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Friday, July 15, 2016

Some Very Cool Things Are Happening in the Informix World

I read two interesting things this week. One was an award that Informix won and the other is a White Paper Bloor put out. Both reference Informix as a platform for IoT or Internet of Things data storage and processing.

First, on July 14, 2016 at the annual Cisco Live conference in Las Vegas Nevada, Cisco presented IBM with an award naming IBM Informix as the "Best IoT Database" on the market today. I know this is no surprise to you, but this is the biggest third party acknowledgement of Informix's role in a major company's product and market strategy. Most of the businesses that depend on Informix for the competitive edge it gives them over their competitors who use other RDBMS and non-SQL databases are not willing to talk about it. This is a coup for Informix and a great boon for the Informix user community. Here's a link to the annoucement on the IIUG Site:

The other item is the Bloor Report which describes IBM Informix as the perfect database for IoT installations "regardless of where (in the IoT pipeline) it needs to be deployed". Among other things, Bloor's Philip Howard wrote:

[It] is essential that any embedded database is invisible and remains that way. This is true regardless of whether you are simply collecting data and passing it on or whether you are performing some analytics on the data. In the latter case, in order to get good performance, you need, at least in
conventional environments, to create indexes, materialised views and other such database constructs in order to achieve that performance. While this is feasible it is not flexible in the event that additional requirements need to be supported. Every time you add functionality within the device or gateway you will need to change the supported indexes. Worse, different workloads may mean that different indexes, materialised tables and so forth will be differently suitable for different customers. Moreover, these workloads may change over time. What this will mean is that the database will need to be tuned on an ongoing basis in order to maintain performance, which is impractical in IoT environments. For all of these reasons a traditional relational database will not be suitable for embedding at the device or gateway level, precisely because these all require exactly this sort of tuning. Fortunately, this is not the case with IBM Informix because the product includes self-healing and self-tuning autonomics that handle these embedded environment requirements automatically. Secondly, there are some elements of database flexibility that need to be discussed with specific respect to IoT environments. Support for things like geo-spatial and time series data we will discuss later. In the context of flexibility, you must bear in mind that an IoT implementation may consist of multiple types of devices and gateways doing different things. Moreover, the sort of data you are collecting and processing may change over time. For both of these reasons a database that supports a flexible schema will be preferable and as a result of these considerations IBM Informix supports JSON (where each data object has its own schema) as first class objects within the database.
Depending on where (an IoT database) is implemented there will be rather different requirements. However, in our opinion IBM Informix is well-suited to IoT regardless of where it needs to be deployed. At the device and gateway level the product has a long-standing reputation as a “fire and forget” database that can be easily installed and maintained while, in the centre, it has the sort of capabilities and performance characteristics that suit hybrid operational/analytic environments. On top of this, native time series and geo-spatial support are requirements for many IoT use cases, so IBM Informix is well-placed in this market.

Very cool indeed! Here's a link to the full Bloor Report: