IIUG Insider (Issue #200) February 2017

Highlights: Elections for the IIUG board of directors

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.



Welcome to issue 200 of the IIUG Insider.

Issue 1 was published in May 2002. The editors where Fred Hubbard and David Smith.

Since then we had JGP, me, David Frazer and me again.

My feeling is that the Insider is constantly improving. I hope you share my feeling.

Our future plans are to add search capabilities on all the issues, to enable you to vote on articles and adding a version fit for cell phones.

If there are any other improvements you would like to see in the future drop me an email.

Gary Ben-Israel

IIUG Insider Editor
IIUG Board of Directors

For the 100 issue I am glad to add an editorial by all the past editors. Enjoy.

Editorials by past editors

Congratulations Informix community and IIUG! Your e-zine has come to its 100th edition, and it has come a long
way. From a short text e-mail message that nurtured IIUG members around the world, to the full-fledged HTML monthly it now is, full of news and information to help you best utilize IBM’s information management portfolio of Informix products and supportive software. I’m proud to have been part of the original effort and wish all of you and the IIUG Insider all the best.

Fred Hubbard, past IIUG President

I served on the Board for a little less than two years after being elected in 2001. I was retiring from the Az Game and Fish Department after 30 years with them. I was their Enterprise Systems Administrator and Informix Database Systems Administrator. I had always given a lot of credit to Informix for providing a reliable product that needed very little oversight and made me look good. Since I had a Journalism background, helping out with the Insider was a natural fit for me, and it helped free Fred up some for his role as President of the Board. I took pride in trying to make the Insider as dependable and reliable as Informix had been in my experience. I am glad that it continues to be a valuable source of useful information for IBM/Informix professionals.
I was on the Board when IBM bought Informix and helped dispel the fears that everyone would be forced to migrate to DB2. It appears that IBM was true to their word. I still receive and enjoy perusing the Insider, however I no longer work with Informix software now that I am retired.
It was truly a great and enjoyable experience. We initiated the Insider as a twice-monthly newsletter during my tenure as an editor. It replaced a twice-monthly Alert and a quarterly E-Newsletter, hoping to combine the best of both products.

Congratulations on reaching issue 100!

Dave Smith, Retired

I hated databases. Long ago (well, not as long ago as Stuart or Gary), but quite some time ago, I was a student. I graduated in IT. IT was real cool. I really enjoyed complex (for me at that time) data structure like linked list, double linked list, graphs and doing their implementation in C and C++. This was cool… Later in my curriculum, I took databases. Our professor tried to explain us how cool databases were, through relational algebra, normal forms…

Guess what… My whole class loved a lot more doing C and C++ than just trying to understand what SQL was even aiming at doing.
After that we went through practice using probably-the-most-famous-database of that time (and, no it was not MySQL, I DO SHAVE, I am not that young).

Guess what… If you did not love 3NF, you could not really enjoy the rest of it…
And who cared. I was a kid, I decided I hated databases and let’s not think more about it. I would go on cod’in C or C++ or even doing more fun things like 3D graphics (at least, at that time, you could sleep between the rendering of two pictures). Yeah, life was so much more fun without databases.

Guess what… I graduated. I even found a job. I had to work with databases.
Okay… This was not very serious database business, we used Dbase and Access, but you still need to understand (a little) about SQL. It was boring… but the Internet was starting to be a very serious game…

Guess what… I was hired by Four J’s.
I then discovered Informix, through 4GL, through version 7, through Set Net 32 (which I still hate) and found Informix a pleasant engine to work with. From an application developer stand point, I found it relaxing. Finally something where I could store the data and concentrate on the business logic of my applications.

Guess what… I discovered the Informix community.
You! Yes, you, as you are reading this 100th issue of the Insider. You as part of the community. I could not stand it, I had to be part of it. I ran for the board and you elected me there. That was back in 2002.

Guess what… I kept my basic life as an application developer.
Then I met a lot of people in our great community. Advocated Informix among our community. Discovered new friends.

Guess what… I became famous!
Yes! Look at the picture of David Stern (link to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Stern) who came to greet me on an official IIUG event! Look it’s really him and me with my Board shirt!

Guess what… You should care about your online reputation!
Okay this was just a joke. I met David Stern at an NBA game and I was pretty honored to shake his hand while Stuart was taking a picture with his cell phone.

Jean Georges Perrin

“Hello.” Trev said as I poked my head in his door. He was slumped over his keyboard, eyes about 10 inches from the computer screen. He frowned. “You back then.” And he unceremoniously pointed to a dog chewed chair tucked untidily under old manuals, papers and a dead pizza box.

“Look at this,” Trev was never one for a two way conversation….his voice alone was sufficient to entertain him. He was pointing to numbers and stuff on his screen. Perhaps I should have known what he was showing me but, I confess, I did not. A year away from Informix meant the very little I know, I know not… now… if you get know what I mean.

He did not wait for an answer. “Its very fast.” I raised one quizzical eyebrow. “The database dummy… you know Informix. I’m writing an online game… big stuff… It’s going to make me a fortune.”. He stopped, looked at me as if I had just arrived.

“Hello?” Was this Ground hog day I wondered.

“Gary asked me to write an editorial for the Insider.” I said.

“The what?” he grunted. I ignored him. “Anything you want to say?”

Trev sat back and looked at me like I was the cold fag end of the pizza he ate yesterday. “Yep,” he paused, “they are doing a lot better this last year.” “Who?” I asked.

“The IIUG Board you goof.” he shot back.

“Look at the Insider,” he was warming to his task, “way better quality since Gary got back in charge. Didn’t understand a word you wrote, when you had it!”, he paused, “and then look at the conference last year… best ever I hear.” “They’ve got new programs, new people, new energy. Good thing you left, I’d say.”

This conversation was clearly not going my way.

“But…” I protested but he would not have a bar of it.

“You tell them, from me, “Don’t stop now”.” he was like a train on full steam. “You tell them to keep pushing that big blue IBM outfit to give them money to get those conference and events and training out over here, up into China and Malaysia and India. This is where it is happening boy. The world has moved on and the IIUG has gotta move too.”

He stopped and looked at me. “You going to the conference next year?” he asked. I shook my head sheepishly. “Sadly, no.” I replied.

“Good” and he looked up and smiled. “Might go myself this year, see Stuie and the ganders, good to talk to real people with brains….. close the door as you leave will you”.

But I had already left.

So, my friends, I wish the IIUG my very best wishes for 2009 and my sincere condolences, should Trev bother to turn up. J

Finally, on behalf of thirty seven million sheep, Haera Ra.

David Frazer

What was I doing on May 2002 when Issue #1 was published

May 17, 2002 was a very hot day. The temperature in Jerusalem was over 100 degrees. (Fahrenheit, water boils at 100 degrees Celsius). Spam was not the major part of our received email and we had time to read unexpected emails from unknown sources. So when the first Insider landed in my Inbox I took my time and read it.

Informix was then as it is today the core of our data management system. We were on IDS 7.31.

It was an outstanding version, with high performance and low maintenance.

Today we are on IDS 11.5 and I can say the same.

Our 4GL did not change, we were then as we are today on 4GL 6.

I always liked reading the Insider. It brought relevant content to my desktop sparing me the need to search.

An unknown guy named Fred did the hard work for me.

Today I am doing the hard work bringing the content to your desktops.

I hope you enjoy it.

Gary Ben-Israel

Unfortunately, in 2002 I was working for a group at Bloomberg that had nothing to do with Informix or any other RDBMS I was busy writing reports.
The only thing I had to do with IDS at all was mentoring the seven DBAs they hired to replace me as DBA in 2000 and helping them to cross train some of the ten DB2 DBAs BB had hired when IBM tried to talk them into converting to DB2 on IDS. I didn’t move into the Trading Systems Group to do IDS related development again until late in 2003.

I did speak at the WAIUG Conference in Virginia that year which was the first time I met many within the Informix community face-to-face.

Art Kagel

In May 2002, I was preparing to leave a job that had been eliminated by IBM, after they bought Informix. I had worked at the Informix/Lenexa office for 12 years and was very sad about having to leave a place I loved.

Cindy Lichtenauer

In May 2002, Kate was in the middle of a huge project to update all The Home Depot stores (about 1400+ at the time) from version 5.03 to 7.31. Informix was on version 9.2 but was still too unstable for us to gamble using it on all the stores. It was a good move, as 9.2 was not any faster for us than 7.31. Kate was serving her second term as President of the South East Informix Users Group (SEIUG), having replaced Walt Hultgren (who needed a break).

Kate Tomchik

It was a dark and stormy night. While rain gently fell, lightning flashed almost non-stop immediately followed by loud claps of thunder that reverberated through the canyons formed by the downtown office buildings, shaking people to their core. Huddled around a small table in the upstairs area of a restaurant, a group of five people talked quietly yet purposely. They reflected on the current state of affairs and decided they needed to try and change the world. As they walked out into the storm later that evening, they had no idea what that conversation would lead to.

No, this isn’t one of Snoopy’s many attempts to write a novel, nor is it the treatment for a movie or TV show dealing with contemporary world events. Rather it reflects where and how the IIUG you now belong to was born. At the Tampa Worldwide Informix Conference (WWIC), Lester Knutsen, Walt Hultgren, Cathy Kipp, Malcolm Weallans and yours truly had dinner in a raging thunder storm and hatched the idea of creating the organization that came to be known as the IIUG.

As I sit here today looking back at what the organization has become, I am just amazed at how it has grown and thrived. It has become everything we, the original founders hoped it would. While I am not nearly as involved in the organization as I once was, there are a number of things I am particularly proud to have been involved with.

First is the role of advocacy. We worked hard to become your voice to Informix; to help them know what was important to you from a technical as well as a business perspective. It took a while but eventually the company came around and the organization, represented by the IIUG Board, became very involved in product direction, strategy and support discussions. Perhaps the most visible success during my direct involvement was the porting of the database engines and 4GL to Linux. While it appears as a no brainer today, in the early to mid 1990s Linux was just starting to appear on the enterprise computing horizon and no one really knew whether or not it would ever become an important component of that world. A number of us in the IIUG pushed Informix very hard for almost two years. Eventually Informix became the very first major database company to release products on Linux. I was looking through some old IIUG material a couple of weeks ago and found some of the announcement and marketing material for this launch with the famous snapshot of Neil Armstrong’s first moon footprint as the campaign centerpiece.

I know that under IBM, the IIUG continues to be a critical voice to the development community in terms of shaping product futures. Unfortunately, the lumbering bureaucracy that is IBM business management is not nearly as nimble, far sighted, or responsive to customer needs so the organization has not been as successful there as they would probably like but the Board continues to fight on your behalf to make things better.

Second is education. It started with a simple but radical idea for Informix. We told the Informix conference committee we wanted our own track of sessions at the WWIC because we felt the technical content at the conferences was a little shallow. We called to the organization to submit proposals for sessions and were very pleasantly surprised at the depth and breadth of the ideas submitted. At the first conference we were stunned at the turnout. Every single session was literally filled to overflowing. One of the most exciting sessions, which still continues to this day, is the Ask the Experts panel of key development and support personnel to answer “how it works” questions. The IIUG continued to sponsor educational tracks throughout the rest of the WWICs, then after the IBM acquisition, at the IBM Data Management conferences. As the IIUG continued to grow, so did the need for, and the desire to provide, deep technical education. Last year, the IIUG sponsored their first completely independent user conference. It was a complete success. Next year’s conference has already been announced and I’m sure will be bigger and better than last year’s.

The last thing I’d like to mention is support for local user groups. Back in the dark ages when I was an end-user of the products, I started a local user group, which, I’m happy to note, is still alive and functioning. Back then it was very difficult to do. There was no one to turn to for ideas on how to create and organize a group, where and how to get external speakers, what worked and didn’t work for activities. One of the first subgroups we created when starting the IIUG was a council for all the local user group officers to participate in. Called the Informix User Group Leadership Council (IUGLC commonly referred to as the “ugly-c”), it became the main avenue for local groups to share ideas and get speakers as well as provide the IIUG Board with additional insight into what the end-user community needed it to do on their behalf. This support continues today overseen by a IIUG Board member tasked to be the Local User Group (LUG) liaison (aka the “LUG nut”).

I am very proud to have been part of the “founding five” that created the IIUG. It was fun and exciting times. I got to know a lot of very good, dedicated people who really cared about the Informix community and wanted to make it better. I am in awe of what that organization has accomplished on your behalf and with the assistance of many of its members. It is as viable today as ever. It is needed as much, if not more so today than ever before. Those on the IIUG Board are as committed to your success and needs as we were. But they can’t do it alone. I would strongly encourage you to get involved with IIUG activities whether at a local level on your LUG’s organizing committee or any of the IIUG committees such as the conference planning committee. You’ll get to meet some great people and have a lot of fun.

Congratulations on this, the 100th edition of the IIUG Insider. Another great resource for the Informix community to get information about what’s happening through the Informix world. Here’s to another 100 editions.

Carlton Doe

On May 2002 when the first Insider was published I did nothing.

How could I. I was born on July 2007 as a one-eyed, fat-headed, Informix bigot.

Hence I could not sing my favorite IDS 7 song with Fred and Dave.

But no worries I will have a great deal to say about what I was doing when issue 100 was published in the 200 issue.

Hei kona ra



Elections for the IIUG Board of Directors

The IIUG is electing a new board of directors. Nominations closed February 27. Elections will be announced March 13 and will take place March 27 to April 10. We will announce the results April 24 at the IIUG Event in Raleigh.

Good luck to all nominees.

Gary Ben-Israel

Conference corner

Register for IIUG 2017 by March 15 to save $100

You have less than TWO WEEKS to register for IIUG 2017 and still save $100 before “late registration” begins. The $1350 price is good through midnight EST March 15th, MINUS the $150 IIUG Member discount, which adds up to $1200 for the full 3 day event plus a full day of in-depth tutorials. So why wait, register today, https://www.iiug2017.org/register.php.

This year, as in past years, we have great sponsors who will participate at IIUG 2017. Many tried and true sponsors are returning and we have one new sponsor! You will definitely want to take some time to meet with these sponsor to see what they have to offer. Of course, we have our Platinum Sponsor IBM – without Informix and their support there would be no IIUG 2017. Three Gold Plus Sponsors: Four Js, Kazer and M Systems International. Finally, our Patron Sponsors: Advanced DataTools and ASK Database Management. We will be updating the website when new sponsors sign up.

Tutorials and HOLs have been finalized

We are also finalizing the session schedule and hope to have that available shortly so you to start planning your conference. The good news is: tutorials and hand-on-labs have been finalized:

Tutorials include:

  • Capturing IoT data from network’s edge to corporate server, a hands-on experience
  • Defining a TimeSeries schema and loading TimeSeries data
  • JC’s Kernel Lab
  • How to build an End-to-End Solution for Evaluating Sensor Data with Informix
  • Web application development with Informix, Node.js and custom REST interfaces
  • Informix Data Availability workshop

Hands-On-Labs include:

  • Relational vs. TimeSeries smack down
  • Informix Change Data Capture API
  • Encryption at Rest
  • Informix with Docker

Stay updated on additions and changes to sessions on the website at http://iiug2017.org/sessions.

Don’t forget our Keynote speaker John Cohn.

The event will begin on the evening of Sunday, April 23rd with a welcome reception, continue Monday, April 24th, with three days of technical presentations spanning 6 professional tracks and closing on Thursday April 27th with a full day of tutorials, included for all paid attendees. There will be nearly 100 technical presentations with topics covering performance tuning, database management, SQL (and NoSQL!), application development, Apache Spark, Security and effective product usage. Extensive coverage of Informix 12.10 xC8 will be first and foremost among the “hot-topics.” So REGISTER before March 15 2017!
IIUG 2017 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.

TOP 14 RFE’s

Abstract Status Votes Progr.
In-Place Alter for varchar, lvarchar and boolean Under Consideration 53 +4
Backup from RSS or HDR Secondaries using ontape, onunload, onbar, dbexport Under Consideration 50 +1
SQL interface to obtain the temporary space usage (tables, hash, sorts…) Submitted 48 +1
Obtain the query plan of a running query Under Consideration 42 +3
Request to track and save a time stamp for last time an index was used. Nee… Submitted 36 0
Backup Individual database, not entire instance Submitted 29 0
ALTER owner of database objects after creation

Submitted 27 0
New feature to have FORCE_DDL_EXEC functionality for all DDL changes Submitted 23 0
Implement CREATE OR REPLACE option for stored procedures Under Consideration 22 0
Implementation of regular expressions (adding to LIKE/MATCHES functions) Under Consideration 22 0
SQL interface to obtain the temporary space usage (tables, hash, sorts…) Declined 19 0
Allow triggers install/updates without taking an outage for the box Under Consideration 18 +1
Allow “group commit” as other RDBMS Under Consideration 17 0
Need an onmode option to terminate orphaned, tightly coupled global transac… Under Consideration 17 0
Ability to re-create views and procedures without dependent objects being dropped (34762 Under consideration 14 0

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 enhancements you would like to see implemented.

Gary Ben-Israel

Works for me

In this section I will write about things that help me in my day to day work. Most DBAs probably have their own ways to perform these tasks which may be different than the way I do them. So, if you find an error or can think of a better way, please let me know. If not feel, free to use these tips as is or modify them to fit your needs.

This time it is actually Works for Vincente who sent me the following cool SQL.

This SQL statement is retrieving session information and analyzes which session is creating more IO Waits in Informix Engine. A lot of tricks are present in this SQL, so I hope people will enjoy:

max(trim(a.username)||'@'||trim(decode(length(a.hostname),0,'localhost',a.hostname))::lvarchar) as user,
max(a.progname) as progname,
trunc(sum(c.cpu_time),2) as cpu_time,
trunc(sum(b.iowaittime),2) as iowaittime,
sum(b.upf_isread) as isreads, sum(b.upf_iswrite) as iswrites,
sum(b.upf_isrwrite) as isrewrites, sum(b.upf_isdelete) as isdeletes,
sum(b.upf_iscommit) as iscommits, sum(b.upf_isrollback) as isrollbacks,
sum(b.upf_seqscans) as seqscans, sum(b.nreads) as pagereads,
sum(b.nwrites) as pagewrites, sum(b.upf_srtspmax) as max_sortdiskspace,
case when bitval(max(b.flags), '0x4') > 0 then 'Lock'
when bitval(max(b.flags), '0x2') > 0 then 'Latch'
when bitval(max(b.flags), '0x10') > 0 then 'Checkpoint'
when bitval(max(b.flags), '0x8') > 0 then 'Buffer'
when bitval(max(b.flags), '0x1000') > 0 then 'LogBuffer'
when bitval(max(b.flags), '0x40000') > 0 then 'Transaction'
when max(c.wreason) > 0 then max(c.wait_reason)
else 'None' end as waitingfor
from sysscblst a, sysrstcb b, systcblst c
where a.sid = b.sid
and a.sid != DBINFO('SESSIONID')
and b.tid = c.tid
group by a.sid, a.pid
having max(c.wait_reason) = "IO Wait"
order by 6 desc

Vicente Salvador

Calendar of events

April – 2017

Date Event Location Contact
23-27 IIUG 2017 Raleigh, NC, USA

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

  • Informix Experts at: https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/community/blogs/idsteam?lang=en *NEW*

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

  • The IIUG forums at /forums/technical.php
  • Informix Marketing channel on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/informixmarketing?feature=results_main
  • IBM DATABASE MAGAZINE at http://www.ibmdatabasemag.com
  • Credentials, the IBM Certification Newsletter at http://www-03.ibm.com/certify/email/201307credentials.shtml
  • The Informix Zone at http://www.informix-zone.com
  • There is now an Informix group on LinkedIn. The group is called “Informix Supporter”, so anyone loving Informix can join, from current IBM employees, former Informix employees, to users. It will also be a good occasion to get in touch with others or long-time-no-seen friends. If you fancy showing the Informix logo on your profile, join. To join, simply go to: http://www.linkedin.com/e/gis/25049/5E4B2048E558

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

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.