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Tip of the Day
Language: Informix
Expertise: Beginner
Jun 9, 1997

Moving database to new Solaris server -- which Informix application best to use?

Question:
I have a client who has been using Informix SQL version 2.10 on an Altos UNIX server for more than 10 years. He wants to move a 700 MB database to a new server that will use Solaris x86 release 2.5.1.

Which Informix application(s) is best suited for this situation? I haven't been able to find information about running Informix on a server using Solaris x86 as the operating system.

Answer:
I assume your client is not presently using an Informix engine (based on the information in your question). You also do not include information as to which other applications the client is running and whether they would need to interface with a new database engine. I will assume they do and work from that perspective.

As far as a database engine is concerned, your client should strongly consider the Informix-OnLine Dynamic Server (ODS) engine. If the client is still using I-SQL 2.1, I'll assume only character-based data is involved -- maybe some BLOBs, but no non-standard datatypes that would require the Informix-Universal Server database engine and DataBlades. ODS is well equipped to handle databases of your client's size and larger, with and without BLOBs. The key is to provide sufficient physical CPUs and RAM to allow whatever degree of engine parallel processing is required or desired.

ODS has a number of database management features that the other major database vendors do not, as yet, provide. These include row level locking, elimination of adjacent key value locking, and the ability to fragment (or partition) tables, as well as indexes and constraints, both logically and by simple striping.

With ODS, as opposed to earlier versions of the OnLine engine, a number of database operations were rewritten to take full advantage of today's SMP technology, resulting in a more powerful processing engine. Database loads and unloads, index builds, even query processing is now handled by multi-threaded processes called "virtual processors.", which dynamically increase the efficiency and general performance of the engine. The exact number of physical CPUs that will be required to service an instance containing a database of that size will depend on the actual amount of data used and the response time required.

Regarding virtual processors, it not always true that "if some is good, more is better." A careful analysis of the application and data environment would be required to properly size the machine for the engine and your client's application.

About application tools for querying the data, Informix continues to sell the Informix-SQL product, currently at a version close to 6.04. It has evolved and improved over the years since the product your client is using was released. Bundled into the engine is a tool called "dbaccess", which allows a DBA or OnLine administrator to execute SQL statements directly inside the engine instance rather than requiring an additional product such as Informix-SQL on the server. Dbaccess does not allow you to create ACE reports or SQL forms, but is still a very handy utility.

The Informix-4GL tool is also still available. It creates character-based applications to run in a UNIX environment. If you want to create Windows-based GUI applications, you can use Informix-NewEra or any number of third party application tools. With the ODS engine, Informix is now providing the ODBC connectivity products that would be required for a Windows client to connect to the Informix engine.

All the products I have mentioned are, to the best of my knowledge, currently shipping on the O/S level you mentioned in various distribution media. A couple of years ago, Informix changed its pricing model from a tiered approach to user-based licensing. So if your client only needs, for example, 12 user licenses, he no longer will have to pay for a 16-user license. Contact your local Informix sales representative, or (shameless plug to follow) an authorized Informix In-Sync partner (like yours truly) to get pricing information or place an order.

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