Tag Archives: server

Database wars are over? / As guerras das bases de dados terminaram?

This article is written in English and Portuguese
Este artigo está escrito em Inglês e Português

English Version

“Database wars are over…”, “…and relational won”, “…and Oracle won”. If you search for these terms on your favorite search engine you’ll get enough answers to keep you busy for a long time.
At a certain point many believed this was true. And I’m sure many others still do. But if you’ve been paying attention lately you’ll notice this can still be under discussion.
Currently there is a lot of movement in the database arena… Let’s see:

  • New versions are popping out: DB2 v10 for LUW, SQL Server 2012 are the most recent examples. Informix is in the early stages for vNext also. Meanwhile we have Informix Warehouse Accelerator that although not a new database per si, it’s new technology
  • Datawarehouse appliances and dedicated servers are alive and kicking: Netezza (IBM), GreenPlum (EMC), Parallel Data Warehouse (HP/MS Sql Server), Exadata (Oracle)
  • NoSQL is “the” buzzword. Hadoop and everything about it seems like the next big thing
  • SAP makes bold statements about wanting to be a major database player. More details this Tuesday (April 10)
  • Oracle’s CEO, Larry Ellison, says they (SAP) “must be on drugs

So, we are definitively seeing news on the technology front. And although it’s true that these days databases are a commodity, the fact is that no system is implemented without some sort of database. And it…

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Why or why not? / Prquê ou porque não?

This article is written in English and Portuguese
Este artigo está escrito em Inglês e Português

English Version:

The Internet is a wonderful thing… You get to find all sorts of things and it’s easy to spread your word, specially since the creation of the so called social networks… On a recent search on twitter I found a very interesting question from “SQLMountain / Michael Sexton”. The question was:

“Why o why do vendors still use Informix?!? Looking at u #cisco”

After digging a bit I’ve learned that the author is a database architect with 12 years of experience. And apparently he works mainly with SQL Server. So I think that the apparent surprise is perfectly understandable in that context… But on the other hand, again by searching the net, I could find some answers to that question. In particular:

So, I’d say that the question is not properly formulated. It’s not why “still”. The chronology above shows an increasing, and not decreasing trend.
So I then tried to reverse the question: Why would you not use Informix? And here are some possible reasons (I’m obviously playing devil’s advocate here) together with some thoughts:

  • It’s not stable
    But it is, and customers keep telling me that, and showing me their uptimes to prove it
  • It’s too complex
    But it isn’t… Many Informix shops don’t have a classic DBA (full time job of a specialized person). Usually the person taking care of Informix is a “many hats” kind of person
  • It lacks functionality
    I’m always wanting more… But the ones I wish for are usually not widely used in competitor products. And it has first class features like the high availability, the replication (ER), the extensibility
  • It’s slow
    It isn’t… I know that from personal experience, but that’s what customers tell me also. It works well with less hardware than other competitors
  • The support is not good
    Err… though point, because I work for IBM. But because I work for IBM and because I have the privilege to work in customer environments that include many other (non-IBM) products, I know that Informix tech support is one of the best (if not the best) technical supports I’ve worked with or I’ve heard of. Yes, I may not be a trustworthy source of information from the readers point of view… But just recently I’ve heard the same comment from two people that don’t even know each other, both talking about one of Informix’s major competitors: “the first five interactions with ? technical support look like program ELIZA interactions”. At the time I did not know what program ELIZA was. The incredible part of this story is that those two persons told be exactly the same within a couple of weeks.
  • It’s expensive
    Well… this one is hard to discuss. The price lists are not really the price customers pay. But Informix has a wide variety of editions that range from free to everything (except compression) included. Some competitors charge extra for features even in the most expensive edition. And have lower limits (memory, processor, data size) on the free versions (which sometimes are not up to date with the current product versions, while IBM keeps the free versions on the same fixpack levels as the payed versions)
  • It lacks interoperability with other products
    Not really although this is a widespread idea. It has the usua…
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Why or why not? / Prquê ou porque não?

This article is written in English and Portuguese
Este artigo está escrito em Inglês e Português

English Version:

The Internet is a wonderful thing… You get to find all sorts of things and it’s easy to spread your word, specially since the creation of the so called social networks… On a recent search on twitter I found a very interesting question from “SQLMountain / Michael Sexton”. The question was:

“Why o why do vendors still use Informix?!? Looking at u #cisco”

After digging a bit I’ve learned that the author is a database architect with 12 years of experience. And apparently he works mainly with SQL Server. So I think that the apparent surprise is perfectly understandable in that context… But on the other hand, again by searching the net, I could find some answers to that question. In particular:

So, I’d say that the question is not properly formulated. It’s not why “still”. The chronology above shows an increasing, and not decreasing trend.
So I then tried to reverse the question: Why would you not use Informix? And here are some possible reasons (I’m obviously playing devil’s advocate here) together with some thoughts:

  • It’s not stable
    But it is, and customers keep telling me that, and showing me their uptimes to prove it
  • It’s too complex
    But it isn’t… Many Informix shops don’t have a classic DBA (full time job of a specialized person). Usually the person taking care of Informix is a “many hats” kind of person
  • It lacks functionality
    I’m always wanting more… But the ones I wish for are usually not widely used in competitor products. And it has first class features like the high availability, the replication (ER), the extensibility
  • It’s slow
    It isn’t… I know that from personal experience, but that’s what customers tell me also. It works well with less hardware than other competitors
  • The support is not good
    Err… though point, because I work for IBM. But because I work for IBM and because I have the privilege to work in customer environments that include many other (non-IBM) products, I know that Informix tech support is one of the best (if not the best) technical supports I’ve worked with or I’ve heard of. Yes, I may not be a trustworthy source of information from the readers point of view… But just recently I’ve heard the same comment from two people that don’t even know each other, both talking about one of Informix’s major competitors: “the first five interactions with ? technical support look like program ELIZA interactions”. At the time I did not know what program ELIZA was. The incredible part of this story is that those two persons told be exactly the same within a couple of weeks.
  • It’s expensive
    Well… this one is hard to discuss. The price lists are not really the price customers pay. But Informix has a wide variety of editions that range from free to everything (except compression) included. Some competitors charge extra for features even in the most expensive edition. And have lower limits (memory, processor, data size) on the free versions (which sometimes are not up to date with the current product versions, while IBM keeps the free versions on the same fixpack levels as the payed versions)
  • It lacks interoperability with other products
    Not really although this is a widespread idea. It has the usual interfaces (ODBC, JDBC, .NET), supports several…
Leave a comment Continue Reading →

Why or why not? / Porquê ou porque não?

This article is written in English and Portuguese
Este artigo está escrito em Inglês e Português

English Version:

The Internet is a wonderful thing… You get to find all sorts of things and it’s easy to spread your word, specially since the creation of the so called social networks… On a recent search on twitter I found a very interesting question from “SQLMountain / Michael Sexton”. The question was:

“Why o why do vendors still use Informix?!? Looking at u #cisco”

After digging a bit I’ve learned that the author is a database architect with 12 years of experience. And apparently he works mainly with SQL Server. So I think that the apparent surprise is perfectly understandable in that context… But on the other hand, again by searching the net, I could find some answers to that question. In particular:

So, I’d say that the question is not properly formulated. It’s not why “still”. The chronology above shows an increasing, and not decreasing trend.
So I then tried to reverse the question: Why would you not use Informix? And here are some possible reasons (I’m obviously playing devil’s advocate here) together with some thoughts:

  • It’s not stable
    But it is, and customers keep telling me that, and showing me their uptimes to prove it
  • It’s too complex
    But it isn’t… Many Informix shops don’t have a classic DBA (full time job of a specialized person). Usually the person taking care of Informix is a “many hats” kind of person
  • It lacks functionality
    I’m always wanting more… But the ones I wish for are usually not widely used in competitor products. And it has first class features like the high availability, the replication (ER), the extensibility
  • It’s slow
    It isn’t… I know that from personal experience, but that’s what customers tell me also. It works well with less hardware than other competitors
  • The support is not good
    Err… though point, because I work for IBM. But because I work for IBM and because I have the privilege to work in customer environments that include many other (non-IBM) products, I know that Informix tech support is one of the best (if not the best) technical supports I’ve worked with or I’ve heard of. Yes, I may not be a trustworthy source of information from the readers point of view… But just recently I’ve heard the same comment from two people that don’t even know each other, both talking about one of Informix’s major competitors: “the first five interactions with ? technical support look like program ELIZA interactions”. At the time I did not know what program ELIZA was. The incredible part of this story is that those two persons told be exactly the same within a couple of weeks.
  • It’s expensive
    Well… this one is hard to discuss. The price lists are not really the price customers pay. But Informix has a wide variety of editions that range from free to everything (except compression) included. Some competitors charge extra for features even in the most expensive edition. And have lower limits (memory, processor, data size) on the free versions (which sometimes are not up to date with the current product versions, while IBM keeps the free versions on the same fixpack levels as the payed versions)
  • It lacks interoperability with other products
    Not really although this is a widespread idea. It has the usual interfaces (ODBC, JDBC, .NET), supports several…
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Too little, too late? / Muito pouco, muito tarde?

This article is written in English and Portuguese
Este artigo está escrito em Inglês e Português

English Version:

I recently got an advice on how to make better use of Twitter… And so I did… I increased the number of people or accounts I’m following and today I was flooded by messages about the launch of one of the database competitors. If you’ve been paying attention to the net you probably know which one I’m talking about… I’ve seen some references before and I decided to investigate a little further what were the new features causing all this buzz around it… I must grant credit to the company behind it, since it was not difficult to get information and find several articles and papers and people talking about it.

I think that in the IT field we tend to close ourselves around what we know better. I’ve seen it in Oracle DBAs, in people working with Informix (you should know it’s much harder to find an Informix DBA than a DBA from any other database since we tend to have several hats and play several roles) and with people working in different environments (z/OS is a classical example). And apparently it also happens with people working with SQL Server. I’d say that only this can explain all this enthusiasm… Let me explain why, by picking two of the flagship features of it’s new version (I’ll be using the terms I’ve found on the Internet in blogs, articles and so on):

  • AlwaysOn
    Believe it or not this is a form of replication that allows databases to be put together in groups that use a primary server and one or more secondary servers. The replication can be synchronous, or asynchronous. The secondary servers can accept read only queries. It includes some sort of connection redirection and something I could not exactly understand that allows temporary statistics to be computed on the secondaries and stored in temporary spaces…
  • ColumnStore indexes
    This is interesting…. It combines several technologies like in-memory database, columnar storage and star model optimization. This allows incredible time savings, but has some drawbacks, like not being able to update a table with an index of this type (several workaround are mentioned, but all of them have serious implications). It’s up to the optimizer to decide if it will use this kind of index or the traditional query plans.

I’m sure that if you’re an Informix user, or someone paying attention to the Informix scene, you have a smile on your face by now… And I would not need to explain why. But for the people who are a bit more distracted, or as I mentioned above live on a closed world, let me explain why Informix people have a smile on their faces at this point in the article:

In 2007 (yes, five years ago), IBM introduced version 11.1, code named Chetah, and one of the features was something called MACH-11. This did not cause half the buzz that we’re seeing today, but in very short words, it was the ability to configure a set of Informix instances (where we can have several databases) with a primary server, a “close” secondary server, called HDR (which can by synchronous), and several remote secondary servers (RSS) which receive the logs. The communication between these can be encrypted (there are known customer c…

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