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Highlights: 2009 IIUG Informix Conference - Call For Presentations, 100th issue of the IIUG Insider - Call For Stories
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.
The IIUG board of directors met in Atlanta July 31 to August 2. To be more precise we met at the Atlanta Sheraton. We hardly left the hotel. As usual we reported to the board on the status of our tasks, planned our future meetings and conference calls, made plans and set action items to our regular activities: The IIUG Informix conference, The IIUG Insider, Our Web site, Our survey, The SIGs, The LUGs, Sponsors, The IOD conference. We also met wit Christy Maver who is in charge of IBM Data Management Communications, Barbara Benis who is in charge of IDS sales and Adam Gartenberg who is in charge for DM social marketing. Meeting IBM executives enables us to influence IBM and offer our help.
We usually try to maintain and improve our regular activities. Once in a while we start something completely new. In 2005 we partnered with IDUG and offered our membership an Informix conference. In 2008 we took another step and made our own IIUG Informix conference. It was a huge success. The conference was sold out. I highly recommend the IIUG Informix Conference 2009. We increased the capacity but there is a good chance we will be sold out and will not be able to accommodate the demand. So the sooner you register the better.
At the Atlanta meeting we decided to go Web 2.0. It will not happen at once. But you will gradually see it. The main platform will be our Web site but the Insider too will take a step forward giving you searching and voting capabilities and becoming more interactive.
2009 IIUG Informix Conference - Call For Presentations
Share your knowledge and experience with us as a speaker at the IIUG Informix conference.
Proposal Submission Deadline: October 1, 2008
The Conference Planning Committee is currently accepting presentation proposals for the 2009 IIUG Informix Conference, to be held April 26-29 in Overland Park, Kansas USA. The conference provides a forum for the exchange of information among Informix DBAs and developers and is the premier technical Informix event of the year.
This is your opportunity to share your expertise with a global audience of Informix enthusiasts. If you are selected as a speaker, you will receive a complimentary pass that provides access to all break-out sessions, conference-related events and meals.
The Committee is looking for content that will be of interest to all audience levels. Subjects related to all current Informix and Informix-heritage products, or products that operate in those environments such as other IBM products, third party, Open Source and cross-platform products are welcome.100th issue of the IIUG Insider - Call For Stories
The October 2008 issue of the IIUG Insider will be #100.
I would like you to send me stories describing what you were doing in May 2002 when Issue #1 was published.
Story Submission Deadline: October 20, 2008.
Informix @ IOD
Are You Ready for Informix at IOD?
It's less than two months away and this year's Information on Demand Global Conference is looking to be the best yet for Informix events.
October 26-31 2008, Las Vegas, Nevada at the Mandalay Bay Hotel
Let's Get Technical
One of the key advantages of attending the IOD Conference is that you get week-long access to the Informix architects and technical managers. The entire team will be there speaking. You'll be able to hear from and speak with Jerry Keesee, the Informix Director, his Senior Technical Staff Members, architects and technical leaders, including:
Hot off the Press
For those that want to add to their IDS book collection, IOD is the place to go. Carlton Doe will be signing copies of his brand new book, Administering Informix Dynamic Server: Building the Foundation, at the conference bookstore. Additionally, you can pick up FREE copies of the IDS 11.0 and 11.5 books written by Carlton. He will be signing those after Vice President of IBM Data Management Arvind Krishna' keynote, so make sure to look for him there.
Not only do you get to meet with the entire Informix team at the conference, but you will also have the chance to hear what Informix Customers have been up to lately. Several Informix customers are scheduled to speak and share their experiences. When you plan your conference schedule, make sure to look for the following speakers:
Stay tuned for more news about the conference, make sure you're registered, and start planning an Informix filled week.
To register visit: http://www-01.ibm.com/software/data/conf/
Informix Chat with the Lab
IDS 11.5 Continuous Availability Feature (MACH 11)
Monday, September 8th 8 AM Pacific, 10 AM Central, 11 AM Eastern, 4 PM London, 5 PM Paris
The Continuous Availability Feature of IDS 11.5 offers easy and seamless deployment of applications on cluster solutions, providing a rich set of options for high availability (HA) with seamless scalability and lower hardware costs. Cluster nodes can be added dynamically, on demand, as workload increases on the cluster with client connections routed dynamically to any node in a cluster. Configuring, managing and adding cluster nodes are simplified with enhancements to the Open Admin Tool (OAT) that was discussed in the August Chat. Our speakers will be Jerry Keesee, Director of the Informix Lab and Madison Pruet, Senior Technical Staff Member and Informix Replication Architect.
RSVP for this Chat at: https://ww4.premconf.com/webrsvp/register?conf_id=4569387
For assistance by phone, call 800-289-0579 and refer to confirmation number 4569387.
Questions, comments: firstname.lastname@example.orgImprove the performance of your database server!
Enroll in the Advanced Informix Dynamic Server Training Class from Advanced DataTools
Advanced DataTools is excited to announce the following Advanced Informix Dynamic Server training class to be held at the Annandale, Virginia Office (Washington DC Area). This class has been updated to include new features in IDS 11. This 4 day course focuses on optimizing an Informix Database with more than 100% performance improvement. Each student will have a 4 core Linux server with IDS 11 and a large dataset to practice with and benchmark. This Informix course was developed and is taught by Advanced DataTools founder, Lester Knutsen, who is an Informix Certified Professional and a Certified Technical Trainer. Lester is an experienced consultant with a reputation for providing excellent training based on his extensive and up-to-date working knowledge of Informix. And, as always, Advanced DataTools can develop custom courses and will teach onsite if requested.
October 6-9, 2008 — Advanced Informix IDS Performance Tuning and Optimization
For more information, visit http://www.advancedatatools.com.Informix Dynamic Server 11: Extending Availability and Replication
With this new Redbooks publication, learn in detail about the new features in Informix Dynamic Server 11. Understand how the high availability capability and the new replication technologies can increase enterprise productivity.
Download your free copy today!Pre-order your copy of Administering Informix Dynamic Server: Building the Foundation
This long awaited book by Carlton Doe is nearing completion, and you can pre-order your copy with an amazing discount at Amazon.com. With 37% savings off the retail price and free shipping, you'll pay only $37.77 for this detailed book that focuses on the essential skills to administer and maintain the Informix Dynamic Server. This book is a must have for both current and new IDS users.
Order today!Register now for Pre-Conference Education at Information On Demand 2008
Arrive early and get an early start on building your skills by attending one of our full day education classes. These classes will be offered on Sunday only, October 26th, 2008 from 8:30 am to 4:30pm at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Take advantage of preferred attendee pricing of US $399.00 and get a full day of education, delivered by professional IBM instructors. There are currently nine courses available across the Information Management portfolio, including courses for DB2 9.5, IDS, Cognos, Optim and more. These courses prepare you for the complimentary certification offered to attendees throughout the event! Sign up early as seats will be limited.Training Green - Instructor Led Online (ILO)
ILO enables you to train green by eliminating travel and reducing your carbon footprint. With ILO you get the same live instruction and group interaction of traditional classroom courses without the time and expense of travel. Now you can have the best of both worlds!
Train green, think Blue!Hot skills, cool Chumby - Get both with IBM Training
IBM Training helps you keep your skills red hot with intensive hands-on lab classes taught by product experts. Now, attending a class gives you more than in-demand skills. You'll also receive a Chumby: a cool, new, and versatile wireless Internet device that lets you stay connected to your favorite parts of the Web. Enjoy music, news, e-mail, videos, photo sharing and more. Simply enroll in and attend an eligible class by December 12, 2008 to participate in this exciting program.
Start now!IBM Quick Start and Upgrade Services for Informix Dynamic Server 11!
Take advantage of powerful new services for Informix Dynamic Server 11 and optimize your database environment today! The IBM Quick Start Service enables you to get up and running in a short period of time or use our Upgrade Service to move to the newer version of IDS. Whatever your immediate need, choose IBM Software Services!
Quick Start today!Article 3 - Take an inside look at the IBM Data Server Consultants!
Do you want to know how IBM expert Ravi Athmakuri reduced a client's storage footprint with DB2 Deep Compression Technology? What about how IBM expert Gail West greatly improved productivity for a retail company by migrating to a new data warehouse? Meet the minds behind Data Server Services and benefit from their experience!
Read their stories:
Using VERCOLS to eliminate lock contention
The plague of application developers everywhere is lock contention. Articles on the subject are all over the tech media. With the common accessibility of multi-core processors, now even applications designed to reside on a single user desktop machine have to contend with locking issues as concurrent programming becomes a reality. As multi-user database application developers, the Informix community, and most database developer communities, have always had to deal with these issues. Some database vendors have dealt with the issue by avoiding it. They added row versioning and other schemes so that multiple users can view and update data without contention. But there is a cost to those schemes in that they do not scale well in the database engine and increase storage requirements.
The approach taken in all Informix versions from SE through Turbo, Online and Dynamic Server has always been to provide low cost locking and lock wait mode and to depend on developers to reduce contention between users and between applications through intelligent programming. This usually means implementing Optimistic Locking Protocols. Most WEB developers have become familiar with this term, but I am always surprised at the number of non-WEB developers who have never heard of the concept and rely on pessimistic locking to resolve concurrency issues. Now that IDS is once again being recognized as a force in the RDBMS industry, we are going to be seeing more and more developers who have always taken the easy way out and are not familiar with the problem or the solution. Fortunately IDS v 11.50 has added a new feature known as VERCOLS that directly supports high speed, low overhead, implementation of optimistic locking. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start with a review.
Pessimistic vs. Optimistic Locking
Pessimism or optimism in this case refers to the assumption that the application (or the application developer I suppose) makes about whether concurrent updates to a single record or set of related records is possible or common. If you are assuming that any row that your application is about to update may have already accepted a competing and possibly conflicting update between the time you read the row and the time you commit the transaction then you are being pessimistic. If you assume that concurrent updates are unlikely then you are being optimistic. Being optimistic is not the same as being stupid however, there's a difference. In many places it is the law that traffic has to stop when a pedestrian begins to cross the street. The pessimistic pedestrian waits for the traffic signal to change and all of the cars to come to a complete stop before leaving the safety of the sidewalk. The optimistic pedestrian waits for a significant gap in the traffic and looks carefully before beginning to cross and keeps his eyes wide open for trouble. Meanwhile the immensely stupid pedestrian steps out into traffic with his eyes firmly planted on his iPod watching a bootleg copy of the XFiles movie.
Best case, the optimistic pedestrian gets across the street first, worst case, if there's a lot of traffic, he's alongside the pessimistic pedestrian. Our immensely stupid pedestrian, well you can guess.
Many real-world business applications do not require pessimistic locking protocols. As an example, in an insurance claim tracking application it is unlikely that two case workers will be updating the same claim status concurrently. This is because in most insurance claims departments claims are assigned to individual claims clerks, so no one else is likely to be updating a claim but the assigned processor. Is it possible? Sure, a supervisor reviewing a claim may be making a notation on the case at the same time that the assigned processing clerk is entering an invoice from a service provider or an update from the claimant. Generally old work-flow rules that used to require a clerk to remove the file from the filing cabinet when beginning to work on it are still maintained in some form in today's digital world.
The question is do we need to lock the case in order to work on it? The pessimist says, "Of course. Then only one person can update the case at a time and there are not problems. Data consistency is guaranteed." The optimist says, "Not when I start working on it. I can lock the case just before I save my changes and check to make sure that no one else has modified the records I'm updating."
What's wrong with the pessimistic approach? In an RDBMS environment like IDS that lock may prevent other users from accessing other cases also as table scans and index leaf scans will encounter unrelated locks preventing them from continuing. And all heck breaks loose if a user pulls up a record for update and gets a long telephone call or goes out to lunch or home for the day without closing the record and releasing his locks.
What's wrong with implementing the optimistic approach then? Until IDS 11.50, implementing optimistic locking required one of three strategies:
Compare data merging results:
Validate a timestamp or version only.
The first two strategies require fetching the original data twice and comparing many or even every column of data between the original copy and the refetched copy to insure that the data was not modified by another user. This is time consuming and complex to program properly and in the compare and merge strategy the data merging may not be simple to implement requiring checking interrelationships between columns that were not modified by either user. The last strategy is simple to implement in application code, but more complex within the database. One has to include the timestamp or version number validation column in all tables and implement a default and an update trigger for that column so that the value will always correctly indicate the row's status. That's where 11.50 comes in.
IDS 11.50 introduces the concept of VERCOLS. You can CREATE TABLE.... WITH VERCOLS; or ALTER TABLE .... ADD VERCOLS; either of which creates two hidden or shadow columns (that are not included when you use asterisk [*] in a projection list) ifx_insert_checksum and ifx_row_version in the table which are automatically populated when a row is inserted. Also the ifx_row_version column is maintained for you by the IDS engine by being incremented each time the row is modified. This feature was added to support redirected writes from secondary servers in the IDS 11.50 MACH11 feature set and resolve possible update conflicts from multiple secondary servers. However, application developers can also take advantage of the ifx_row_version to simplify optimistic locking. All you have to do is to fetch ifx_insert_checksum and ifx_row_version along with the other data from every table you may be called upon to update. Then after gathering changes from the user, you simply begin a transaction, refetch the ifx_insert_checksum and ifx_row_version columns, and compare their contents to the original values you fetched the first time. If the checksums and versions are all the same, you can proceed to safely update those rows. If not, reject the updates with a message to the user identifying the problem, and let the user start all over again. You have to verify both shadow columns because the ifx_insert_checksum is not changed once the row is inserted but it is guaranteed to be different even if two rows are inserted with identical values in all columns and the ifx_row_version is always one (1) when a row is first inserted. Checking ifx_insert_checksum detects whether a row has been deleted and reinserted with the same key values and ifx_row_version detects whether a row has been updated in place.
Notice that the deleted and reinserted rows have different ifx_insert_checksum values as do the three rows added later, even though all five rows contained the identical data for the columns one and two.New in DeveloperWorks
The IBM Informix Web DataBlade module is a collection of tools and functions with components installed in both the Informix database server and the third-party Web server to ease development of intelligent, interactive, and dynamic Web-enabled Informix database applications. In this tutorial, walk through the steps to set up an Apache (2) compatible Web server, such as IBM HTTP Server 2.0.47, to work with the IBM Informix Web DataBlade Module version 4.13.UC3 on UNIX or Linux platforms.
In this article, learn how to install IBM Informix Dynamic Server 11.50.FC2 on Mac OS X. Understand the various stages of installation, configuring the system kernel parameters, accessing the database server, and customizing the installation for use with embedded applications.
Jump start building custom modules and sharing them as plug-ins using the Plug-in Manager through the development and creation of an example plug-in for the OAT.
Data Studio Developer 1.2 speeds development and enhances control for a wide variety of experiences. Whether you are a developer or an application-centric DBA, Data Studio Developer has many new features that can get your job done faster and easier, including unique problem isolation and impact analysis capabilities, ability to leverage static SQL for existing JDBC applications, enhancements to static SQL development and administration, Web services, and much more. This article highlights the features in this release that will help you simplify your complex tasks.
Over the years the popularity of Apache Tomcat has picked up, and so has Informix Dynamic Server. Many users are eager to use these two products together, and in fact are trying to combine and integrate them, but face a few issues in the process. In this article, you'll learn how to solve these problems as you follow the steps to configure the JNDI DataSource on Tomcat for Informix Dynamic Server.
IIUG Expects to Sell Out Again at the Second Annual IIUG Informix Conference
IIUG (International Informix Users Group, (http://www.iiug.org) is an organization of volunteers dedicated to the Informix community. Following a record-breaking conference that boasted the largest single gathering of Informix sessions and vendors under one roof since IBM's purchase of it, the group is planning to repeat this successful event.Ubuntu goes enterprise
August 18, 2008 (CIO) Ubuntu is well known in user circles as the cool kids' Linux. It's available preinstalled on PCs and laptops from Dell Inc. and from numerous smaller computer vendors. What Ubuntu hasn't been known as is a Linux distribution that matters to CIOs and IT managers. Things are changing.
By this, Yates explained, "we want to make it as easy to install software on the Ubuntu server as it is to install the Ubuntu desktop. For example, we're getting ready to release DB2 and Informix database management systems that come as DEB packages, which will install and do basic set-up with only a couple of clicks or a single command line instruction."IBM expands Lotus Notes Mac support to iPhone
AppleInsider - IBM betting on Apple
Support for the iPhone in Lotus Notes is only IBM's latest step in investing in Apple's platforms as a competitive alternative to Microsoft's Windows. An AP report from January cited IBM spokesman Mike Azzi as noting that his company has "a lot in common" with Apple. "We're going to cross-pollinate," he said.
Earlier this year in May, IBM released its Informix Data Server 11 for Mac OS X Server. And over the course of the last year, multiple groups within the company have launched pilot programs aimed at evaluating support for migrating to Apple's Mac computers within the company.
An initial study at IBM Research, which started in October of 2007, found that 86% of those participating wanted to keep their MacBook Pro laptops over returning back to IBM ThinkPads running Windows. "It has been easier learning the Mac than learning Vista," one participant reported. IBM has since expanded its Mac pilot program.
The Voice of Informix Customers Can Now Be Heard!
I'd like to introduce you to VendorRate, an exciting new website that publishes customer satisfaction ratings for technology companies free of charge. VendorRate helps identify those companies who do a great job and points out vendors who may not be living up to their promises. This is a service every technology department can use before they make a purchasing decision.
Submit your first rating and get a $5 Starbucks card
IIUG users can confidentially rate Informix — or any technology vendor — in less than 3 minutes using an easy scoring form. Compiled "scorecards" appear live on the site. Best of all, VendorRate will thank IIUG members for their first tech vendor rating with a $5 Starbucks Card. (Offer good where ever Starbucks Cards are accepted.)
Rate Informix: http://www.iiug.org/url/rate_informix.html
How the IIUG can impact the entire IT community right now
IIUG is supporting VendorRate's effort to build out a service for the entire IT community that will:
Attention all Kiwis. Cheetah 2 "boot camp" coming to New Zealand, real soon
If you are a Kiwi and you want to run with the Cheetahs, then there is only thing you can do... and that is to train... hard. So that is why there are two Cheetah 2 "boot camps" coming to New Zealand, at the beginning of September. These are, "gotta go" boot camps, two days of deep technical training with hands on labs, presentations, notes and other stuff, run by that great Cheetah tamer - Scott Pickett. Now, I just happen to know Scott and believe me, he is very very good. These will be the best two days of Cheetah training that you will ever get, fully funded by the Big Blue itself.
To register email Scott Abbott email@example.com or myself firstname.lastname@example.org or go back through your inbox and find the email blast sent out a couple of days ago from the IIUG. Whatever way you like... just make sure you get to this event.
The venue details are:
Get there dudes... register NOW!
David "exinsiderman" Fraser :-)
Informix Blogs and things
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:
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 Data Management division. Key programs include local user groups and special interest groups, which we promote and assist from launch through growth.
For comments, please send an email to email@example.com.