Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Informix Warehouse feature

IBM has announced today the availability of Informix Warehouse Feature v11.50.
This is a set of tools that help customers by taking advantage of their Informix infra-structure in order to transform operational data into information useful for business optimization.
This bundle includes the SQL Warehouse component which offers the following:
  • SQW Warehouse Design Studio and SQW Client for data modeling, schema design, data transformation design, and data flow design
  • SQW Warehouse Server with Administration Console to schedule and manage data flows
  • SQL Warehouse runtime to perform data transformation within the IDS data server
The infrastructure specified can be integrated with business intelligence tools like Cognos (now part of the IBM Software portfolio), and Optim (former Princeton Softech) for management of data growth, and ETL tools like Information Server (former Ascential Datastage).
This feature is available for Informix Dynamic Server v11.50.xC3.

If you're an Informix customer, or if you've been paying attention to the traditional positioning of Informix as an OLTP database you may wonder how this fits the traditional Informix usage.
Well, this does not mean that Informix became the perfect choice for a large scale enterprise level data warehouse. But the fact is, a lot of Informix customers need to extract more information from the data they manage in their Informix instances. Information organized in a different manner. Not in the usual OLTP transaction oriented schema. Many of this customers can take advantage of their existing infra-structure to build some data-warehouse functionality into their information systems. This package attempts to provide them with some tools that can help setup these new capabilities.
Although Informix is not specially oriented into the data-warehouse usage, it includes a lot of functionality that can help:
  • Dynamic Scalable Architecture (DSA)
    The internal engine arquitechture permits scalability and excelent performance. It also allows for extremely efficient usage of your hardware
  • Decision Support Queries
    IDS has several paremeters that control the type of queries made in a datawarehouse type environment (decision support queries). You can control resourses like memory, number of parallel scans etc. Also, this type of queries are run in parts that can run concurrently (scans, sorts, ortders etc.)
  • Read ahead capabilities and light scans
    This allow for more efficient batch reads like the ones ocurring in big tables sequential scans
  • Configurable page sizes
    This can help improve performance for large batch reads/writes
  • High performance loader
    A very efficient way to load data into your tables
  • Flexible table fragmentation
    Can be used for data lifecycle management, parallel queries, fragment elimination in queries etc.
And what about the future? Well, if you take a look at the recent webcast about the IDS roadmap you can see features like "automatic storage provisioning", "warehouse", "external table support" (currently possible, but not built in). In a very near future, and accordingly to the early validation program, IDS 11.50.xC4 will support table compression.
So, there are old features, new features, and better integration between Informix and other IBM products that can make it a good choice to build a BI supporting structure.

You can find more information about this announcement in the following resources:

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