IIUG World 2019

IIUG 2020 Online World Conference Presentations will begin soon!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Informix 12.10.xC2 Rules - all others drool!

If you missed the version 12.10.xC2 Beta EVP and the IBM Informix Chat with the Labs on 9/25 then you are in for a shock!

IBM has been talking about Big Data in reference to Informix for several years ever since someone realized that the TimeSeries Datablade capabilities of Informix, developed in the mid '90s, is quite literally about very big data.  However, some members of the Informix user community have taken IBM to task pointing out that when folks talk about Big Data they are usually discussing unstructured data stored in NoSQL databases like Hadoop, MongoDB, and others.  So, what did you miss?

Informix is now the ONLY database that successfully integrates unstructured and structured data together in a single database platform.  Working with the developers of MongoDB, IBM has integrated MongoDB's BSON data type into IDS as a native type and implemented  the MongoDB interface protocols within Informix.  You can now do the following:

  • Store MongoDB collections in Informix as BSON types.
  • Query both MongoDB collections and Informix relational tables in Informix from both MongoDB clients and Informix clients.
    • Mongo clients see collection formatted key:value data from collections and from tables.
    • Informix clients see data rows from tables and collections.  Missing collection fields are mapped to NULL values.
    • Dynamic Informix clients can determine the current schema of collection data.
  • Shard tables and collections across multiple servers.  Not only can you query the data across the shard farm but when you insert data to sharded tables or collections the local server determines which shard the data should live on based on the definition of the various shards.  This is VERY similar to the horizontal partitioning that Informix's old XPS engine provided.
  • All data, including Mongo collection data, is included in Informix's ACID compliant transaction handling!  No one else can guarantee consistency in a NoSQL data store!
  • Informix compression works with MongoDB data. Because of the redundant key names inherent in the key:value nature of collection data compression rates are even more impressive than for table data!  Only Informix can save you 70-90% of the storage you would otherwise use for unstructured data in any other MongoDB or similar NoSQL database!
Combine this with features that Informix has had for a long time:
  • Timeseries data
  • GeoSpacial data
  • BTS web-like text search capability
  • Informix Warehouse Accelerator to improve complex query times by 100x to 4000x!
  • Hierarchical Data Replication Secondary server (active or passive).
  • Multiple Remote Secondary replicated servers (active or passive).
  • Active or passive Shared Disk Secondary servers for load balancing, application isolation, and nearly instantaneous failover.
  • Transaction survival - failover primary server functions to a secondary without loss of running transactions.  This means absolutely uninterruptable transactions!
  • Enterprise Replication
    • Multiple peer replicated servers on heterogeneous hardware
    • Master-Slave replication in both Scatter and Gather configuration
    • Combine with Sharded Query capability to maintain local data on local servers but query from a central location without a master copy
I don't think I've run out of features, but I have run out of the time I've allotted to myself for this post.

To wrap up: Informix is now positioned to be what its users have always considered it to be: The best damn database product on the market!  This should finally satisfy a certain community member based in Chicago who is usually rather vocal about Big Data.


  1. Hi Art, thanks for the nice post...

    wrt.."IBM has merged IDS with Mongo"...

    Just to be clear.. Informix supports Mongo API" and functionality undernath.. but not Mongo itself. The storage is within Informix using a new multi-rep data type called BSON (binary JSON). All the storage, query processing, etc is done by Informix.

    1. Thanks for the clarification Keshav! Personally, I like it better that the Informix engine with 30 years of solid transaction processing history is managing my BSON data rather than a database early in its first decade of life.

  2. Definately a great announcement! When a software architecture is close to perfection, adding "big bulk" new functionality can be done smoothly, which is not the case for all the competitors...
    Here are some more reasons to say that IBM Informix is more than surviving, it is taking the technical leadership.

    The mysterious Chicago Area community person now has many reasons to be satisfied.!

  3. I am here at IOD (The IBM On Demand Conference) on day 0 and I just got back to my room after an exciting session. IBM ran an Invitation only Big Data session and didn't only invite Informix users. They invited large IBM customers from both the Informix and DB2 Customer Advisory Councils and IBM Partners who are here a day early to hear about what's new in the IBM world. Over 150 people stayed for almost five hours listening to John Miller, Keshav Murthy, and others talk about the subject of this blog entry, namely JSON/BSON & Relational hybrid data access support in Informix and all of the other incredible features that make Informix an excellent choice as the database to use for bringing unstructured data into existing applications and for including legacy structure relational data into new agile applications that use the MongoDB development stack. Only a few walked out, many asked probing questions, and everyone was impressed.

    BTW, lest you think "Oh, they'll just add this to DB2 next month and forget about Informix!" you should know that the latest release of DB2 LUW already supports JSON data but it does NOT support hybrid access to both SQL and NoSQL data from both SQL API applications and MongoDB API applications. Only Informix does that!