and changing statistics and OPTCOMPIND doesn’t affect

With V10 you can create/save external optimizer directives:

  • External optimizer directives are useful when it is not feasible rewrite a query for a short-term solution to a problem
  • For example, when a query starts to perform poorly.

Note: Rewriting the query by changing the SQL statement is preferable longterm solutions to problems. External directives are for occasional use only. The number of directives stored in the sysdirectives catalog could be excessive.

Saving External directives

The directives are saved in the sysdirectives catalog using the SAVE EXTERNAL DIRECTIVES statement.

SQL Syntax:


SQL Example:

FOR SELECT * FROM customer WHERE zipcode > '00000';

If external directives are disabled then error 9932: External Directives feature is currently disabled is returned.

External Directives also works for queries with host variables and prepared statements, for example:

EXEC SQL SELECT lname, fname INTO :lname, :fname FROM
customer WHERE zipcode > :zipcode;

customer WHERE zipcode > ?';

EXEC SQL EXECUTE zip INTO :lname, :fname USING :zipcode;

Here both queries are handled by this a single directive.

SAVE EXTERNAL DIRECTIVES --+index(customer, zip_ix)
FOR SELECT lname , fname FROM customer WHERE zipcode > ?;

Note: Query must match exactly, including white space, case and carriage returns

Enabling external directives

Environment Variable: IFX_EXTDIRECTIVES

0 = off (default)
1 = on (requires external directives are enabled by the EXT_DIRECTIVES parameter)

Configuration parameter: EXT_DIRECTIVES

0 = off (default)
1 = enabled, but off by default at the session level
2 = enabled and on by default at session level if IFX_EXTDIRECTIVES is not set

You must include one of the ACTIVE, INACTIVE, or TEST ONLY keyword options to enable,disable or restrict the scope of external directives.

Active applies the list of directives to any subsequent query that matches the query string.
Inactive IDS ignores the directive. (It is associated with the query in sysdirectives, but it is dormant, with no effect.)
Test only If external directives are enabled, the TEST ONLY keywords apply the directives only to matching queries that the DBA or user Informix executes. Queries by any other users cannot use TEST ONLY external directives.

The Sysdirectives table

External directives are stored in the sysdirectives system catalog

SELECT * FROM sysdirectives;

id	16
query	select * from customer where zipcode > '00000'
directive	index(customer, zip_ix)
directivecode	<BYTE value>
active	1
hashcode	-2020775465

The DBA or the user informix can update the ‘active’ column to activate/inactivate an external Directive

INACTIVE UPDATE sysdirectives SET ACTIVE = 0 WHERE id = 16;
ACTIVE UPDATE sysdirectives SET ACTIVE = 1 WHERE id = 16;
TEST ONLY UPDATE sysdirectives SET ACTIVE = 2 WHERE id = 16;

Potential Performance Impact

The purpose of external directives is to improve the performance of queries that match the query string, but the use of such directives can potentially slow other queries, if the query optimizer must compare the query strings of a large number of active external directives with the text of every SELECT statement.

For this reason, it is recommended that the DBA not allow the sysdirectives table to accumulate more than a few ACTIVE rows. Another way to avoid unintended performance impact on other queries is to disable this feature.

If more than one SET EXTERNAL DIRECTIVES statements associate active external directives with the same query, the effect is unpredictable, because the optimizer uses the first sysdirectives row whose query string matches the query.

Informix News Back to top

Centrify DirectControl to add Active Directory integration with Informix

Centrify to Deliver Microsoft Active Directory-based Single Sign-On for Popular UNIX-based Databases and SAP R/3

You can find the full article at:


Ladbrokes bets on IBM

Bookmaker Ladbrokes has extended a licensing and maintenance deal with IBM Informix Dynamic Server to run its online betting application OpenBet.

The betting company will upgrade to a new IDS Version Nine platform, which will support its sports books and gaming sites, for the next four years.

You can find the full article at:

Computing on vnunet.com

Computer Weekly
Learn more

IIUG Board Back to top

Webcast Corner

New on the IIUG website:

All the Informix Webcasts, back through 2004 and some even as far as 18th June 2002, are available for download from the IIUG website. Just go to /news/webcasts.html

If you would like to go back to one of webcasts or just looking for excellent technical education by the best Informix experts this is the place to go.

Downloads include PowerPoint presentations and audio replays.

Go to our site and see for yourselves.

If you like it, have ideas for improvement or new ideas please write to me. Your input is important.

Gary Ben-Israel
IIUG Insider Editor

Calendar of events Back to top

October – 2006
Date Event Location Contact
2-6 IDUG/IIUG 2006 – Europe Vienna, Austria Cindy Lichtenauer
15-20 IBM Information on Demand Global Conference Anaheim, California
December – 2006
Date Event Location Contact
8-9 Washington Area Informix Users Group – Forum 2006 Washington DC Lester Knutsen


Useful links Back to top

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 Back to top

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.