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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A new era for Informix begins now!

I returned from last week's International Informix Users Group Conference with some news. What kind of news it is I am not 100% certain. I am certain that it is BIG news. I am certain that it affects most of us in one way or another. I am not certain whether it is good news or bad news for the Informix user community or same-old same-old. I have been saying since I heard it that I am guardedly optimistic that this is good news.
For those of you who have not heard, IBM and a company called HCL have partnered to "jointly develop and market the Informix family of products". IBM has licensed the intellectual property rights for all Informix products to HCL for a period of at least 15 years with options for renewal. As part of the deal IBM will retain ownership but HCL will be responsible for developing the products and for tech support. Indeed HCL will be hiring all Informix developers and support personnel who are willing to make the change. (My understanding is that so far all US Informix developers and support people have agree to sign up and tentative offers have been made to the Informix folks in Europe and Asia pending government paperwork in those areas.) HCL will also be free to market and sell Informix as well as to develop "derivative products". Decisions about the product life cycle and roadmap will be made by IBM and HCL together.
What does this mean for existing customers? Immediately not much. You will still be able to renew your support and purchase additional Informix licenses from IBM. You will still call the same support phone lines or use the same online support portal. The technicians responding will simply be HCL employees and likely the same people you have been dealing with all along.
This is a link to a LinkedIn post by Mattias Funke Director Core Database & Data Warehouse Offering Management & Strategy at IBM explaining the deal:  https://goo.gl/CY4nyO
HCL is a global consulting and IT software group headquartered in India with locations throughout the world. Their Product and Platform business unit which was started in September is based in New York and will manage the Informix products in addition to their own product lines which concentrate on IOT, embedded systems, and cloud computing. These are all strengths of Informix and explains HCLs interest in the partnership. 
In discussions with their executives at the IIUG Conference we were told that HCL is very interested in focusing their own products on working with Informix and in making Informix THE player in the database market. 
IBM's internal politics have always prevented IBM from fully embracing Informix for the market leading database that it is and this has encouraged much of the FUD intimating that Informix is a dead or dying product. HCL has no such constraints on it. Someone said at the Conference "the gloves are off!" We may even see advertising about the benefits and features of Informix. I am hopeful. The Informix community will be waiting to see how HCL follows up on these opportunities and promises and how this changes the marketplace for Informix.


  1. I realize this post is a bit dated, but has there been any movement on the HCL side with reviving the Informix product line?

    1. Not sure what you are asking? Informix is alive and kicking. HCL is offering their own Informix subscription based licenses on both Amazon AWS and on MS Azure cloud services as well as on-premises in addition to the continuing licensing and support of Informix through IBM.

      Informix v12.10.xC12W1 was recently released and another release, possibly with some added features, is scheduled for 2019Q1.

      So, why do you think that Informix needs "reviving"?

  2. Hey! Glad to see there is still life in Informix. I was more interested in what, if anything, is being done with 4GL. I'm aware the DB engine offerings are still alive and well, but it seems I cannot get my hands on 4GL.

    1. Ahh, different question for sure. So, IBM froze 4GL several years ago and TMK there are no plans to add features or do any development on it except for bug fixes.

      On the other hand, there are three excellent 4GL superset languages that can compile and execute pure 4GL code unchanged but also provide the ability to enhance the code with modern look and feel. So, you could use them to port your 4GL code to Web servers or mobile devices and incorporate graphics and modern reports as well.
      These are:
      Aubit4GL - an open source project (www.aubit.com)
      4Js Genero - (www.4js.com)
      Querix Lycia - (www.querix.com)

      These extend the 4GL language and provide runtime libraries that make modernizing your applications simple. Most of the syntax extensions are identical or very similar between the three and all get the job done so it is hard to make a bad choice.

      For ongoing 4GL development, Lycia, Genero, or Aubt4GL is the way to go.

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