April 2000 NewsletterVolume 10, No. 1
Highlights of This IssueThe Washington Area Informix User Group Mailing List by Lester Knutsen
Forum 2000 by Nick Nobbe
Forum 2000 Presentations On Our Web Site by Lester Knutsen
Forum 2000 Pictures by Nancy Balsbaugh
Interview with Jean-Yves Dexmier by Ron Flannery
Informix Certification Study Group by Bob Carts
Informix White Papers and Tech Briefs by Walt Hultgren
The onstat Quick Reference Guide by Troy L. Hewitt
Next Meeting - June 14, 2000
Location: Informix Software Corporation, 8065 Leesburg Pike, Suite 600, Vienna, VA 22182
The meeting is open to everyone. Please RSVP to 703-256-0267 x101 so
we can keep a count.
The user group has been supported by many companies over the years. We would like to thank the following companies for sponsoring this issue:
Advanced DataTools Corporation
SQL Power Tools
User Group Activities
Quarterly Meetings: The Washington Area Informix User Group (WAIUG) holds quarterly meetings, usually at the Informix offices in Tysons Corner, Virginia, 8065 Leesburg Pike, Suite 700. The focus of the meetings is to share information about new products, present solutions to problems, and provide technical tips to Informix programmers, system designers and database administrators. We feature guest speakers on topics of interest to Informix users. Meetings usually last from 9 am to 12 noon and are open to all Informix users. Please call 703-256-0267, or check our web page for the current schedule.
Mailing List: The waiug-members mailing list is for announcements, news about upcoming events, and discussions by members of the Washington Area Informix User Group. The main goal of this email list is to share information among Informix users in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC areas. The list is open to anyone who wishes to subscribe. To subscribe, email the Majordomo command "subscribe waiug-members" in the body of an e-mail message to "firstname.lastname@example.org". Do not put commands in the Subject: header line, as it is ignored. If your address on the list needs to be something other than the one that appears on the "From:" line of your outgoing e-mail, use the Majordomo command "subscribe waiug-members your_address" where "your_address" is replaced by the address to which your list messages should be sent. Note that this request will be routed to the list manager for approval, so a subscription of this type may not take effect immediately.
One Day Forums and Training Days: The WAIUG holds Technical Forums and Training Days every year. The past events have averaged over 200 participants, with excellent speakers and exhibitors. Members report this is the most-anticipated and most practical user group event of the year. The forums have included technical sessions on Optimizing SQL, INFORMIX-4GL, INFORMIX-OnLine DSA Tuning, and new features in Informix products. The Forum also features a mini-exposition hall with exhibitors of products that work with Informix. This is a great opportunity to network with other database developers, administrators, and users, and learn the newest technology to get the most from your database systems.
Web Page - www.iiug.org/~waiug/: In August 1995, we launched a web site for the Washington Area Informix User Group. The purpose of this site is to be able to provide the latest information to our members and the public on user group activities and tips on using Informix software. We converted all our newsletters to web documents and they are available for on-line viewing. This is the place to find the latest news about our meetings, future plans, links to other Informix-related material and catch up on back issues of our newsletter. We have a link to the Informix FAQ and links to other Informix resources on the net.
International Informix User Group: The WAIUG was an active participant in the formation of the International Informix User Group (IIUG). All local members are automatically members of the international organization. The mission of IIUG is to support Informix users worldwide. The IIUG maintains a web site of information and technical tips for Informix users, and an ftp site of public domain software that works with Informix databases. For more information on the IIUG, visit the web page at http://www.iiug.org.
The waiug-members mailing list is for announcements and discussions by members of the Washington (DC, USA) Area Informix User Group. The main goal of this email list is to share information among Informix users in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC areas. This is a discussion place for user group members. The mailing list is the main method of communicating announcements and upcoming events to our membership.
The email list is sponsored by the International Informix User Group using the Majordemo mailing list software on the IIUG computer system. Seth Grimes has volunteered to manage the list.
Listed below are some key facts about the list. When the instructions say to use a particular Majordomo command, this means you should send the specified text in the body of an e-mail message to "email@example.com".
Do not put commands in the Subject: header line, as it is ignored.
SUBSCRIBING - The list is open to anyone who wishes to subscribe. To subscribe, use the Majordomo command "subscribe waiug-members".
If your address on the list needs to be something other than the one that appears on the "From:" line of your outgoing e-mail, use the Majordomo command "subscribe waiug-members your_address" where "your_address" is replaced by the address to which your list messages should be sent. Note that this request will be routed to the list manager for approval, so a subscription of this type may not take effect immediately.
POSTING MESSAGES - You must be a subscriber to post to this list. Majordomo enforces this restriction by checking to see that the From: address of the posted message matches one of the subscriber addresses.
This restriction may cause problems at a site that subscribes an e-mail alias that explodes list messages to several local users. Individual users at such a site will not be able to post to the list unless they can make their messages appear to come from the local alias.
MESSAGE ARCHIVE - All messages posted to the waiug-members list are saved in monthly archive files. You must be a subscriber to this list to access the archive.
REMOVE (UNSUBSCRIBE) from The LIST
If you ever want to remove yourself from this mailing list, you can send mail to Majordomo@iiug.org with the following command in the body of your email message:
or from another account, besides the one on the list
unsubscribe waiug-members your-email-address
MORE INFORMATION - For more information about these and other Majordomo features, use the Majordomo command "help". To contact the list's manager, send e-mail to "firstname.lastname@example.org".
by Nick Nobbe
We just wrapped up Forum 2000, a successful, event-packed two-day user conference, co-hosted by three major user groups on the U.S. eastern seaboard from Atlanta, Boston and Washington, DC, and by Informix. We registered over 275 people, most coming from the east.
Highpoints of the conference were the keynote speech by Informix president and CEO, Jean-Yves Dexmier, a "meet the authors luncheon" with leading Informix-Press authors, and a full morning seminar on data warehousing by data warehouse guru Ralph Kimball. Informix added the finishing touch with a buffet dinner and entertainment by the "Capitol Steps" political comedy troupe, held in Washington's recently renovated Union Station.
In his keynote address, Mr. Dexmier reassured the conference that Informix
is committed to supporting the users and counts their involvement as essential.
Informix is still planning to host the annual user conferences: plans are
to hold one for the major regions - North and South America, Europe, and
pan-Asia. Plans for this year's conference are still in the making. Informix
is focused on taking the technological lead as an international database,
business-intelligence, and e-commerce company. The current bright earnings
picture and the company's strategic direction explain the recent acquisitions
of Red Brick, Ardent, and Cloudscape.
by Lester Knutsen
I have been collecting the presentations from the speakers at Forum
2000 and converting and uploading them to our web site. The following presentations
have been added to the Forum 2000 web site: http://www.iiug.org/~waiug/forum2000/forum2000.html
INTERVIEW WITH JEAN-YVES DEXMIER
by Ron M. Flannery
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing
Informix CEO and president, Jean-Yves Dexmier. I originally hoped just
to obtain a quick phone interview with Jean-Yves, and was very surprised
when he offered to meet me face-to-face in Detroit.
This was my first interview with the CEO
of a large corporation, so I didn't really know what to expect. I thought
that the interview might be short and very businesslike and was extremely
impressed with the way that Jean-Yves was truly friendly and interested
in my opinions. He answered the questions quickly and with confidence.
He was patient and seemed truly interested in my views.
Before the interview, I was slightly apprehensive
about the direction of Informix. I've been a long time supporter of Informix,
but was having trouble understanding the true direction of the company.
Many people questioned some of the recent acquisitions like Ardent and
wondered why Informix was placing so much emphasis on the "i.Economy,"
seemingly ignoring its core OLTP customers. I honestly can say that Jean-Yves
relieved my fears and really made me understand where Informix is going.
I remember feeling an internal "CLICK," sort of like a light bulb going
off, as I realized that Informix has a very well-defined and strong direction.
Before I get to the interview I'd like
to introduce some core concepts of the new Informix. Here is a list of
some of the current products:
In addition to offering an expanded mix
of products, Informix has reorganized itself into four Business Groups
that permit the company to operate efficiently in the i.Economy (described
shortly). Here is an overview of the groups:
Following are excerpts from my interview
with Jean-Yves Dexmier.
RON: What is the i.Economy?
JEAN-YVES: It is the new way of doing
business. The Internet has changed the way that the world operates. Because
of the massive amounts of data, different types of data, and need for immediate
information, businesses need more powerful solutions. People want REAL
TIME, instant results. Today's customer is concerned about SPEED to market,
not time to market. This is the i.Economy.
Think about the types of data you access
today: video, audio, movies, pictures and more. They generate massive storage
and processing requirements. Your applications need to be able to store
the data and display it in an efficient manner.
Today's solutions have to be to be implemented
FAST. Businesses move at "Internet speed." Companies can be created and
go online within a matter of months. They need a strong technology that
can get them online fast. Our products provide this capability. For example,
our i.Sell solution allows users to create a fully functioning E-commerce
site in as little as six weeks.
The i.Economy also calls for personalized
content. Users demand immediate answers to their questions. They want to
be able to click and receive immediate answers. For example, if a Web site
knows about its customers, it can really help sell the company's products.
This type of personalized solution requires a solid technology.
A simple way to describe the i.Economy
is by defining the "i." It can mean three different things:
JEAN-YVES: Three years ago, Informix saw
the need for Internet-based solutions. That is why we have been creating
technologies and purchasing companies that help enable solutions for the
i.Ecomony. Because of that, we are positioned to be competitive well into
Remember that the i.Economy is a new market.
No one really owns it: not IBM, not Oracle, not Microsoft. With Informix's
suite of products, we can claim all of these new customers that will be
created by the i.Economy.
RON: Are these solutions available now?
JEAN-YVES: Yes they are. Through our aggressive
product development and strategic acquisitions, Informix has the solutions
now. Our flagship Foundation.2000 product provides a database server that
has high end OLTP and data warehouse functionality as well as providing
building blocks for new Internet applications. Foundation.2000 includes
DataBlades, Java in the Server, and a lot of other functionality that is
BUILT RIGHT INTO THE SERVER. Our primary competitors only can provide these
capabilities through add-on products.
Our many other products give our users
a way to implement the Internet solutions that are needed in the i.Economy.
Cloudscape provides a small footprint Java database that allows synchronization
between handheld devices, laptops or any other platform that can run Java.
Media 360 includes digital asset management that allows you to manage digital
data types like movies and video INSIDE the database server. Our object-relational
technology allows the creation of data types for any type of data. Ardent
is the leading business intelligence solution and provides many Internet
hooks. i.Reach and i.Sell provide ways to manage content and E-commerce.
All of these products can work directly with Foundation.2000 and can integrate
with other products.
We believe that our database products
and solutions provide a base for the i.Economy. These products exist and
work NOW. Many of our competitors provide products that either don't work
or are not well integrated with their database servers.
RON: But HOW does Foundation.2000 differ
than the solutions of Oracle and IBM, for example? Everyone claims to have
the complete Internet solution.
JEAN-YVES: Foundation.2000 was built to
function in the i.Economy. Remember that we've had object-relational technology
built into our server products for years, while the others have added the
functionality onto their products or created external products. We have
the solutions NOW, and the competitors must continue to try to catch up.
In fact, when we first acquired Illustra, people said that we were too
far ahead of the time. Now those same people know that the technology is
critical for success in the future. Our solutions work and are reliable
and scalable. And remember that this technology is based on our core Dynamic
Server products, which have provided reliable OLTP and data warehouse solutions
One of the biggest advantages are the
UDTs (user-defined data types). UDTs allow database developers to create
UDRs (user-defined routines) that operate on the data types. All of this
is done inside the database server. It's flexible and easy to build on
Our version of XML runs inside of Foundation.2000
and is 138 times faster than the competition. Again, it's built right into
the servers. Oracle's solution is external, but they claim it'll eventually
merge. IBM's solution only runs efficiently on IBM hardware. Our solutions
RON: Many users questioned the acquisitions
of Ardent. Can you provide more details on how it relates to the vision
of the i.Economy?
JEAN-YVES: In the i.Economy, you don't
know what the customer will want. Customers expect REAL TIME answers -
BI (Business Intelligence). BI is mission critical in the i.Economy. When
a user clicks, he wants immediate answers. Ardent is the leader in data
integration and data movement. To build a BI solution you need to transfer
data that pulls from various data sources, which also cannot be easily
defined. Ardent's data movement utilities are the best solution in the
industry. Along with Foundation.2000, Red Brick and our XPS products, Informix
has closed the loop in BI. All of these products are enabled for the Web.
RON: I have heard a lot of Informix users
complain that Informix seems to be focused on "high end" customers and
solutions. They think that Informix has forgotten about its core OLTP and
INFORMIX-4GL products, which make up a large part of its current revenue.
How do you respond to this?
JEAN-YVES: Informix is well aware of our
OLTP and 4GL user base. We understand that they are a big part of current
revenue stream and we continue to support them. In fact, I created the
TransAct Business Group to support IDS, SE, 4GL, and other such products.
Users can upgrade to the Foundation.2000 products and continue to support
their existing environment, but also have the capability to use our other
products if they so choose.
RON: Where do you plan to take Informix
in the next two to five years?
JEAN-YVES: We want to be the technology
leaders in the i.Economy. You can see from our product developments and
acquisitions that we are completely dedicated to our vision, and we feel
that it is the future of technology. As I've said, there is a level playing
field now in the i.Economy, and Informix plans to win the battles for the
whole new set of customers that will be created.
You can see that we are starting to win
many of these new customers. Informix had a record quarter in the fourth
quarter of 1999. Also, you can see from our stock price that the market
realizes that Informix has solutions for the new ways of doing business.
RON: How will the new Business Groups
[Transact, i.Intelligence, etc.] help Informix succeed?
JEAN-YVES: Informix's new Business Groups
help separate the different components of our new structure. We've also
decentralized many of our sales and support operations. This allows us
to respond quickly to sales and customer needs.
RON: One of the main complaints of Informix
followers has been the lack of marketing on the part of Informix. Many
technologists think that Informix has the best database technology, but
has had trouble getting the message out to the market. How do you plan
to change this?
JEAN-YVES: I have allocated a major budget
to marketing in 2000. I've hired Jim Marshall as our new marketing VP and
we have launched an aggressive marketing campaign. We have placed billboard
ads in dozens of airports and magazines, and are creating ads for television.
We will work hard to make the public understand that Informix truly has
the best solution for the i.Economy.
RON: Any closing comments?
JEAN-YVES: Informix has vision. We understand
the Internet and the way that business is changing. Our products work now
and provide a base on which to create solutions in the i.Economy.
As you can see, Jean-Yves has created
a well-defined vision and believes in it. One of the things that impressed
me the most was the perception of other Informix employees (I talked to
several): They all viewed the company's goals in that same light. This
degree of understanding is unusual in a major corporation.
I hope that this interview will help you better understand and appreciate Informix. My book's Web site at www.informixhandbook.com includes this entire article as well as many Web links, updated information and analysis. If you would like to provide feedback on this interview, send an E-mail to email@example.com. Feel free to contact me with any other comments or questions.
President, One Point Solutions (www.one-point.com)
Lead author of Informix Handbook (www.informixhandbook.com)
(My book's Web site at www.informixhandbook.com includes this entire article as well as many Web links, updated information and analysis.)
by Bob Carts
Informix Certification Study Group Starting
An informal Informix Certification Study
Group will be starting Wednesday, May 24, 2000. The objective of the study
group is to prepare for taking the tests required for the Informix Certified
System Administrator for Informix Dynamic Server 7.x. The two tests required
to obtain this certification must be taken and passed prior to August 31,
2000. After August of this year, certification will be available in Informix
Certified System Administrator for Informix Dynamic Server.2000 9.2.
The study group will meet for a total
of 3 sessions (May 24, 31 and June 7) once a week from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30
p.m. at Advanced Data Tools in Annandale. This is not a course or a substitute
for training and experience. You should have a background in working with
Informix as a DBA. At the sessions we will have someone who has taken the
tests, explain the format and the approach to passing each test. At the
last session we will have a sample test. You will have a chance to show
off and explain the subjects you know and listen about subjects that you
are unfamiliar with.
The sessions will be held at Advanced DataTools Corporation
Downstairs Conference Room
4216 Evergreen Lane, Suite 126
More information on the certification
program is available on Informix's web site: http://www.informix.com/informix/training/courses/certific/welcome.htm
We have a limited number of slots available. When we fill up we will close the group. Please respond to Bob Carts to register or obtain more information (rcarts@agccs.LMCO.com, 703-813-2914)
Informix Race Car
As you may have heard, Informix is sponsoring a car racing team in the
GrandAm and America Le Mans series. If you would like to see the car, emblazoned
with the various Informix marketing messages, visit http://www.iiug.org/~seiug/news/team_informix.html
for links to on-line images at several websites.
by Walt Hultgren
Informix provides a number of on-line sources for documentation and
technical information. However, some are less well known than others. The
on-line documentation top page www.informix.com/documentation/ lists the
Answers Online -- www.informix.com/answers/
- manuals and other documentation in PDF and HTML formats
Informix by Example -- examples.informix.com
- fully annotated on-line examples
Installation Resource - www.informix.com/informix/resource/
- documents related to installing Informix products
And, of course there is a great deal of information available through
the Informix Developer Network (IDN) pages.
There are two other groups of documents on Informix's website, White
Papers and Technical Briefs, that have top pages that are a bit more difficult
to find at the moment. From the Informix home page, select the Corporate
link. There are links to the two sections at the lower left of the Corporate
top page. If you want to jump to the sections directly, the directories
for White Papers and Tech Briefs are whitepapers/ and techbriefs/ respectively
under www.informix.com/. You can reference each section's top page as such,
or optionally append the file name "index.html" to the URL.
White Papers tend to take a higher level approach to the subject matter
and are often authored by third parties. Tech Briefs are more detailed
and often version-specific. There is some overlap, though. It's helpful
when versions are mentioned, since the document dates are not available
to your browser, at least not to my relatively recent copies of Internet
Explorer and Netscape.
Many of the documents are reachable via the site's search facility,
which does list creation dates. However, the search seems to sometimes
miss documents. I don't know whether this is due to an error or some configured
limit in the number of hits returned.
Two Tech Briefs that have recently been added are:
- XML (this reads more like a White Paper)
- Enhancements to I4GL and ISQL in versions 7.20 and 7.30
If you're looking for technical information on Informix products that
is focused and current, I suggest to check out these two sources.
Walt Hultgren, President, Southeast Informix Users Group
Voice: 404-727-0648, Mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
This newsletter is published by the Washington Area Informix User Group.
4216 Evergreen Lane, Suite 136, Annandale, VA 22003